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BT130 - Tapping 1

A course that covers the fundamentals of two handed 'tapping' techniques on the bass. Tapping has become one of the signature sounds in contemporary solo bass playing, and has been used extensively by such players as Billy Sheehan, Victor Wooten, Michael Manring, and many others.

Concepts covered include: hammer-ons, pull-offs, right and left hand independence, right and left hand synchronization, tapping chords, syncopation, and tapping chord progressions.

Exercises are designed to first focus on each hand individually, and then progressively combine them. This is a great course to take if you are new to tapping or are interested in introducing a fresh technique into your playing.

Lesson 01: Introduction and Demonstration of the Tapping Style

Welcome to Tapping for Bass, Level 1! In this course you will be introduced to the tapping technique and be given objectives and exercises that will help you to become competent with this popular style of playing. Tapping has become more and more prevalent on the bass, especially among soloists, because of it's flashy sound coupled with its potential for unique melodicism.

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Lesson 02: Definition of Basic Essential Techniques

In our last lesson you were introduced to the tapping style and were given an opportunity to work on tapping individual notes out using your fretting hand on the fingerboard. In today's lesson, I want to cover each of the basic techniques you need to be familiar with in detail so that you are better equipped to perform them.

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Lesson 03: Left Hand Hammer-on Exercises

Another essential technique you need to be competent with is the 'pull-off'. Like the hammer-on, the same hand is responsible for sounding and selecting the note on the fingerboard. However, the method used for sounding the notes is different. A pull-off is when you pull, or 'drag' across the string using one finger from the fretting hand, causing the string to ring out at pitch selected by another finger from the fretting hand. It can be looked at as being the opposite of a hammer-on. Here is a video clip that demonstrates a pull-off.

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Lesson 04: Combining Hammer-ons and Pull-offs

Today we will continue working on combining hammer-on and pull-off exercises in order to build your strength and dexterity. Keep in mind that when you work on these types of exercises, you can never go too slow. You will actually find that it is more challenging and difficult to play these at a slower tempo than fast.

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Lesson 05: Adding the Plucking Hand

By now you should be establishing some dexterity with both the hammer-on and pull-off techniques. If you have never attempted to play this way before, it probably feels a little awkward, because you are having to effectively control all aspects of the playing of the notes using only a single hand. However, you will find that once your hands become accustomed to the movements required for these basic techniques, your muscle memory will take over quickly and you will find they start to feel quite natural.

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Lesson 06: Plucking Hand Tapping, Continued

Probably one of the coolest aspects of two-handed tapping is the way in which both hands can maintain a state of independence in their parts. This allows a player to sound almost as if he/she has become two players in one. Because each hand has the freedom to play completely independently, it is possible to put together bass parts that are as complementary or as disjointed as you want. This is one of the reasons that two-handed tapping is such a great device for soloing and improvising.

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Lesson 07: Permutations and 3 Note Per String Fingerings 1

Today we continue working on developing your plucking hand tapping skills. Today's exercises are similar to yesterday's, but this time we will work on different fingerings for the plucking hand based on permutations and new fret spacing. For the next several days, we will expand on this same approach. You will be given 2 exercises for you to work through that will resemble the workouts presented in today's lesson.

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Lesson 08: Permutations and 3 Note Per String Fingerings 2

Here is the next series of exercises that build on the permutations and 3 note groupings discussed earlier. Practice these in the same manner you did in our last lesson.

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Lesson 09: Permutations and 3 Note Per String Fingerings 3

Today's lesson will consist of additional permutations similar to what we've covered in the last two lessons. Head right on over to the assignment, and continue to pay attention to consistency of tone, proper note duration, and proper muting techniques.

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Lesson 10: Permutations and 3 Note Per String Fingerings 4

Today's lesson is the final installment in the series of permutation and 3 note groupings exercises. Once again, the material covered in the assignment will be similar to what we have covered in the last three lessons. By now, you should be seeing some significant improvements in your right hand tapping technique, especially with regards to finger independence.

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Lesson 11: Putting Both Hands Together

Hopefully by now you are feeling quite comfortable with plucking hand tapping. Everyone progresses at different rates, however, so if you are still feeling a little awkward executing these exercises, then continue spending time working on this same series in addition to the exercises that will be presented during the rest of the course. Over time, the tapping tasks will feel as natural as regular fingerstyle playing, so just remember to be patient with yourself.

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Lesson 12: Exercises Using Scales and Modes

In our last lesson, you applied the tapping technique to the major scale. Today we will begin to incorporate some more shapes and sounds by adding exercises that are based on the modes of the major scale.

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Lesson 14: Tapping Arpeggio Forms

We have now covered 2 handed tapping forms for all seven of the major scale based modes. It is essential to have musical forms such as these under your fingers so that you can easily navigate across the fingerboard in ways that are compatible with the harmony you are playing to. Today we will add to our collection of musical forms by incorporating arpeggios into our practice routine, as well.

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Lesson 15: Tapping Intervallic Forms

Those of you who have followed some of my published technique articles are probably already familiar with the concept of applying intervals to scale forms. Because intervallic movement is such an integral part of melodies, it makes sense that we would want to get our hands familiar with such movement as we work on our 2 handed tapping.

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Lesson 16: Incorporating Right and Left Hand Independence

Our last five lessons in this course will move away from the more 'exercise-like' nature of our previous lessons and into more practical applications that allow you to create and play grooves using 2 handed tapping.

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Lesson 17: Right and Left Hand Independence, Continued

I hope you enjoyed the new challenges presented in our last lesson. Right and left hand independence is a little like riding a bike... At first, there are a couple of major hurdles you have to clear, but once your mind and hands synchronize effectively, it is much easier to jump into more complex parts that take you to the next level. In today's lesson, I want to stretch your abilities a little bit further.

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Lesson 18: Tapping Chords

I'll bet that by now you have seen some significant improvement in your right and left hand independence compared to where you were even just a week ago.

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Lesson 19: Groove Playing Integrating Syncopation

In today's lesson, I want to raise the level of difficulty a bit by integrating some syncopation into our 2 handed tapping grooves. All of the exercises we have worked on so far have remained relatively simple with respect to rhythm. Since up to now we have been mostly concerned with accuracy and the development of solid right and left hand independence, we haven't had to deal as much with variance in rhythms between the 2 hands.

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Lesson 20: Stacking Parts and Creating Harmony

Congratulations! You have made it through to the last lesson of this course! I really hope you have enjoyed working through these examples as much as I have enjoyed putting them together for you. I also hope that you have seen significant progress in your 2 handed tapping. If you are a student who had never worked on tapping before taking this course, you should now have a solid foundation from which to work from. As is the case with so many other musical skills, the basics are what equip you with the necessary tools for further development and inspiration.

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