Playing a guitar (or some other stringed instrument with a large enough neck to allow it) by using both hands on the fretboard. When playing two-handed, the first note is sounded when the guitarist's finger presses the string against the fretboard. This is done with more force than usual, because instead of plucking the string with the "playing" hand (the right hand, if the guitarist is right handed), that hand will also be performing a similar action, usually higher up the neck.

This is useful for several reasons. Eddie Van Halen combined this technique with several left-handed pull-offs to play riffs at amazing speeds, and is considered by some to be the originator of this techinique. Jazz guitarists such as Stanley Jordan and Anthony Mazzella use this technique to play songs that would ordinarily require multiple musicians to play, using their "fretting" hands to play basslines and low chords while their "picking" hands would play intricate melodies. Some bassists such as Les Claypool of Primus and Victor Wooten also utilize this technique, bringing this instrument more into the limelight.

Songs to listen to for examples:

  • Joe Satriani, Always With You, Always With Me
  • Van Halen, Judgement Day
  • Primus, DMV
  • Stanley Jordan, Eleanor Rigby
  • Anthony Mazzella, Voices of the Winds
Recommended guitar setup:

The action should be low; that is, the strings should be set close to the fretboard. Lighter strings may be easier to work with, since they don't require as much strength to press down -- and when the technique is solely based on pressing down the strings, this will probably be appreciated. You also may want to have some sort of damper by the nut; the string will vibrate on either side of your finger when you tap it, and you probably don't want the second note (behind your hand) to ring out (a small piece of felt wedged under the strings by the nut should suffice). A strap is usually nice for balance, as well.

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