Two-Hand Tapping Workout, Part 1: Pentatonic Scales

(Image credit: Cindy Moorhead)

In this lesson, I'm going to show you a two-hand tapping workout based on the foundation of my previous lesson, “Pentatonic Workout: Increase Left Hand Strength and Produce Great-Sounding Sequences."

Assuming you're already comfortable with the five positions of the pentatonic scale and the sequences discussed in this previous lesson, we'll now take it to the next level.

We’ll use the A minor pentatonic scale at the fifth position as our example, but you will want to make sure you can perform this routine in all five positions of the pentatonic scale.

This workout starts with the A minor pentatonic scale ascending and descending, with the added element of our right hand, tapping an additional note normally found in the next position of the scale (Example 1).

After this establishes the fingering for your left and right hands, the workout continues with a two-string sequence, where you play the “high note-low note-middle note” tapping pattern across sixth and fifth strings. This pattern starts again on the fifth string, continues to the fourth string, then repeats in a similar fashion ascending across all six strings. Turn the direction around to descend (Example 2).

The third part of the workout is a sequence that ascends in nine-note groups (three strings’ worth of tapped pentatonic scale), then back a string, start on the D (fifth string) and ascend another nine notes (three strings).

Continue this pattern until you start the sequence on the G string, at which point you simply turn the pattern around and perform the sequence in reverse: From the high E string, you play the tapping pattern descending nine note (three strings), go back a string and start the pattern again on the B string, and again, continuing in the same fashion (Example 3).

The fourth and final part of the tapping workout involves string skipping. Using the same tapping pattern (high note-low note-middle note) as before, start on the low E string, skip the A string, play the pattern on the D string, go back to the A string and start the pattern again, then skip the D string, and play the tapping pattern on the G string. This pattern continues, gets turned around like before, and then works its way back in reverse (Example 4).

I like to string these four examples together, playing then back to back, without stopping. I find this forces me to think ahead, be able to change gears and mix things up in my regular playing more easily.

Practice these as straight eighth notes, as well as triplets. Once you are able to play these four elements back to back without any problems, try it with the other four pentatonic positions. Use a metronome to gauge your progress, and push yourself to play these at a faster tempo once they become comfortable.

Guitarist Adrian Galysh is a solo artist, and education coordinator for Guitar Center Studios. He's the author of the book Progressive Guitar Warmups and Exercises. For more information, visit him at

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