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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by McCalister999, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. This may sound stupid, but how do you tap?
  2. All_¥our_Bass


    Dec 26, 2004
    you simply push the finger(s) of your fretting hand into the frets, but do it a bit harder that usual so it sounds a note without you attacking the string with your other hand
  3. You just fret a note with enough force to make a sound. Start out tapping as gently as you can, and increase force until you get a little volume. If you find that you have to tap super hard to get any volume then you need to either turn up your amp or add a compressor (usually better). It's easier with low action, and with lighter strings. You'll be wildly inaccurate until the motion gets into your muscle memory and the muscles that stabilise the motion are up to snuff. It gets easier. Make sure you tap right behind the fret. If you get a strange sound, like two notes sounding weakly at once, then the part of the string behind your finger is vibrating, and needs muting.
  4. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks! In Memoriam

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    This will probably get more hits in the technique forum........

    Chris A. :rolleyes: :bassist:
  5. nasaldischarges


    Jun 11, 2005
    dont tap...(i've done it, but decided that its so cheesy that i'll leave it to guitarists to do)
  6. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    There's no reason not to tap, tapping is just a technique. If it sounds cheesy you know where to point the finger
  7. Dasein


    Jun 19, 2005
    I got a lot more sucsess when I concentrated on slightly plucking the string when I released it from tapping. Thats pulling-off and it helps lead into the next note. Listen to Stu Hamm's stuff. He's my favorite tapper. Watching people do it makes it much easier too, I've copied Stu Hamm's technique cause I just didn't like anyone elses.

    nasaldischarges, you're right about it getting cheesy when you see fat metal heads at guitar stores doing it. But I've seen it used in more artful and delicate ways that changed my mind about it.
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member


    Dismissing an entire technique is pretty narrow minded.
  9. That's good advice, but don't do it all the time. It's important to be able to play notes fluidly, but with seperation.
  10. Trybass06

    Trybass06 Guest

    Jul 7, 2005
    Medford, Oregon
    wait im a new bass player and i dont really understand this "tapping" thing so with ur fret hand(left hand for me) u just tap the string to the fret? do u have to pluck while doing this or what. can someone please explain this to me. just tryin to learn as much as possible = /
  11. mlbarlow


    Apr 26, 2005
    Plattsburgh, NY
    TryBass ... good question. You can tap with either your fretting hand or your plucking hand; you'll get more power out of your plucking hand. You do not need to pluck the string. Give it a try; make sure that you're plugged in through, because sans amp you'll actually hear two tones which is not the desired effect. Players like Victor Wooten will do things like tapping a bass line in his fretting hand and a melody in his plucking hand.

    All that said - just starting out there are much more important things to master first. Fool around with tapping, but perfect the bassics, too.
  12. Trybass06

    Trybass06 Guest

    Jul 7, 2005
    Medford, Oregon
    hey thanks for the info mlbarlow i will definatly have to try that a lil bit for now ill just keep practicing

  13. spill


    Jul 9, 2005
    I don't use tapping to do widdly Steve Vai things (except when I'm on guitar), but I do use it when I feel hampered by having only 4 strings. For example, let me try and show you an outro to one of my band's songs:

    G|----48----49--- (8 and 9 tapped)

    I tried to give a rough indication of the lengths of notes there, but it didn't really work. Anyway, I hold the notes in this part of the song, and improvise sliding tapped lines on frets 9, 11, 13, 14, 16 during repeats. (I also use my left hand on frets 9, 11 and 13 and combine pull offs to these notes with the sliding melodies).

    As for the actual technique of tapping, I use either my middle finger (usually) or first finger. I keep it slightly bent for comfort, and make sure that the end part of the finger strikes the board at a fairly steep angle (not quite perpendicular, as that can be painful if you hit the nail), so that the hard end of the finger strikes the string slightly behind the fret.

    To pull off from a tap, make sure you make a slight sideways motion as you release pressure in order to make the note you pulled off to sound properly (the amount of movement depends on how loud you want the note to be, obviously).

    When bending or sliding, make sure you keep a fair bit of pressure on the string, otherwise the note will die. Sliding may seem awkward at first, as you won't have the same 'muscle memory' for where the frets are as you do with your left hand, but it becomes very intuitive after practice.

    Oh, and I know this post is becoming extremely long, but I have one final story with regards to the 'hearing two notes when tapping' that a few people mentioned. Usually, you shouldn't hear the note that results from vibrations between the finger and nut when amplified, but at a jazz club I once saw a player who had a guitar and bass both fitted with piezos at the nut so that he could play two notes on the same string at the same time! Incredible.
  14. All_¥our_Bass


    Dec 26, 2004
    tapping also sounds different than if you plaucked the note.
    I want to post a souind clip to demonstrate this but idk know how to do it.
  15. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Tapping is a great technique to know how to do (I use it in jazz a lot actually) and IMO you need to learn how to do it with BOTH hands. Pretty much as simple as fingering the note hard and fast. Are you familiar with hammer-ons? Same thing pretty much.
  16. B.C.

    B.C. Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    I understand the whole concept of tapping and can do single notes fairly well. However, does any body have any exercises or advice to help me incorporate chords into tapping?

  17. What I dont understand about tapping is using both hands. Are you supossed to tap the open string with your plucking hand then tap the fretted note like so?


    Or do you actually fret a note with your plucking hand as well? Ive seen players who use tapping instuments, Use all fingers to play, Like Kai Kurosawa, Which is f***ing amazing, Cause Ive seen him do two totally differnt things at once, I believe Iv'e seen Wooten do this too. Can someone enlighten me? Cause Im getting a bit frustrated.:help:
  18. You fret with your plucking hand too.

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