One-Handed Tapping For Bass Guitar

One-handed tapping is a fantastic technique to learn!

There are many reasons why you should learn it including:

  • Great starter technique to tapping because you are using one hand and one or two fingers at a time.
  • Alleviates tension temporarily in your plucking/picking (dominant) hand.
  • Breaks up the monotony of playing the same notes over and over again with an added technique.
  • Looks cool 😉

YOUR HANDS ARE IMPORTANT

DOMINANT HAND: Your dominant hand (plucking/picking hand) in everyday life is actually going to be not used as much in one handed tapping. My dominant hand is right so when I am doing my one-handed tapping I will predominantly be using my left hand.
*This hand would be ideal to play the frets from the 12th fret and below.

NON-DOMINANT HAND: This is actually going to be your dominant hand in tapping. It is at the perfect position to easily play the notes. My non-dominant hand is my left hand which I also use to place my fingers on the frets.

YOUR FINGERS ALSO MATTER

POINTER: This is the finger you will be using most often because of its strength and dominance.
MIDDLE:A finger you may not use as often but still packs a punch when used.
RING: Along with your pointer finger, this one will be another dominant finger that you will be using a lot.
PINKY: This is your weakest finger and won’t be utilized quite as often. It is important to practice however because you want to strengthen it.

PRACTICE

Just like with anything when it comes to playing the bass, consistency and practice is what is going to give you the sound and play-ability that you are looking for.

HOW TO:

1. Set up your bass and how you play as you normally would.
*Practice this technique both sitting and standing so that you are naturally set up to play this technique any way you want.

2. The way that you place your fingers on the strings is the way you want to play this technique. Practice placing your pointer finger on the string, recoiling back and with a bit more force placing the finger on the fret.
*When you add a bit of force you will be able to hear the note on its own.

3. Focus on the padding of your finger directly hitting the fret without slamming it down. Think of it as placing your finger on the string but adding a little bit more pressure to it.

4. If you go too soft, you will barely hear anything and if you go too hard it will sound forced.
*Practice placing your pointer finger on the fret to start off and then alternate between your pointer and ring fingers.

EXERCISES

These exercises are in order based on level of difficulty. Once you become comfortable with exercise one move onto exercise two and so on.

Here is the outline for the exercises:

  • 1: Pointer Finger
  • 2: Middle Finger
  • 3: Ring Finger
  • 4: Pinky Finger

EXERCISE 1a

EXERCISE 1b

EXERCISE 2


EXERCISE 3

Spider walk technique is also a perfect exercise to practice with one-handed tapping! Check out this video I made for this exercise to learn more.

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