If you are new to 8 finger tapping then check this article out. Aleksandar is giving us a very informative lesson with 3 videos, tabs and in depth explanation of the technique.
Holding the guitar
To be able to play 8-finger tapping with ease it is important that you hold your guitar the right way. And that is the way that would make your strings most accessible to your tapping hand fingers and removing any unnecessary tension. Your hand should be set that way that the palm is as close as possible to being parallel to the strings. That would allow your fingers to be aligned with strings by default. You should only rest your right arm elbow onto the edge of the body of the guitar, but leave your hand to float in the air.
Hand/finger movement and precision
As with any other technique it is important that your hands are relaxed. Otherwise you won't be able to play with precision and also you can end up with an injury. Tension will only slow you down and limit your hand and finger movement resulting with limited precision both tone and timing wise. So, be relaxed. To do that, just follow your relaxedness while gradually practising from lower to higher speed and having in mind that sounding good is more important than playing fast. That way your playing will have better timing and sound cleaner. Same as with your left hand, your fingers should be in an arched position and only the tip of your fingers should be used for fretting. Also be sure that all the notes you play are distinguishable. Not much use of it if your notes are blend together and your right hand legato sounds like playing a fretless guitar.
The problem is that when it comes to the anatomy of your hand. Your pinky and your ring finger tendons are apparently not as separated as well as the other fingers tendons. Which means that there is a certain natural limit to their movement. We can live with that. But for our needs, the way that we should adapt to it is by practising the right hand placement on the neck of the guitar. The right placement would be so as to make all your fingers flex approximately the same way. Opposed to that, when the little finger would be arched all the way and your index finger straight that would result in loss of control over your pinky and your ring finger. So be sure to work on hand placement as long as possible in order to get used to doing it the right way and achieve maximum results, and what is most important - without injury.
Open strings muting
One of the first things you'll notice is the interference coming out of the open strings that would start vibrating either out of resonance or from the vibrations you produce while hammering the notes, or just by accidentally hitting the neighbour strings while playing.
There are two ways to go around this one:
- Use a dampener (a commercial one or just a rubber band or a sock maybe)
- Use your free fingers to mute the open strings.
How to mute the open strings by your free fingers? Well, that is something you would in most of the time do automatically, or not being aware of doing. But here are some tips:
- Use your tapping hand thumb to cover the strings
- The fingers not being used at the moment can be used to mute the strings by covering them * The finger that are currently busy can also be used for muting, by shifting them a bit towards the string you want to mute and touching it.
Left/right hand synchronisation
There must be some order when playing with eight fingers. To learn to sync between your left and right hands, here are a few exercises I wrote for that.