I tap with my middle finger and begin this lick by flicking the string with the finger to get the sound going, doing a "phantom" pull-off to the A note at the fifth fret. I then play a sequence that goes "hammer, tap, pull" and repeats as I move across the strings, initiating the first note on each lower string with a "hammer-on from nowhere."
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.
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s distinctive playing style is earmarked by equal parts pure power, intensity of focus, razor-sharp precision and deeply emotional conviction. And then there’s his tone—probably the best Stratocaster-derived sound ever evoked from the instrument.