BassWork

IAN STEPHENSON on Tapping: Lesson #8


LESSON POINTS:
Single String Ideas
Intro to Right hand Slides We've now covered most of the basic tapping techniques used by the likes of Stu Hamm. We'll develop these further in future lessons, but we'll take a brief time out from that style to briefly consider the tapping used by Sheehan. This syle is more closely releated to Eddie Van Halen's guitar, and relies heavily on interplay between both hands on a single string. Physically these techniques are simpler, but require a lot of experience to make them work in a song.

Normaly only a single note is tapped at a time, so its personal preference which finger you choose - either the index or middle finger is fine. Sheehan places his middle finger behind his index finger to give extra strenth (and his little finger behind his ring finger when needed). You may or may not find this beneficial - it is however important to hit each note cleanly, and somewhat harder than in previous lessons.

Starting of with a simple line on the top G string:

      
                                      -O-         -O-

                                      ---         ---
                                            O           O
                                      ---  ---    ---  ---
                            __                        
                        |--/--\---------------------------------
                        |  \   | .             O            O
|-12-7--0--12-7--0--|   |---@--|--#-----------------------------
|-------------------|   |      / .         
|-------------------|   |-----/---------------------------------
|-------------------|   |    /      
  T        T            |---/-----------------------------------
                        |                 
                        |---------------------------------------
Tap the octave then pull of to the preplaced left hand, then pull of to the open string. By moving bits of the pattern around complex harmonies can be implied. This works well on bass, as the large intervals between the notes ensure that the sound does not get muddy:
                    
|-12-7--0--12-7--0-|-12-5--0--12-5--0-|-10-5--0--10-5--0-|-9--5--0--9--5--0-|
|------------------|------------------|------------------|------------------|
|------------------|------------------|------------------|------------------|
|------------------|------------------|------------------|------------------|
(this chord progression is based on the intro to Equinox).

The next thing to do is turn the whole thing upside down! Rather than starting at the top, and using pull off's start on the open string, and hammer on the 7th, then tap the octave. This requires slightly more precise timing:

        
                                               -O-         -O-

                                               ---         ---
                                            O           O
                                           --- ---     --- ---
                            __                        
                        |--/--\---------------------------------
                        |  \   | .      O            O
|-0--7--12-0--7--12-|   |---@--|--#-----------------------------
|-------------------|   |      / .         
|-------------------|   |-----/---------------------------------
|-------------------|   |    /      
        T        T      |---/-----------------------------------
                        |                 
                        |---------------------------------------
once you've got this, try reversing the Equinox line to use hammer ons.

Once you're comfortable playing the riff in each direction, try combining both up and down paterns:

                    
|-12-7-0-7-12-7-0-7-|-12-5-0-5-12-5-0-5-|-10-5-0-5-10-5-0-5-|-9-5-0-5-9-5-0-|
|-------------------|-------------------|-------------------|---------------|  
|-------------------|-------------------|-------------------|---------------|
|-------------------|-------------------|-------------------|---------------|
As always experiment different numbers of repeats, and tempos.

Now lets make the left hand work a little harder, by introducing a few more notes:

  
                                    -O-       

                                    ---      
                                          O               O
                                    ---  ---  -O--  -O-  ---
                          __                        
                      |--/--\---------------------------------
                      |  \   | .                  O          
|-12-7-5-0-5-7----|   |---@--|--#-----------------------------
|o---------------o|   |      / .         
|o---------------o|   |-----/---------------------------------
|-----------------|   |    /      
  T  3 1   1 3 T      |---/-----------------------------------
                      |                 
                      |---------------------------------------
or:
  
                                    -O-       

                                    ---      
                                          O                O
                                    ---  ---  -O--   -O-  ---
                          __                       O 
                      |--/--\---------------------------------
                      |  \   | .                             
|-12-7-5-4-5-7----|   |---@--|--#-----------------------------
|o---------------o|   |      / .         
|o---------------o|   |-----/---------------------------------
|-----------------|   |    /      
  T  4 2 1 2 4 T      |---/-----------------------------------
                      |                 
                      |---------------------------------------
Of course there's no need to just move in a single direction at a time. Try:
  
                                     -O-         -O- 
                             
                                     ---         ---
                                            O               
                                     ---   ---   ---   -O-     
                            __           O     O     O     O
                        |--/--\---------------------------------
                        |  \   | .                             
|-12-4-7-4-12-4-5-4-|   |---@--|--#-----------------------------
|o-----------------o|   |      / .         
|o-----------------o|   |-----/---------------------------------
|-------------------|   |    /      
  T  1 4 1 T  1 2 1     |---/-----------------------------------
                        |                 
                        |---------------------------------------
The variations on this sort of riff are endless, but one particularly interesting twist can be found on the track Summer Nights (Van Halen - 5150).
  
|-----------------|----------------------------------------------------|  
|-----------------|----------------------------------------------------|
|----------5-4-0--|-7-4-0--4-7-12-/14-\12--7---------------------------|
|-----------------|----------------------------------------------------|
                               T  s   s
This riff is played by both guitar and bass immediatly before the chorus. The left hand is all hammered on. The right hand part slides the tapped note up a tone and then back down in a particulary cool fashion. Practise this to make sure so can do it cleanly and quickly (its easy overshoot the top note). We'll encounter more complex slides in the next few lessons.

Thats about all there is to say about single string tapping - the basic techniques are very simple. The hard part is knowng how they can be applied. Practise moving different parts of the riffs around, using different intervals - pretty much anything sounds good on its own, so you just have to try everything, and learn how it sounds ready for when you need it. Try and work out how the notes can be related to chords, as this will make it easier to integrate ideas into songs.

This weeks final example is a bit of a killer - the bass intro to Mr Big's Addicted to that Rush. Billy himself is quoted as saying of this track: "It's like a tightrope walk - it's fun; you've got to balance and it's a little precarious. Playing it live, you have to be ON, but the challenge makes it more interesting", so lesser mortals are likely to have some problems (the main one being the 224 BPM tempo).

  
|-14-12-14-12-14-12-14-12-14-12-14-12-14-12-14-12-14-12-14-12-14-12-14-12-|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
  T  p  H  p  T  p  H  p  T  p  H  p  T  p  H  p  T  p  H  p  T  p  H  p
This is played 7 times (all those notes are only the first bar! - for the curious they're tripplet semiquavers, everyone else just play 'em as fast as you can :-(). The A is played alternatly by the left and right hands. There's then 8 bars of guitar before the bass joins in again:
  
|-------------------------------------|-------------------------------------|
|-13-10-12-10-7--10-13-10-12-10-7--10-|-13-10-12-10-7--10-13-10-12-10-7--10-|
|-------------------------------------|-------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------|-------------------------------------|

|-12-9--11-9--7--9--12-9--11-9--7--9--|-12-9--11-9--7--11-17----9--12----12-|
|-------------------------------------|-------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------|-------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------|-------------------------------------|

                                                   gs                  g s
|14-12-9---------------------------|-12-9-12-13-12-9/11-14-12-14-17-14-12/14|
|--------13-12-10-12-10-12-13-12-10|----------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------|----------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------|----------------------------------------|

                                                              ^1/2
|-17-14-17-20-17-14-20-17-19-17-14-17-|-20-17-19-17-14-17-20----------------|
|-------------------------------------|-------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------|-------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------|-------------------------------------|
Don't worry to if you can't play this at full tempo - start slowly, and learn the pattens (you should find that much of it is just variation on what you've already seen). Build up the speed slowly making sure you're still getting all the notes cleanly.

That should keep you busy for a few weeks!


End of Lesson #8. [Ian Stephenson on Tapping: Lesson#9 Ian Stephenson on Tapping: Lesson#7] [BassWork Index]

Previous tapping and slapping lessons are available via FTP from KAPPA.RICE.EDU in the directory /pub/bass/lessons. If you do not have FTP, and wish to retrieve the lessons via email, send mail to ftpmail@decwrl.dec.com with the message "help".