Who Really Invented Tapping? – It’s NOT Eddie Van Halen

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One Of The Most Popular Guitar Techniques

Let’s talk about tapping first – what is tapping? To make its meaning short — tapping means playing guitar all over the fretboard. Usually, guitar players play their guitars with a pick or sometimes plucking it with their fingers. On the other hand, guitar players who use the tapping technique hit the strings with their fingers rather than using picks. Some use both of their hands and while some use only one. But if a guitar player wants to make a perfect guitar tap, he/she has to use his/her both hands the other hand is used to hammer on and pull off.

So who really invented tapping?

This debate has been going around for like “AROUND.” There’s even an argument that musicians from the 18th century were the ones who invented it and used tapping on old stringed instruments. And the first musician considered to ever tapped is:

Niccolò Paganini

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According to George Lynch, the guitarist of 80s’ Heavy Metal band Dokken, he heard the first tapping from the 50s guitar guy named:

George Van Eps

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Okay, whatever he says because the real oldest guitar tapping ever recorded and witnessed by those who are actually paying attention to tapping was from this guy:

Vittorio Camardess

This video was from 1965, meaning 53 years ago, so that said, it was before Eddie Van Halen ever knew what tapping is.


But according to this guy (named below), he also used tapping even before Eddie:

Steve Hackett

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Photo Source: GenesisFan

But whatever these guys say, we all know who popularized tapping more than any other guitarist, and it is none other than:

Eddie Van Halen

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Those tapping licks on Eruption is really one of the greatest and definitely memorable tapping solos of all time.

Eddie Van Halen said that he has never heard of tapping before inventing it. And according to him, he was inspired by Jimmy Page’s Heartbreaker solo to invent tapping.

Well, Eddie’s got some point, you can check the video below of Jimmy Page Heartbreaker, and start it at 0:42. Page played some notes only based on the hammer on and pull-offs.

So meaning Eddie saw what Jimmy Page did there and used it as a technique to play with both hands on the fretboard.



Eddie Van Halen was definitely original and invented tapping (note:) “ON HIS OWN STYLE.”


Eddie wasn’t the first one who uses it, here some of the few names who did tapping before him:


Emmett Chapman

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Photo Source: Stick Enterprises - Home of the Chapman Stick


Harvey Mandel

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Photo Source: Premier Guitar


Roy Smeck

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Photo Source: AllMusic

Frank Zappa

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Photo Source: Guitar World


Billy Gibbons

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Photo Source: Music Feeds


Randy Resnick

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Photo Source: Wikipedia


Harry DeArmond

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Photo Source: musicpickups.com