Lesson 3: Tapping Like Eddie Van Halen

Welcome to Lesson 3! This is one of my favorite lessons. Tapping will add super shredding speed to your guitar solos and it’s just plain awesome. By adding some tapping to your alternate picking and hammer-on/pull-offs techniques you’ve learned in the last few lessons, you have a recipe for some interesting guitar solos.

Don’t skip warm-ups. The exercises don’t take long and they train your fingers and hands to work together. Start slowing playing with a metronome and work your speed up.

Warm-up Exercises

Again, warm-up exercises are not meant to be played for hours but rather to get your hands “warmed-up” and both hands working together. Before you know it you will be flying around on the guitar at warp speed. At that point, warm-up exercises will become even more important. Think of your hands like a singer thinks of his vocal cords. Practice 5 minutes of slow to moderately paced warm-ups before you put start screaming at the top of your lungs.


Play each exercise at 120 BPM (beats per minute). The (quarter-note) quarter note gets the beat. There are 4 beats in a measure. Count 1-2-3-4. Unless otherwise noted use alternate picking for each warm-up exercise.

Warm-up Exercise 1


Warm-up Exercise 2


Warm-up Exercise 3


Warm-up Exercise 4


Be sure to play slow and steady in time with the metronome. Keep your fret hand finger at the bottom of the fret to get the best tone.

Guitar Theory

We have learned the minor pentatonic scale and how to determine what key to play in for each song. This lesson is an extension of the last lesson. We know that if you’re in the key of C Major you will use A minor pentatonic to solo in.

For C Major use A minor pentatonic to solo.

Now let’s focus on what notes to land on. If the key is C Major and you’re using A minor pentatonic to solo you will want to land on a “major” sounding note.  The major notes would be common to the backing chords that are being played.


Let’s assume you are play just one chord, the C Major bar (technically it should be “barre”) chord. For the C major chord you would focus on landing on a C, G or D note. Notice where they are in the minor pentatonic scale.

Tapping Technique

Guitar tapping is cool and the technique is relatively easy to learn. Like all the other exercises you should start slow and work your speed up. Tone is the most important thing.

To tap use your picking hand’s middle finger and hammer down on the fret. If you play guitar right-handed then it’s your right hand. Tap on the 12th fret of the high E string (1st string). Now pull off the string like you did with pull-offs.


  1. Place your 4th finger from fret hand on the 8th fret.
  2. Tap using your 2nd finger from picking on the 12 fret.
  3. Pull off of the 12th fret with your tapping finger. Slide your finger off the string toward the ground. The 8th fret (C) should sound.

Mute all other strings by laying the palm of your right hand on the strings that are not being played.

Practice this exercise until you can hear both notes clearly.

Time To Shred

This lick needs no introduction except to say, slow and steady wins the race. Start slow. This combines tapping and pull-offs. No pick required!

Played slowly:

Full speed:


  1. Tap on the 12th fret with your 2nd finger of your picking hand
  2. Pull off of the 12th fret
  3. Pull off of the 8th fret

In case you missed it, every note is in the A minor pentatonic scale. You are on your way to shredding like Eddie Van Halen now!

The next lesson will continue your road to guitar soloing with one technique that separates pro sounding players from the rest.

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