[In this first part of his masterclass for Guitar Messenger, Tosin Abasi of Animals As Leaders demonstrates his distinctive approach to tapping using a new lick and an example from the song 'CAFO.' Throughout this series, Tosin is playing his 8-string Ibanez through an Axe-Fx Ultra.]
I want to show you a newer tapping riff that I’ve been working on. It takes advantage of the way that I have the guitar tuned [E B E A D G B E], where my first three strings are set up like a power chord – I have 1, 5 and 1. This is in Bb, and I’m going to be tapping an octave away from where my left hand is. In the second part, I change from using a minor third above the Bb to a major third, putting it in Bb major. After that I use a C# Phrygian idea, skipping the B string.
[Tosin plays all of the lower octave notes with his left hand, and hammers on unless otherwise noted. For playing the tapped right hand notes, I indicates the index finger, M the middle and A the ring.]
I use this approach all the time. It’s really conducive to tapping when you have the guitar tuned the way I do. I find that when I have to do normal power chord shapes, it’s virtually impossible to pull off the same thing with my right hand.
Another point in my music where I use the same approach to tapping is in the song ‘CAFO’, which uses this octave idea where I’m tapping on the same string twelve frets away.
[Tosin tunes his 6th string down a whole step to D for this riff.]
If I were just to play the left hand portion, I’d have these groups of five. In between every one of these five notes I’m playing an octave away, and then I jump to the high D string and mirror the pattern from the lower D string.
So it’s a cool way to achieve this intervallic sound. It’s all very consonant – there aren’t many intervals outside of the 1 or the 5 here, but the fact that they’re an octave away and that it’s so percussive gives it a pretty unique sound to the guitar. You can do a multitude of things.