Hello fellow musicians,

my question may be really simple, but since I don't have much knowledge about effect pedals or rather no money to buy every pedal and see what it does, I might need some help. I am a big SRV fan and I always wonder how he managed to let his guitar ring notes for such a long time. For example in Voodoo Child there's a part where he only picks a string once and then starts tapping the neck up and down just with his fingers. Everytime I tried it, the tone was gone after a few seconds. I'm pretty sure he used some effect pedal or similar to boost his notes. If anyone could help me out I would really appreciate it. Also if there are any "cheap" solutions, I would be very glad.

  • 1
    Tapping actually creates new notes. You have to work on your tapping technique if the sound is dying away. – Todd Wilcox May 25 '19 at 18:21
  • 3
    First purchase - compressor/sustain pedal. – Tim May 25 '19 at 18:25
  • So should I tap much harder or is there more to consider? Like I allready tap as hard as I can to creaty longer lasting notes. – Thomas Ruedel May 25 '19 at 18:28
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    See also: music.stackexchange.com/questions/6103/… – Your Uncle Bob May 25 '19 at 19:00

For the specific song you mention, the two key things are:

  • a heavily overdriven, high gain input stage on the amp
  • a well set up neck

using tapping, you could play forever with only one hand (see any Van Halen) - if you aren't able to do this, either you aren't hammering on or tapping quickly/hard enough, or your neck has other issues. You do want your strings to be as low to the fretboard as you can handle for tapping - this doesn't lend itself well to hard thrashing as you get too much buzz off the frets.

This sort of tapping will work even on an unamplified acoustic guitar - the high gain amp simply makes every note more defined. Check out Joe Satriani's "Midnight" for an excellent example of an entire tune played using tapping, with only a little gain, and very little distortion.

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  • 2
    I’ve read that SRV often used one or more Tube Screamers into a mostly clean Dumble, but that’s just an alternate way to get the long sustain. – Todd Wilcox May 26 '19 at 3:38
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    And, interestingly, he doesn't seem to be muting any unused strings... – Tim May 26 '19 at 4:37
  • Thanks for the detailed information, I'll try it out. I'am not sure if my neck's really well setup, but it has a very tiny bow when, like recommendet. My strings are a bit higher as usual, at least that what other people say when they tried my guitar. I find it easier for me to play that way and I want to avoid that the strings hit the fretboard while playing, not sure if this could have an impact. I use an Tube Screamer too, but I've allready player with the settings nothing worket. The Overdrive and Gain on my amp is not really the best so I usually dont use it. – Thomas Ruedel May 27 '19 at 10:59
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    You want your strings as low as possible for tapping, and you'll find that generally as folks progress in proficiency they lower the strings. It makes everything easier, faster, smoother etc., but you do need to improve to avoid unnecessary string rattle against the frets. – Doktor Mayhem May 27 '19 at 11:35

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