Jazz Tap

Hey Jazz Guy,

Is there a way to introduce tapping in a jazz solo/improv? Picking in Puerto Rico

Dear Picking,

What a great question! This is a really cool idea, so adventurous however, that few guitarist have managed to try it, let alone master it. The most obvious candidate for this type of playing is Stanley Jordan. He derived his jazz tapping approach from examining the guitar from the perspective of a piano-player. I will say this however, without going so far as to learn piano and then re-learn guitar, there are many ways you can incorporate this awesome technique into your jazz playing.

One place that works very well for tapping is any 4-note arpeggio. When you are playing a be-bop type triplet arpeggio (see the II-V lesson), pick the first three notes as you normally would and tap the 4th one. Then you can pick almost any note on the guitar to be the 4th note, creating a bizarre twist on a be-bop line.

Another idea is to take any legato line and start replacing the hammer on’s with Tapping. Again, using material you already know. This is will give you a really slick sound and more harmonic freedom of melodic range.

Lastly, take advantage of the counterpoint and wide interval possibilities offered by tapping. Try plain some chords in the left hand and a tap line in the other (Stanley Jordan’s specialty). Or for something a little easier, just playing groups of notes in the left hand and one extra in the right. This will really sound like a pianist!

Good luck tapping and shedding, and these techniques will help you create a much more unique sounding vibe.

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Categories: Philosophy/Technique

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