Basics of Two Hand Tapping

This is a quick lesson on a cool technique called two hand tapping. It looks very impressive to anyone watching, but it is not as hard to do as you may imagine. These a video linked before that I created all about this technique in partnership with my friends and Blackstar Amplification and I wanted to share it here for you!

What is Two Hand Tapping?

Two hand tapping is a great technique, it’s most often associated with rock and metal guitar players and it comes from a family of techniques known as Legato. Legato techniques include hammer ons, pull offs, slides and any other techniques that smoothly join up notes. Think of tapping as an extended hammer on or pull off. There is only so far you can physically stretch your fretting hand, so why not use your picking hand to extend this further along the same string.

This technique has been used by guitar players through the ages, but the most famous user of tapping would be Eddie Van Halen. His two hand tapping section in the track Eruption really changed the playing field for guitar playing and set the bar at an entirely new level.


Getting Started with Tapping

In this lesson we’re going to look at two main types of tapping. One involving hammer ons with the fretting hand, and the other involving pull offs. Firstly, make sure you can do a hammer on from the 5th to the 8th fret of the B string, and a pull off from the 8th back to the 5th.

These are the only two motions you will be doing with your fretting hand.

With your picking hand, you’ll be tapping the 12th fret on the B string, think of this like a hammer on, the finger is hammering onto the note. Once the note sounds, you then pull off to either the 5th fret (If you’re doing a tap with a fretting hand hammer on) or the 8th fret (if you’re doing a tap with a fretting hand pull off).

Fretting Hand Hammer On

When you perform a tap with a fretting hand hammer on, you’re tapping with the picking hand but keeping the index finger of your fretting hand on the 5th fret ready. Once you hear the sound of the 12th fret, pull that finger off and you’ll then hear the sound of the 5th fret. Once you hear that, hammer onto the 8th fret with your fretting hand.

This works out at three notes per beat, also known as triplets. If you count this as you’re playing it, each beat should fall under the 12th fret tap.


Fretting Hand Pull Off

When you play a tap with a fretting hand pull off, the technique is the same, except it’s backwards. You’re still leading with the picking hand tapping the 12th fret, but this time you’re pull it off to sound the 8th fret. To make this happen, you need to be pre-fretting both the 5th and 8th frets on the B string. When you hear the sound of the 8th fret, you then pull that note off to sound the 5th.

The timing is the same for this example, it’s triplets which is three notes per beat.

Check Out The Video

Want to Learn More?

If you enjoyed this quick lesson on two hand tapping and you want to learn more then sign up today and access the lesson library. Inside you’ll find over 14 hours of lessons taking you from your first chord to an advanced level. Learn at your own pace using the videos and associated TAB files. When you’re not learning, hang out in our social areas and meet new friends. Talk about all things guitar related and learn from other students who’ve progressed through the online guitar course.


Leigh Fuge is a guitar player, content creator and educator. He is also the owner of Right Notes Music Tuition.He has over 15 years experience in the music industry and has also worked with many major guitar brands such as Blackstar Amps, Boss, MXR, Gretsch, Jackson Guitars, Hughes & Kettner and many more. Leigh has helped hundreds of students realise their potential with their guitar playing. Start your journey today and learn guitar online with Leigh!