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Guitar - How can I quickly strengthen/improve left hand tapping? Answered

Hi guys,

heres a question that i've been dying to ask for a while.

how can i strengthen my left hand guitar tapping...

I've been at guitar for 2 years now, and I'm trying to learn Invincible by Muse.

Listen here the solo is around 4:38 

I can play the whole song, and I know the notes to play for the solo, but my left hand fingers are physically not strong enough to play the trill :L

If you could give some advice as to how to strengthen my fingers quickest, that would be greatly appreciated.

Heres the tab by the way:



Strength is not really required for this - speed and dexterity are.  The trick to performing tapping like this lies partly with the guitar, but mainly with how you play.

The guitar must have well-adjusted action (as low as you can get it without fret buzz) and the truss rod must true.  Playing a new set of light strings helps.

Tapping is really a bit of a misnomer; you're actually performing rapid combos of hammer-ons and pull-offs.  There is a small amount of strength required for hammering on, but not much (I find it's as much in my wrist as my finger - perhaps not the best technique, but it works).  Pulling off simply requires dragging your finger slightly so as to impart enough energy to pluck it.

I know, it sounds simpler than it is.  With practice, though, you'll find it really is that basic.  Furthermore, strength is not nearly as important as dexterity and speed - and that comes from practice.  Play it slowly, get smooth, then speed it up and get smooth, ad nauseum.

im not sure about the truss rod, but my action is as low as it gets...

i had to move it up because when you played the twelfth fret on the low E string, it actually sounded the 19th... :L

and yeah, i probably meant dexterity not strength...

so there are no  secret exercises or something just for this...

and yeah i know its really just hammering on and pulling off... its the speed and uncomfortableness of the tab that is making it hard for me...

Gotcha.  Yeah, there are unfortunately no magic bullets here - unless you are courageous enough to break into the Rock 'n Roll Museum and snag the Pick of Destiny.

As far as strength building, you can always let the strings on an acoustic die and use it - if you can play that cleanly, electric will be a breeze.  Dexterity, though, including building reach (which from the video looks to be the hard part) just requires work (having big hands helps, just as Jimi Hendrix or Billy Corgan).

i have small hands lol :L

also you can actually buy pick of destiny(ies) from ebay

No problem.  Actually, I assumed you were playing with distortion (and possibly compression behind it); that definitely helps to raise the sensitivity of the instrument.

I have the Pick of Destiny - my wife gave it to me as a stocking stuffer.  It's way too thick to be used for guitar, but oddly enough the over-sized pick is comfortable and works really well for bass (even though it's still too heavy).  The horns of Satan make a great resting place against the crook of my index finger and back of the thumb.

I may have to file down the pick end of it; I haven't though, merely for the fact that I think it makes a better conversation piece than a practical pick, and I don't want to ruin it.

i can play this at proper speed now!

weirdly the thing that helped me most was actually turning my distortion pedal on and turning up the volume.

that basically made it twice as easy to get a sound from the hammer on, and therefore sped it up a lot...

thanks for your advice...


Practice. Practice makes perfect. try to do it when you warm up, like an appregio scale or something

You want to strengthen your left? O.K. Since there really is no fast way to do this, I recomend just sitting down and just doing it over and over again. this sould eventually strengthen the hand and fingers.