Why do i suck at tapping?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by SKB, Sep 9, 2001.

  1. SKB

    SKB Guest

    Am I supposed to raise my volume to do tapping? It sounds sucky when I try to play "Jerry Was a Racecar Driver" by Primus and I wanted to know what I'm doing wrong.
  2. Edited because I can't understand the usage agreement.
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    without seeing / hearing you, it's quite difficult to figure out what's going on with your playing. Tapping, like anything else, is a skill that needs to developed with practice and more practice.

    For effective tapping, your action should be as low as your bass will allow, and when you tap the string, you should tap immediately behind the fret and hold it down. Victor Wooten likes to explain it by saying that tapping is more like "pressing" the string than anything else.

    I don't advocate effects, like compression, or raising your volume, as you should be able to bring things under control with hard work and practice. That way you won't have to depend on a piece of gear to improve your performance.
  4. melvin


    Apr 28, 2001
    I turn my volume up just a little when I tap. I think after tapping for awhile you get better at getting the tapping volume closer to the volume of normal playing. And you could always take lessons from a guitarist that can tap good.
  5. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    I agree that low action is important if you want to have comfortable tapping. The trick is to press down firmly, but not too hard, otherwise you wear your fingers down - to tap well takes a lot of practice. It helps if you get a good tapping instructional book or video - I have been learning to tap for a while now, and I am still pretty bad at it. I had a video by Stu Hamm which started me off with the basics. Practice practice and more practice... tap out melodies that you know, work out the root notes of chords, and tap out the melody over it, etc.
  6. purple_haze


    Jun 29, 2001
    London Town
    I had this problem too. My thing was that I was pressing against the board and the force of my fingers was pushing back the neck into my body, so some of the force of my tapping was going into the neck, and not onto the string.

    This may be why you're a tad quiet.

    Try to find a way to "grip" the neck. You should be tapping with the first and second fingers of your right hand, so you have a thumb, a pinky and a ring finger free.
    Put 'em to some use!

    Try this.

    Make a peace sign. Then try to imagine the neck of your bass being gripped between the ring, pinky and thumb of your right hand. Transfer this over to the bass*. Viola! The grip should ensure that the force of your tapping fingers goes onto the string, giving you more volume.

    Now, practice.

    Good ways to start tapping drills is to play arpeggiated power chords. Play the root with your left hand, then play the fifth and the octave with the first and second fingers of your right hand respectively.

    Do this until you're comfortable with this exercise all over the board.

    When you are, see if you can play the bassline from around 4.30 mins in Metallica's "Orion" using ONLY tapping. I know it's not recorded tapped, but it's still a good exercise, and it helps build a better rhythm for your right hand.

    I'd also like to reciprocate what's already been said about a low action.

    Hope that helped. Have fun.

    *Position your right-hand thumb not behind the neck, but where the dots are. Be careful that you don't dampen the E-string too.
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Assuming your Fender has a rosewood fingerboard, that can be part of the reason you're not getting the sound you want. The strings have really "bounce" quickly off the board and ring.

    Have you given yourself a chance on a ebony/maple/composite fingerboard???
  8. purple_haze


    Jun 29, 2001
    London Town
    Assuming cost is no object, I'd like to ditto this.

    Secondly, make sure you're using NEW roundwound strings, the freshness gives you the best "bounce" and ring.

    As far as mechanics go, you're basically looking at the same pre-requisites for slapping.