Genesis’ Steve Hackett On Changing Heavy Metal Music By Inventing Tapping

During a recent interview with Fox Rochester, former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett spoke about inventing the tapping technique and its influence on the heavy metal music scene.

As the name suggests, the technique involves tapping the strings instead of strumming or picking them, so they vibrate and ring out. While some guitarists use both of their hands to tap, some use only one.

In the recent interview, the inventor of the technique was told he helped define a generation of music. Hackett shared when he came up with tapping:

“Well, I’d like to think that there was some original thinking there. I think I’m modest enough to say none of us actually invented music. The thing is, I came up with tapping in 1981 on electric guitar, and that’s become the glossary of terms. So that’s expanded the heavy metal dictionary with that technique.”

The rocker then named his two idols who helped him shape his sound:

“That’s one thing, but then I grew up listening to Jimi Hendrix, and Andres Segovia in equal measure and trying to employ techniques that I’ve seen in both, and these are the two separate goats of the guitar.”

Although Hackett is known to be the inventor of the technique, he admitted that Eddie Van Halen popularized it. The technique got the attention of guitar players after Van Halen’s ‘Eruption‘ was released.

Apparently, the guitarist aimed to call the technique ‘nailing,’ but it ended up being called tapping later. The rocker said that he didn’t find who tapped earlier than him, ‘unless somebody did it in the 1930s.’

Now the technique is being used by many artists, with some of the notable ones being Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Jimmy Page, Steve Lynch, Emmett Chapman, and more.