Ex-Genesis’ Steve Hackett on Tapping: “I Did the Prototype, and Eddie Van Halen Named It”

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In a recent conversation with “The Metal Voice” in Canada, Steve Hackett reminisced about his early exploration of the tapping technique while with Genesis. He emphasized that while he was among the early adopters of this method, it was Eddie Van Halen who popularized it and even christened it.

Though the true origins of tapping in music can be traced back to classical techniques used long before electric guitars came into the limelight, Steve noted its potential on acoustic instruments. “Upon reflection, I realized it was utilized in classical guitar, even if I wasn’t aware of it at the time,” Hackett shared.

However, when most think of tapping, it’s Eddie Van Halen’s groundbreaking solos, like the iconic “Eruption”, that come to mind. From today’s perspective, Steve recounted:

“My use of the technique, which I started in 1971, was essentially an early form of tapping. This can be distinctly heard in Genesis’ ‘Nursery Cryme’, tracks like ‘The Musical Box’ and ‘Return of The Giant Hogweed’. Even in ‘Selling England by the Pound’, the track ‘Dancing With The Moonlit Knight’ showcases it.”

At their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction by Phish, the highlight of discussions revolved around the guitar solo which amalgamated techniques like sweep picking, tapping, and octave jumps – now integral to modern rock guitar.

Speaking about the evolution and significance of tapping, Steve observed:

“It’s become a staple for any metal guitarist. Despite the aggressive nature of the technique, especially in Eddie’s masterful hands, it’s a meticulous art. To execute those rapid-fire sequences isn’t about strumming a few chords; it demands dedication and practice.”

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