Bending and Tapping Overview | Hub Guitar

Bending and Tapping Overview

Combining Bending and Tapping

This technique is specifically intended for electric guitars, with a fairly high amount of distortion and saturation.

Bending raises the pitch of a note by a given amount. Tapping a note alters the original note much in the same way that a hammer-on does. Because bending is done with the fret hand and tapping is done with the picking hand, it’s possible to combine these techniques for a very awesome bending and tapping technique.

This technique can be confusing because every note on the bended string is raised in pitch. This means that if you bend the “G” string up a half step you will have to tap one half step lower than you otherwise would have to compensate. As with all techniques, with practice the ability to visualize and anticipate this will become clearer.

Bend + Tap Example 1

Bending and tapping a note a fifth above the fretted note.

Let’s start by tapping fifths. Fifths sound very strong—making effective use of the technique.

Bend + Tap Example 2

Bending and tapping example.

Now let’s play the same lick, by bending from fret XI to the note on the fret XIII. This bend spans two frets, so the tapped note must be two frets lower in order to have the same pitch.

Bend + Tap Example 3

Bending and tapping in C minor.

For a more musical example, let’s try this lick in C minor. First, we’ll play the lick without using a bend.

Remember the sequence of techniques: slide up, hammer, tap, pull-off, pull-off, slide down.

Bend + Tap Example 4

Bending and tapping example.

Now we’ll try the same lick but it will sound smoother and more interesting because of the bend.

Remember the sequence of techniques and practice it very slowly: hammer, whole step bend, tap, pull-off, release bend, pull-off.

Bend + Tap Example 5

We can also bend a note and then tap up the scale. We have to be percussive with the picking hand finger because it will be doing most of the work.

For this lick, we’ll play the initial note, bend up a whole step, tap and release a number of times, and then return the bend.

Key Points

  • Guitar techniques are not isolated. They can be combined for new and interesting results.
  • Bending, tapping, hammer-on, pull-off, slides and harmonics can be combined together in many interesting ways.

Key Exercises

  • Practice tap bending until you can use it reliably in your playing.
  • Apply this technique to your improvisation.
  • Answer: what other techniques can be combined with tapping?
As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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