Has any piece of musical equipment proliferated more, or more rapidly, than the humble electric guitar effect unit? Though there is no official tally, suffice it to say that thousands of stomp boxes, effect devices and processors have been created for the electric guitar over the past 60 years (and that’s not including rackmount effects). Conceivably, more than half of those devices are distortion, fuzz and overdrive effects.
I was a little kid, like six or seven years old, when the Beatles came out. I remember hearing their music and I couldn’t imagine where that sound was coming from. Then I saw a picture of the Beatles, and George [Harrison] had an electric guitar, and I was like “That’s it!” It was that sound—the sound of George’s guitar—that first captured me when I was really young. It all goes back to that sound.
This month’s column focuses on an original composition of mine that acknowledges the influence of classical pianists on my playing style, specifically the way in which pianists will play arpeggios across several octaves very quickly (see FIGURE 1). In order to emulate that sound on the guitar, I’ve devised a few fretboard tapping techniques. In fact, much of my two-hand tapping technique is based on that goal and approach.