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Early Two-Handed Tapping on Guitar Video
Posted 7/10/2013 10:29:00 AM

To many guitarists and rock music fans Eddie Van Halen is the man who "invented" two handed tapping on the guitar. To guitarists who have dug deeper into the instrument, they know that the technique goes much farther back and that EVH simply brought it to the US main stream at the time. Nobody will ever know for sure who "invented" the technique, because it goes further back than can be documented.

We know that violinist used the technique way back in classical music, jazz guitarists, banjo players; even a ukulele musician named Roy Smeck can be seen using the technique in a film back in 1932.

Some argue that back in 1969 Emmett Chapman, known for the amazing Chapman stick, was the first to use the two hand technique on one single string to create a counter point harmony. This would be the sound most people attribute to Eddie Van Halen's style. While it's true that Emmett did do this back in 1969, and gained some serious notoriety for it, he certainly wasn't the first.

Some mind blowing proof

A new video on YouTube has surfaced showing an amateur guitar player in Italy, back in 1965, demonstrating the cool technique of two handed tapping on a borrowed acoustic guitar. His name is Vittorio Camardese and what he can do on the guitar is simply astonishing and proves that the two handed tapping technique, on single or multiple strings, was around way before Mr. Chapman or Van Halen.

Unless you just love an old school Italian TV interview, you will want to forward to about 1:14 in the video. Guitarists will want to pay special attention to the several of the tunes he plays, my favorite being a technique where he plays a slap bass line with tapping fingers and uses the pinky of the tapping hand to strum melody chords at the same time. Brilliant.

Cool Stuff Right?

Here is Dave Bunker from back in 1960:

Does it matter who did it first?

No it certainly does not. Who did it first, who did it best? None of it matters of course. I’m sure Mr. Chapman and Eddie Van Halen won’t loose any sleep tonight over the fact that other guitarists did tapping well before they were even born, and you shouldn’t either.

The idea here is to show that music has always been about taking the same 7 notes and using them however you wish, with whatever technique you wish, to create the music you want to make. No, you won’t be the first person to play that note, or chord, but you will be the first person to play it exactly like you… and that my friend is what music is all about.

Patrick Capone

Posted By: Pat Capone  
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