Power Lesson #1: Two Handed Tapping

This is the first in a series of three lessons from my new online course Contemporary Techniques For Bass Guitar.  This lesson is an excerpt from my new book/DVD, Tapestry, which is scheduled for release in September.

The song illustrated here is called Ebenella and was written by a good friend of mine, Rob Gourlay. These techniques are the same as those used by Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Michael Manring, and several other great bassists. This song helped me develop strength and accuracy when I learned it, and I hope it does the same for you now.

In this lesson, Ebenella is broken down into individual techniques and slowed down so you can practice along. At first it may seem that the different parts don’t have anything to do with the finished song but they are very important if you want to learn without struggling. If you feel like skipping parts, try to suppress that urge because if you don’t have these parts down well, you might have trouble keeping up as the lesson progresses.

Part One – Tap, Pull-off

Use your index finger on your right hand to strike the G string over the twelfth fret and hold it down. If you have done this correctly, then you should hear a clear sustaining note. Next you should pull your finger toward your thumb in a pinching motion until the string slips out, and you have another clear resonant note. This is very much like playing normally except you are tapping first and playing over the fingerboard. Now you should be able to repeat the process and play along with the video.

Figure 1: Tap, Pull-Off

Part Two – Tap, Pull-off on G,D,A

Part two is very similar to part one. In fact, using all the same motions this time, you will be playing on the G, D, and A strings.

Figure 2: Tap, Pull-off on G,D,A

Part Three – Left Hand Chord

In part three, you will be using the same technique that you learned in parts one and two, but now with the left hand in place. Be sure to use the correct fingering in the left hand because we will be changing that chord later on, and the fingering will be important.

Figure 3: Left Hand Chord

Part Four – Left Hand Movement

This exercise uses the tap-on, pull-off technique learned earlier over moving notes in the left hand. The motion in the right hand is the same as before, but now you must move the left hand while the tapped note is being held. Here it is broken down: With your third finger from your left hand fretting the D on your G string, tap-on and pull-off with your right hand. Now tap-on with your right hand again, but this time while your tapped note is sustaining, lift up your third finger on your left hand and use your first finger from the same hand to fret the C on your G string. Pull-off. Now you should be able to repeat this motion in time and play along with the video.

Figure 4: Left Hand Movement

Part Five – Right Hand Motion

Place your left hand in the chord position learned earlier. Now use your index finger on your right hand to strum the top three strings. Next, play the following pattern. Tap your index finger at the 12th fret on the G string and slide it to the 11th fret and pull-off. Tap on the 12th fret on your D string and pull-off. Tap-on your A string at the 12th fret and pull-off. Now tap-on your A string at the 10th fret then slide to the 9th and pull-off. Tap on the 10th fret again and pull-off. Finally, tap on the 12th fret. When this song is played faster, it is easier to add an extra pull-off at the end. The video refers to this pull-off and calls it step number 14.

Figure 5: Right Hand Motion

Parts Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine – Repetition

It is important to play this song slowly, and gradually work your way up. If you practice too fast, too early then you will be playing wrong notes sometimes without even knowing it. If you end up practicing wrong notes then you will play wrong notes in performances, and it will be very hard to go back and fix those notes later. So practice slowly and correctly, and you will be blazing in no time.

Part Ten – Left Hand Patter Chord #2

Part ten is an expansion of what you have already learned. Use the same right hand pattern while playing a new chord with your left hand. The reason the fingering of the first chord used the first, third, and fourth fingers was because now all you have to do is switch strings between your first and third fingers and you’re in business.

Figure 6a: Left Hand Patter Chord #2

Figure 6b: Left Hand Patter Chord #2

Parts Eleven and Twelve – More Repetition

Practice, Practice, Practice…

Part Thirteen – Preview

Well, you have finished this lesson. Now it’s time to think about some more. Check out Stinnett Music, Bass Workout, my site, and YouTube for more lessons.

In the fall Stinnett Music Nonpareil, will be releasing the course called Contemporary Techniques for Bass Guitar, which will cover all the basics of tapping, slapping, double thumping, and several other modern bass styles.

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Share your thoughts

  1. Hi Jim!
    Thanks for this “hands on” movie, the song – Ebenella is incredible on your Album – Two Low Featuring LIONEL LOUEKE, Albin

  2. alejandro michetti

    Corey, this is nice!

  3. Surfsup54

    Very, very nicely done. Thank you Corey for hosting it.

  4. Ney Neto

    from Brazil, !

  5. Mark

    Excellent instructional video!

  6. Kurt

    Nice illustrations combined with the video. Great job Grant!


  7. Dave Cave

    gr8 stuff…beautiful simple and well tought

  8. Dave Cave

    gr8 stuff…beautiful simple and well tought

  9. how old is that kid? pisses me off I cant do it…. yet. :) good job & well instructed.