Guitar, Bass & Specialty Tapping Instruments
eanwhile, back at the ranch, Rock & Roll flourished and splintered into sub-genres, and with the explosive increase in electric guitarists, it was inevitable that other guitarists re-discovered Websterâ€™s â€œcreep-alongâ€ right-hand touch technique, and others re-discovered how to elevate the fretboard into a vertical position to play with â€œtwo-handed tappingâ€ (Chapmanâ€™s name for his fingers perpendicular to strings approach). Even bass-players and some acoustic guitarists (playing into microphones) have developed touch-play or tapping techniques.
In recent years there seems to have been a dramatic increase of â€œtappingâ€ in popular music.
There have also been a number of specialty instruments designed especially for tapping. Here is a sampling of specialty tapping instruments. To see others, visit the Instrument Museum at Touch-Style Territory at http://www.traktor.com —
Stuart Box, originally living in the USA, migrated to Australia, taking his Box Guitar designs along with him. He still designs and sells his specialty tapping instruments. Unlike some of the other tapping instruments which have scale lengths similar to electric bass instruments, Box Guitars are generally constructed to guitar scale lengths. Which makes sense because they’re generally advertised as ‘Two Guitars on One Instrument.’
The model shown here is Box’s ‘S.R. Series’ which boasts headless design with Steinberger (or Bunker) -style tuners at the base of the instrument. The instrument contains dual truss rods and a slim neck. Popular Seymour Duncan pickups and lotso selector switches make different simultaneous sounds possible.
Box also manufactures the ‘L.M. Series,’ a touch-style guitar with a traditional tuning head, and the ‘J.C. Series,’ which has a stratocaster-type body.
Henri DuPontâ€™s brainchild is an evolutionary design that began with a desire to create a refinement over previous tapping instruments in a modular, expandable design, so that modification becomes easier. His theory was that as the instrument spread, its mutation would be accelerated, producing by his â€˜Theory of Musical Evolutionâ€™ other variants and instruments which would continue to change and evolve, and so expand two-handed tapping around the planet.
Be that as it may, for the musician the Mobius Megatar bass has surface similarity to other tapping instruments containing a set of bass strings and a set of melody strings upon one neck. There exist, however, many differences in the details. In this photo from a Buenos Aires nightclub performance, Henri can be seen playing an early prototype, but production instruments are similar.
The Mobius â€˜TrueTapperâ€™ model boasts a modular pickup-array system so that pickups (and therefore the instrumentâ€™s sound) can be easily customized, plus a new design of guitar strap which supports the instrument in correct upright playing position. Normally the instrument is tuned like a standard 6-string bass in fourths, with melody strings also in fourths.
Mobius has licensed the patented Buzz Feiten Intonation System, which is a system of precise adjustments to string lengths â€“ completely different from normal practice â€“ which slightly alters the pitch of strings across the fretboard, with the claimed effect that to the ear the instrument sounds noticeably more â€˜in-tuneâ€™ as you play with both hands, or as the Feiten patents say, the string adjustments produce â€˜exceptionally pleasing intonation.â€™
The Mobius Megatar website at http://www.megatar.com contains a detailed analysis of design features and instrument photographs.
Richard Eberlen’s unusual stringed musical instrument, tuned as a standard 7-string guitar. ‘Solene’ is the Greek word meaning pipe, which is the shape of the instrument. The cylindrical body and fretboard provide a new playing surface for tapping technique.
Since it’s tuned like a guitar, guitarists can visualize and think about intervals in a familiar way. The Solene was granted US patent number D363,946.
Mark Warr’s instruments are called ‘guitars,’ but their scale length is more akin to a bass. These are large instruments, built with world-class components, quality tonewoods, and heavy-duty construction. Warr’s stated intention is to produce the best tone possible.
The instruments have the novel feature that they can be played with full two-handed tapping technique (in the popular near-vertical position), or they can be played using standard guitar picking and strumming techniques (in the normal guitar near-horizontal position). Warr’s innovative counter-balanced strap locations permit the instrument to remain in either position.
The electrics consist of high-end Bartolini pickups along with a custom 18-volt active system also designed by Bill Bartolini. Many professional touch-style players have embraced the Warr guitar, citing it’s powerful tone and quality construction.