How To Create Your Own Guitar Tapping Licks

How To Create Your Own Guitar Tapping Licks

Hello lovely people, and welcome to a new lesson! Today we're going to learn how to create our very own tapping licks, even if you're a beginner or early intermediate up to the early advanced player.

In this lesson, we will showcase how it doesn't take much to get going with creating impressive tapping solos or tapping improvisation runs, and we will present all the tools you need to start creating your own tapping licks.

Disclaimer: Without bugging you with theory or scale knowledge. But if you do have some decent knowledge on the scale we're using it's definitely a plus but by no means a necessity!

Not only will we be covering how to create tapping licks but also how to use them inside our everyday playing and improvisation because learning something in isolation is one thing but then using it in real life is something else.

The Tapping Technique

First, I just want to make sure you know how to perform the tapping technique.

So, we're just going to take the high E string frets five and eight, yes this is the pentatonic scale.

Or more specifically it's the highest string of the A Minor pentatonic scale.
And I will be tapping on position 2 or fret 10, if this isn't making sense to you make sure you refer to the diagram below.

Lots of people might think they know how to perform the guitar tapping technique but then when I ask them to show me, it's not working!

The most common problems players face when performing the tapping technique on guitar are either:
• Not putting enough pressure when tapping with their picking hand
• Not pulling off (flicking the tap) properly

The pulling off is the main ingredient here, if you're going to be tapping this is the key element that will make that note ring out.

When pulling off, you can flick that note towards the ceiling or towards the floor.
I'm one of those who will pull off towards the floor because of my fingernails because I play fingerstyle guitar, but you can do this upwards it doesn't matter.

We will start first by learning some patterns, then creating variations based on these patterns, and finally learning how to come up with these patterns on the fly and on command.

3 Notes Pattern Tapping Lick #1

Let's start with the first tapping pattern!

Here we have a 3-note tapping pattern, or we could call that a triplet if we're playing all three notes inside one beat.

Using that same pentatonic minor shape we covered earlier,
we're going to take the high E string again and then use the same shape creating this 3-note tapping pattern just like in the tabs below.

So basically:
1. Tap (on fret 10)
2. Pull off (to fret 5)
3. Hammer on (to fret 8 using your pinky or 3rd finger)

Here we have a descending-ascending pattern, meaning I'm tapping and pulling off down from frets 10 to 5, then hammering-on back up to fret 8.

3 Notes Pattern Tapping Lick #2

What we can also do is a descending pattern so:
1. Tap (on fret 10)
2. Pull off (to fret 8)
3. Pull off (to fret 5)

Here we are continuously pulling off down the scale, just like so!

Refer to the video lesson min 3:21 for a direct comparison of the first two tapping patterns!

3 Notes Pattern Tapping Lick #3

In this tapping lick, we are changing the note we are tapping.

In case you don't know what note to tap, don't worry just use your ear.

If you like the sound, great use it! If you don't, change the note and take it from there it's that simple.

For those who are more advanced, you can tap any note from within the scale you are using, which in our case could be any note from the A pentatonic minor scale played on the high e string.

It is worth mentioning that you have tons of possibilities and combinations to choose from and a lot of variations, I'll leave it up to you to experiment!!

4 Notes Pattern Tapping Lick #1

Okay now I'm going to show you another tapping lick pattern, we will be playing a 4 note pattern here but the principle is the same.

So, using that same combination of notes on the high E string:

1. Tap (fret 10)
2. Pull off (to fret 5)
3. Hammer on (to fret 8)
4. Pull off (to fret 5 again)

Creating this awesome 4 note tapping lick!

4 Notes Pattern Tapping Lick #2

We can also change the combination, here so for this tapping pattern you can:
1. Tap (on fret 10)
2. Pull off (to fret 8)
3. Pull off again (to fret 5)
4. Hammer on (to fret 8 again)
Have fun combining both tapping licks, mix match and see what works for you! I'll let you figure that out for a bit.
Take the time to practice each pattern and see which one you like the most, and that's it!

Create Your Own Tapping Lick

The process is simple:
• Take the pentatonic scale of whatever key you're playing on.
• Go to the high E string.
• Place your index on the first note (fret 5 for A pentatonic minor) and place the ring finger or pinky on the next note of the scale (fret 8 for A pentatonic minor) then tap two frets up (fret 10 for A pentatonic minor).
• Try whatever combinations of tapping lick patterns you like.

Tip: You can do the same thing on the B string! Take the same pattern and tap two frets up! You will notice different note patterns from there.
For example, on the high E string, you can tap frets 10 then 12, on the B string, you can still tap fret 10 but not 12 you'd have to do it on 13.
If you know your pentatonic scale in all it's positions, you know exactly what I'm saying but if you don't, no worries just use your ear to figure out what works and what doesn't. It all depends on the backing track you're playing over.

Add Your Tapping Licks To Your Everyday Playing

Next, you would want to add this to your playing and use those tapping licks you just created in your soloing or improvisation!

To practice that we're going to take a lick that you know well and mix it with whatever tapping lick you just created here on the pentatonic.

We'll be doing that over a backing track in E minor Just to switch things up a bit.

So, following the same process, we covered before we would create our tapping lick over the track and then mix in some random licks on E minor pentatonic.

This is the tricky part!
1. You need to make sure you got the tapping lick down and memorized
2. Practice going into that tapping run from whatever lick you're playing
3. Practice going out of that tapping run into another random lick on the scale you're playing

Check out the video lesson min 7:51 for a quick demonstration of how amazing integrated tapping licks sound while improvising!

Final Words About Creating Tapping Licks

Alright, so that's about it! This was all you need to know to get started with creating tasty tapping licks all over the fretboard.

I would highly recommend experimenting with this, try whatever! You can do that on the B string but also the G string.

Just use your ear it will tell you if what you're doing is good or not. And if you're still not sure what sounds great and what doesn't yet, you can always just follow the process we covered.

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Author: Jack Haddad
Jack Haddad is an expert Guitar educator and teacher and has been helping guitarists, through his innovative methods, get incredible results on the guitar, whether they want to jam with friends or rock out on the big stage.

You can find out more about Jack Haddad's teaching here:
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