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January 20, 2009

Amazing Tap Guitar: Erik Mongrain Plays Airtap [Video]

Erik Mongrain is a Canadian guitarist who is specialized in "lap tapping", a technique that you can compare with playing piano on a guitar.  With the guitar on his lap, he taps the chords as if it is a piano while also playing rhythmic elements on the body of the guitar.

According to his website, Erik's main influence is Michael Hedges, one of the pioneers of tap guitar.

Erik Mongrain is not alone though, these days there are quiet a lot of tap players and most of them have an impressive technique (I'm not even going to try tap guitar myself, I guess that means I'm getting old :-) What I miss sometimes in tap guitar players is musicality.  I'm watching these videos on Youtube, thinking "wow, that's amazing", but on the other hand it bores me after one minute. 

Erik plays this piece, Airtap, on a guitar with the open tuning of F: FACFAF.

Anyway here's the video:


In case you want to make an attempt at Airtap yourself, you can download the guitar tabs here (in exchange for $10/piece):


Bert said...

This and Hedges work are meditative, but certainly kind of droney. For musicality, Stanley Jordan is the man. Not only does he tap chords and melody like a pianist, he has a real sense of harmony and natural fluidity. Sad to see he has not had more success.

Matt Stevens said...

I think the open tunings used by hedges/mongrain really create this effect - you either like it or you don't!! I agree Stanley Jordan is more musical and the Chapman Stick is a logical evolution of this style,

Anonymous said...

I recommend you listen to Antonio Forcione for really listenable tapping on acoustic/semi acoustic guitar. In concerts he plays both upright and flat.


Lauri said...

I really like Mongrain opposed to Stanley. I think time-wise Stanley isn't that great. And his sounds are really thin and uninteresting to me atleast. But with mongrain, it's not just about sounding like two guitarist or a pianist, he really gets something else out of the instrument.

what do you guys think of this?