How To Use Finger Tapping In Your Guitar Solos

One technique that is really cool to learn on the guitar is how to use finger tapping in your guitar solos.  This technique is great for adding flare and pizazz to your guitar playing.  But in order for it to do so, you will need to practice.

Eddie Van Halen

The technique of finger tapping has been around for many years but was made most popular by Eddie Van Halen in the late “70s with his debut album “Van Halen” that came out in 1978.

Van Halen made people sit up and take notice of the guitar.  And of course, this hadn’t been done on this level since the debut of Jimi Hendrix 10 years earlier.  Many great guitar players emerged during that tie from the late ’60s to the late’70s but didn’t have the impact Eddie Van Halen did.

What is finger tapping?

finger tapping

Finger tapping is a very cool (but more advanced) technique that allows you to spice up your guitar tone.  I say this because it has a very distinctive sound and once you recognize it you’ll know it’s finger tapping.  This technique will make you sound awesome on the guitar.

It is a technique where you do a hammer-on and pull-off with both hands at a rapid pace.  You start off slow and eventually increase your speed.  It is when you get your speed increased that the technique really starts to come to life.

Example #1.

Finger tapping

This is an example of just finger tapping on one string.  The B string.  One finger (picking hand) taps on the 12 and the other finger (fretboard hand) taps on the other notes.

In this example, the fretboard hand will stay on the 12th fret while the fretboard hande will move from fret to fret.  Make sure to tap one note right after the other.  Not at the same time.  Make sure your fingers are stretched well before trying this exercise.

Example #2

Finger tapping lick

Here we have another finger tapping lick where you tap on the 12 like before with the picking hand but then do a hammer-on with the fretboard hand.  You keep the index finger down and hammer on to the second note.

In this case, the fretboard hand starts at the 5th fret and proceeds to move down to the 2nd fret all along while hammering on the note three frets up.  This gives the technique a different type of sound.

Here’s how to execute finger tapping:

*You tap on one string (try the second one) with the index finger (or the second) of your picking hand and then push the string off the fretboard.

*Then take the index finger of your fretboard hand and do the same thing.  A hammer-on with a pull-off right after.

*When doing this (if done correctly) you should hear a sound that is similar to a siren.  Kind of like those cops in movies from London England. But of course way cooler.

*You can also just start with a hammer on to get the technique down and then add the pull-offs later.

*Do this one finger right after the other to get the desired effect.  Remember to start off slowly and then increase speed.

Watch the finger tapping lesson below

Finger tapping can be done by anyone.  You just have to learn the proper steps to execute the technique and stay committed to its development.  If you do this long enough (it won’t take too long with daily practice) you will begin to see progress and be able to sound awesome!

Hammer-ons and pull-offs

These are some of the most common ways to give notes on guitar expression and personality.  It is highly recommended that you practice daily perfecting these techniques.  These are simply a way of adding and subtracting notes.

When executing a hammer-on, you are starting with one note and adding another to it.  With a pull-off, you are doing the opposite.  You are starting with two notes and taking one away.  Basic fundamental principles of playing the guitar.

Additional help

As a guitar player, you should always be looking to learn techniques that help you to play guitar better and fuel your creativity.  Finger tapping is one of those techniques.  In the process, it is always a good idea to get some additional help where you can.  especially when playing guitar solos.


Because playing guitar solos requires more study and practice than just playing rhythm  Now I’m not saying anything against rhythm, I feel the rhythm is very important and provides the foundation for the guitar solo to stand on, but chords progressions usually repeat themselves several times throughout a song which makes them easier to learn.  Thus, in turn, makes it easier to play.

Playing guitar solos, on the other hand, are harder because each measure(or section) of the music changes.  Not to mention the speed of some of those sections might be quite fast and even utilize advanced techniques such as sweep picking arpeggios 

Or possibly even finger tapping.  Yup, playing guitar solos requires more dedication, patience, and commitment. In doing so sometimes requires additional help.

Method of study

I have been playing guitar for over 30 years and at that time I have written songs and created my own guitar solos.  As well as learned hundreds of guitar solos from my favorite guitar players.  And I can honestly tell you, that it’s a lot of work.  When you play create guitar solos, you definitely need to know what you’re doing or else moving around the fretboard will not sound good.

That is why I wrote and published my book Lead Guitar Wizardry (both volume 1 and 2) to help out in this area.  This method of study will show you exactly what it is you need to know to create guitar solos of your own, how to play other people’s guitar solos and how to sound great wherever you choose to play along the guitar fretboard.

Lead Guitar Wizardry finger tapping

Lead Guitar Wizardry will provide an essential on your journey to becoming a great lead guitarist.  It will show you the secret formulas, scale patterns, and techniques used by professional lead guitar wizards to create jaw-dropping solos that capture the listener with magic.

Combine the study of this training manual with a regular daily practice routine and you will begin to develop skills you once thought were beyond your ability.  Before you know it, you will be casting your own brand of guitar magic that will leave those listening in amazement.

Daily study and practice

In order to accomplish being able to play great guitar solos all over the neck at will, you must commit to daily study and practice.  Especially if you want to master the art of finger tapping.  Without daily study and practice, your progress will be slow and unfocused.  This might lead you to quit altogether.  But with proper training, you will come out a winner.

Lesson conclusion

In conclusion, learn how to use finger tapping in your guitar solos.  A technique that will allow you to create some really cool sounds.  But before you get too far ahead, make sure that you have a solid foundation of the fundamentals.  Make sure you understand your scales.  Where to play them and how to execute them properly to sound like music and not just scale runs.

And if you haven’t already, grab my FREE action-guide “Guitar Solo Secrets” to get a head-start on heading in the right direction.  Need more help than that, feel free to shoot me an email and follow me on Social media.

Keep practicing and until our next lesson,

Sincerely, Dwayne

How To Play Guitar Like Angus Young Of AC/DC