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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Not Mark Westlake, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. Hey all, first post - woo!
    I tried searching and it yielded...er...not much, so I was just wondering if anyone's got any tips on how to pick up speed one-handed and double-handed tapping. The guitarist in our band (Scratch Band - yeah!!!) played me some snippets from a demo Billy Sheehan did for Yamaha, and he did some uber fast tapping stuff in that. I've kinda realised I'd like to get more into the technical side of bass playing as that's the direction our band's going in, so yeah, does anyone have any technique advice or just general tips on how to go proper fast?
    Thanks very much,
  2. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    practice with a metronome. start slow. increase tempo over time, only when you've mastered the previous tempo.

    also practice something musical, not only the physical aspect of playing.
  3. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    The metronome practice is invaluable...not ust for tapping I might add. Even with 'normal' playing styles, it can show up many technical flaws in your playing. Try playing something you know well at a slower speed and see how untidy it can be. Then speed up again, and see how much better it is.

    I'd also recommend getting the bass height correct, esp if you wear it quite low. A good guide is get the strap length so that the bass sits at the same position when sitting down an standing up. This allows you to improve your left hand reach and dexterity, and allows you to mive your right arm round so that it can sit more parralell to the strings to get the awkward fingering shapes.

    Get the Stu Hamm video 'slap, pop & tap'. This has been a great help to me. Covers most aspects of 2 hand tapping, with some useful excersises

    Oh yes, check out some of Stu Hamms solo stuff (esp his 'impossible' bass solos from Satriani concerts), and some Victor Wooten.
  4. I find w/ much of those techniques that it actually takes hand strength and finger strength to execute these things, many of us use fairly thick strings and tapping requires some finesse and strength to get even sounding notes.
    As a suggestion learn everything slowly and correctly, then as you feel comfortable increase your speed, nothing worse than learning mistakes at full speed and hearin how sloppy things can be.
    As an FYI...the Billy Sheehan tapping style is quite different than Stu or Victors. Billy taps in a more linear style, kinda of like eddie van Halen does. 3 or 4 or 5 fingers in succession rapidly tapped down or pulled off. Billy does do a tap style where he breaks up a chord shape w/ his tapped fingers. If you want to see Billy tap get his instructional video or the new steve vai DVD. Billy goes note-for note w/ Steve vai.
    That said Stu and Victor tapping style is more piano-istic (for lack of a better word) they tap basslines (or the low notes of the chords) w/ their left hands while tapping comp lines or meladies w/ their right hand. Stu also taps w/ multiple fingers hitting multiple notes the same time (like stacked 5th), both styles are useful in the right situation.
    Practice is the key
  5. Cheers for all the help.
    I've really got to get an instructional video or something...it's just living in Britain makes it hard to get most videos 'cos they only seem to have US distributors. I'll have to keep an eye out for that Stu Hamm vid.

    Ever since the only bass lesson I've ever had (with a top guy called Jon Caulfield - www.joncaulfield.com), I've always had my bass so it's as high when I'm standing as it is when I'm sitting. Well, a teensy bit lower for a bit more comfort, but high up there and not super "punk-stylee" low.

    What sorta tonal set-up do people find works well with tapping? I know it's fairly hard to generalise so much, but just as a general guide?

    I can get some fairly basic "piano" riffs going with double handed tapping - just doing two or three basic root-and-fifth sorta combos with my left hand and then doing more of a melody with my right up the neck, but it's just getting more consistency with my tapping that I'm looking for, mainly with my right hand. The band I'm in do a load of Vai stuff, and our guitarist is super good, and we're hoping to do a Sheehan-Vai style duet solo type affair like in...*tries to think of the name of the song*...nah, I've drawn a blank there but I imagine you know where I'm going with that. I think my main issue is just making sure the 'attacking angle' of my right hand is right, so yeah, I'll try and acquire a metronome from someone/where and practise with that.

    Yeah, thanks to this forum I've just discovered Victor Wootens. He's not 'arf bad :p

    So yeah, thanks for all the help!

  6. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    Would that be the Live at the Astoria, released this month?
  7. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Yeah, I'd recommend approaching tapping from a Stu Hamm approach as apposed to the Billy Sheehan approach. Billy is just a Van Halen wannabe on bass when it comes to soloing. Stu uses a more melodic approach, Piano like in nature (he even did a tapping version of Moonlight Sonata which is impressive but I still prefer it on piano).

    But what do I know, I can't tap for beans... well maybe for beans, but I hate beans.
  8. Yes thats the DVD (Xmas gift).
    A few songs, such as Blue powder comes to mind, Billy and steve go note for note. as an aside, Billy really impressed me on this DVD. Not that i'm a huge fan of his tone, but billys playing is very good. Billy has to comp two stu hamm basslines (written when stu was the studio bassist for steve) and billy does 2 slap lines and does a very simple but passable slap solo. Usually billys version of slapping is his index finger tapping (ala "mean st" from van halen), while impressive its not the 16th note syncopated stuff that stu does, so Kudos to billy.

    As for the tapping styles, honestly I've used both in playing, I'm not sure which one is best or sounds best, My band doesinstrumental tunes inaddition to covers and we do steve morse's "cruise missle" and the other is an Eric johnson tune "SRV". On cruise missle i have to tap a linear line (during the solo), and on SRV its essentially a walking bassline w/ the left hand and 2 note chord fragments tapped w/ the right. Both techniques work, but as someone mentioned above the problem w/ linear tapping is is sounds like Van halen stuff.
    As for which instructional video, Stu hamm I and II are very good, bever feltons superchops for bass has a few nice tapping saections, also Randy coven has a small section. I did find a video called the art of tapping from dwayne pate which actually goes into serious detail about it. while dwayne is not famous nor a tap monster he explains alot of easy stuff (the techniques themselves) and hard stuff (like breaking up chords) then incorporates alot of other techniques (like slap and tap), he also describes both linear and piano styles.

    Anyway, a steve vai coverband would be cool
    I've found its all about practicing and practicing slowly

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