Fig. 4 incorporates two more notes into the arpeggio shape while doubling the tapping notes from all of the previous examples. For the first arpeggio shape, we’ll add a B (4th fret on the 3rd string) and another 9, A, on the 4th string. For the second arpeggio shape, the A shape, we won’t be adding anything. For the third arpeggio shape, the B shape, we’ll add a D (7th fret on the 3rd string) and another C# (11th fret on the 4th string).

When learning the new notes for each of the shapes, try hammering the notes from each arpeggio shape without the tapped notes. Once you feel comfortable with the new notes, add in the tapped notes. I’ve tabbed out Fig. 5 for this below.

For this final example (Fig. 6), we’ll combine everything we’ve done in the previous examples to form a complete riff. This tapping riff is the intro to our song “Atlas Novus," from our newest album The Migration.

There are a few new things to be aware of in this final example.

  • The timing changes to fit the song, and this transforms each of the 9th arpeggio shapes into 16th-note triplet groupings, and it converts the rest of the notes into 16th-notes.
  • The movement of the tapped notes for the first shape will alternate. The note the middle finger taps will remain the same while the index finger alternates between the 12th fret on the 4th string (D) and the 11th fret on the 4th string (C#). Take your time to work through this movement before tackling the entire example.
  • The third shape will move back to the second shape, while also moving the tapped octave down a half-step.

When played up to tempo, this lick is very challenging. But once you’ve memorized the shapes and solidified them in your muscle memory, it won’t take very long to get up to speed. Just make sure to drill with a metronome and slowly increase the tempo.

Chris Letchford
Guitarist Chris Letchford is pushing the boundaries of modern progressive music. His band, Scale the Summit, has toured with Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa, Devin Townsend, and many more bands. Since attending both Berklee and Musicians Institute, he has become an in-demand educator and author. For more information, visit