Tapping Arpeggios with Pachelbel’s Canon (part 1)

Tapping arpeggios is a great way to get familiar with chords and their subsequent shapes on the fret board. By using both hands to perform notes one could learn chord shapes and scales twice as fast. This month begins a series of tapping lessons using a little exercise I wrote to develop your tapping chops while simultaneously getting to know the territories on the neck. Check out this video which is an exercise I wrote to develop my (and several students) two hand tapping. It’s based on Pachelbel’s ‘Canon’ in D, but for this purpose I transposed it to A. The resulting chords are: A/E/F#m/C#m/D/A/D/E. Repeat this progression for the entire song. As a student of the guitar one should also learn and memorize the notes of these chords: A =(A,C#,E), E =(E,G#,B), F#m =(F#,A,C#), C#m =(C#,E,G#), D =(D,F#,A). Know that any re-arrangement of the three notes results in the same chord. For instance A (A,C#,E – root inversion) could also be spelled and played as C#,E,A (1st inversion) or E,A,C# (2nd inversion). Inversions will be covered more in future columns.

Only two chord qualities are used here – ‘major’ and ‘minor’. Try this simple tapping idea (see pdf example 1a and 1b below) to illustrate the difference. Flatting the 3rd results in the melancholy minor chord.

The first 8 measures from the video are performed entirely on the high E string (see pdf example 2 below). Use the index and pinkie fingers from fretting hand while tapping with middle and pinkie. The entire tapping sequence unfolds in six notes and is played twice before moving on to the next chord where it’s repeated with the new chord tones. Classical composers use melodic sequences with great results and even modern shredders like Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert employ this concept. Visit Troy Stetina’s free digital guitar magazine for the complete lesson. Happy tapping!

Daring tappers will want to check out my instructional dvd “ASAP Two Hand Tapping” for even more insane multi finger tapping!

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