Originally Posted by: WikibooksTapping is the short name of fretboard tapping or finger tapping: the act of tapping the fingers against the strings in order to produce sounds, rather than striking or plucking the strings. Specifically, it usually refers to two-handed tapping, that is, tapping involving both the left and right hand. It is not clear who discovered tapping, but it was certainly popularized, but not discovered, by Eddie van Halen. Van Halen was listening to "Heartbreaker" by Led Zeppelin, and he was quite inspired by the solo, which contained a variation of tapping. This is arguably the song that pushed Van Halen to popularize and use "tapping" frequently. A rather different kind of tapping, which is a whole playing style rather than a technique, was probably discovered by Jimmy Webster but is used primarily by Stanley Jordan, who is currently the style's only virtuoso. Therefore this book dubs the two kinds of tapping Van Halen tapping and Jordan tapping, although Stanley Jordan often calls the latter the touch technique.
Van Halen tapping
Van Halen-style tapping is by far the most common type of tapping. It is generally used as a lead guitar technique, most commonly during solos; however, a small number of songs are entirely tapped. The player's picking hand leaps out to the fretboard and begins to tap the strings with the fingers. However, one must get the pick out of the way in order to tap. Some players do this by sticking the pick between their fingers; others simply use the middle finger to tap. The Van Halen technique of getting rid of the pick is done by sliding the pick into the palm, and using only your middle finger to hold it.
Eruption by Eddie Van Halen is a good example of this technique
and another thing, Jimmie Webster is the real inventor of tapping, not Van Halen!!!!!!
As mentioned before, this is a whole playing style and a whole book could be written about it. However, it is largely unexplored territory. Stanley Jordan has been using this playstyle for decades, but precious few others have used it much. The principle is the same as Van Halen tapping: instead of picking the strings with the picking hand, the player hammers on them. The biggest difference is that the left hand plays too, hammering on strings to sound notes rather than to hold strings down to be pulled-off to. The second-biggest difference is not in the technique itself but its use: it is generally used for solos or sections of songs rather than a small fragment of the song. The player never needs to worry about having to use a pick and can use both hands freely.
thats a rather long read. tapping is really hard to describe for some reason... okay think of it as a legato. and instead of just picking -8-9-11-12- , you can lengthen it like -8-9-11-12-15- by tapping the 15th fret with one of your right hand fingers.
when you do tapping, you can also do incredibly big intervals that you normally couldnt do with a normal legato. ex: -2-7-12-
I hope that helps...
-Agile Guitars Enthusiast