The world of guitar playing is a treasure trove of techniques that allow musicians to express their creativity and emotions in unique ways. One such technique that has captured the fascination of guitarists across genres is tapping harmonics. Tapping harmonics combine the beauty of harmonics with the dynamic technique of tapping, resulting in a mesmerizing and ethereal sound. In this article, we’ll delve into what tapping harmonics are and how you can incorporate them into your playing to add depth and dimension to your music.
Understanding Tapping Harmonics
Tapping harmonics, often referred to as two-hand tapped harmonics, involve creating harmonic tones on the guitar by tapping the strings with both hands. This technique is not only visually impressive but also produces a hauntingly beautiful and mystical sound. Tapping harmonics can be applied to both acoustic and electric guitars, offering a versatile range of sonic possibilities.
How to Create Tapping Harmonics
To create tapping harmonics, you’ll need to follow these steps:
1. Select the Right Spot: Start by selecting the appropriate harmonic node on the string. Harmonics occur at specific locations on the string, usually above the 5th, 7th, and 12th frets. These are the most commonly used positions for creating harmonics, as they produce the clearest and most resonant tones.
2. Fret the Note: Use your fretting hand (the hand that usually holds down the strings on the fretboard) to lightly rest your finger on the desired harmonic node without pressing it down. This is crucial to allow the harmonic to ring out.
3. Tap with Precision: With your tapping hand, form a loose fist or use your fingertips to gently tap the string directly above the harmonic node you’ve selected. The key here is to tap the string lightly and swiftly, creating a harmonic “ping” or chime.
4. Control Your Pressure: Experiment with the pressure applied while tapping. Too much pressure can mute the harmonic, while too little may not produce a clear sound. Finding the right balance is essential.
5. Practice Precision: Tapping harmonics require precision and accuracy. Spend time practicing the technique to hit the exact harmonic node consistently.
Incorporating Tapping Harmonics into Your Playing
Now that you understand how to create tapping harmonics let’s explore how to incorporate this enchanting technique into your guitar playing:
1. Add Texture to Solos: Tapping harmonics can add a unique texture to your solos. Use them sparingly to emphasize specific notes or create a captivating intro or outro to your solos.
2. Create Chords and Arpeggios: Experiment with tapping harmonics to craft intricate chords and arpeggios. By combining harmonics and tapping, you can achieve a cascading, bell-like effect that can elevate your chord progressions.
3. Ambient Soundscapes: Tapping harmonics are ideal for crafting ambient and atmospheric soundscapes. Layer them with effects like delay and reverb to create mesmerizing, otherworldly textures.
4. Collaborate with Other Musicians: Tapping harmonics can be a fantastic tool when collaborating with other musicians. They can be used to create unique sonic textures that complement vocals or other instruments.
5. Explore Different Techniques: Don’t limit yourself to a single tapping harmonic technique. Experiment with different tapping patterns, string combinations, and harmonics positions to discover your own signature sound.
Tapping harmonics are a captivating technique that can unlock a world of sonic possibilities in your guitar playing. By mastering the art of tapping harmonics and incorporating them into your repertoire, you can add depth, dimension, and a touch of magic to your music. So, grab your guitar, start practicing, and let the enchanting sounds of tapping harmonics take your playing to new heights.