Stretching the Boundaries
Standard playing, which uses a pick in one hand and four fingers on the other, is not the only way to play a guitar. Over the years, players have stretched the boundaries by exploring extended techniques. One of the best places to start is with two-handed tapping, a technique made popular by Eddie Van Halen.
In 1978, the world as guitar players knew it was changed. On the first Van Halen album, a long unaccompanied guitar solo performed by guitarist Eddie Van Halen utilized two-handed tapping. The piece entitled “Eruption” is a milestone for guitar playing and has expanded the repertoire of technique for guitar players everywhere. While Eddie wasn't the first to tap, he was the first to successfully integrate it into his playing. Tapping had been used in classical guitar playing, and other rock players had tried to integrate it into their playing, but Eddie took it and made it his own in a way the others had not.
While Eddie Van Halen may have started the ball rolling, other players have taken tapping to new heights. Stanley Jordan is one of the most amazing two-hand tapping players out there, and his solo version of “Stairway to Heaven” is incredible. Many modern rock players have adopted tapping as part of their normal technique: Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Kirk Hammett, Diamond Darrell, John Petrucci, and others continue to evolve tapping in the rock context.