Tremolo Tapping For a Distinct Style In Your Play

Tremolo TappingIf you have ever heard Crazy Train you have heard one of the most famous examples of tremolo tapping in modern music.

But what is tremolo, and what is tapping?

Tremolo is the fast repetition of a note using alternate picking. Tapping, as you may have gathered by the name, is when you tap a string on the fretboard with your picking hand instead of strumming it with your pick, producing a note.

Put the two techniques together and you get tremolo tapping, the act of high repetition, fast tapping.

Before we get into full fledged tremolo tapping, we should first go over a tapping exercise to make sure you have finger strength enough to perform clean high speed tapping. When you tap, the best strategy is to pick a favored finger. I myself use my middle finger so that I can avoid having to rearrange my pick grip.

Consider The Following Steps Carefully

If you have a limp, curved finger your tapping will come out weak and pathetic. If you have a strong, straight finger your tapping will be prominent and full in sound. Needless to say, the best tapping finger is a strong finger. Although it may seem strong at first, avoid using your pinky as your tapper of choice; this tiny digit is very fragile and can sustain damage very easily.

This example is a basic tapping pattern using three notes. Use this pattern to work on finger strength and coordination. Use a metronome, as tapping is a technique that easily gets out of hand. Without even being aware of the fact, you may find yourself outside your time signature. You want to learn to keep a steady rhythm while tapping just as you would with any other guitar technique.

tremelo tapping

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When tapping an important thing to remember is that there are five other strings not being used. This is important because strings, as they were meant to, make noise when bumped. While tapping, be sure to mute the unused string by covering them with your palm.

This prevents unwelcome noise and added voices. The worst thing to do is to smother your strings, as this will push them into your pickups and create further sound. Try laying your palm across the strings gently enough to keep them level, but firmly enough to keep them from ringing out.

Now that you can tap, it is time for tremolo tapping. As you will notice, tremolo tapping is an extremely rapid technique. This means that you will need to exercise control over your digit, as well as pay very close attention to the unused strings, more so than you would if you were simply tapping.

tremolo guitar tapping example

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When tremolo tapping, try your best to avoid the urge to tap the note with your nail or your pick. Not only are nail breaks painful, but they are unnecessary. Rapid tapping can be achieved with a firm, strong tapping finger. If you followed the example above, you should have achieved this by now. If you haven’t then you should, as it will give you the foundation to perform this exercise.

Like all of our lessons, this one is best used with a metronome. Once you feel you have it mastered try creating your own tremolo picking patterns. Be creative and try different positionings, or try using strings you don’t normally use for solo techniques. Keep an open mind and have fun!

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