If you want recommendations for the best guitars for tapping, this is the post for you!
What You Should Look for In a Guitar for Tapping
Before I get into more details, there are a couple of things that I should point out. Firstly, almost all electric guitars today are okay for tapping. Even the cheaper ones. Secondly, no two guitar players are the same. So the rules that I lay out here may not fit everyone’s needs. But I’ll also address these issues along the way.
One of the first things that you need to think of is string height. Of course, this is always adjustable. But not all guitars can be adjusted the same way. Overall, the lower the action, the better it is for tapping.
If the strings are too far away, it will take more time to hit the fret wire. So you’ll completely have to adapt to the instrument if that’s the case. Not to mention that you’ll be wasting energy. On the other hand, some may prefer slightly higher action. Hammering the strings with your fingers could produce a different tone.
Up next, you should think about the frets. From my perspective, I’d rather go with a taller fret wire. Combined with lower action, you’ll only need to gently tap the strings to produce a sound.
Finally, we come to the pickups and electronics. In this aspect, I’d avoid any low-output pickups. I’d always look for something hotter. It doesn’t have to be super-high-output. But the more sensitive they are, the easier it will be to get a good tone out of it.
I’d also avoid guitars that don’t come with a tone knob. You may want to use this underrated control if the tone feels too bright. It’s not a deal-breaker but it’s a very useful control.
It’s Not All About Your Guitar, You Know?
But in the end, it’s not all about finding the best guitar. Sure, that’s our main focus here. But there are two additional things you should bear in mind as well.
The first one comes down to your performing technique. If you don’t have this part figured out, no guitar in the world will work for you.
Aside from that, you’ll also need to think of your amp and signal chain. Find the best tone for your setting. It should be slightly on the brighter side to help you increase the attack. However, it shouldn’t be too bright. You don’t want random string and fret noise to be too prominent in there.
Best Guitars for Tapping
Any of the EVH Wolfgang models are great virtuoso tools. However, I’d like to mention Wolfgang Special as it’s a relatively cheaper one. But at the same time, it brings pro-tier qualities.
The guitar comes with 22 jumbo frets. Its ebony fretboard also has a compound radius, which really improves the performance quality.
Wolfgang Special is also equipped with two EVH stock Alnico 2 humbuckers. This is accompanied by a regular 3-way switch, as well as volume and tone knobs.
There’s also a Floyd Rose bridge with the EVH D-Tuna device. Of course, this is accompanied by a locking nut.
The model is, overall, pretty simple. But it brings some great qualities that you should look for in a virtuoso-type guitar.
Ibanez Prestige RG5120M
Of course, there’s hardly anything that competes with Ibanez’s Prestige line. RG5120M is just one example.
What’s really awesome on it are 24 stainless steel jumbo frets. This will ensure smooth performance and can also add some brightness and attack to every note.
There’s also a very comfortable 5-piece maple and wenge neck with the Super Wizard HP profile. The radius is pretty flat, measuring at 16.9 inches.
Then we also have Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers with advanced controls. Sonic possibilities with this one are incredible. Aside from that, the guitar is also equipped with a Lo-Pro Edge Tremolo bridge and a locking nut.
With all these features, it’s a super-easy one to use for tapping. In my opinion, it’s easily one of the best choices on the market. This is especially true due to its neck design and pickups.
Guitarist Satchel of Steel Panther has a pretty interesting signature model with Charvel. This is a somewhat straightforward Superstrat kind of guitar with all the necessities.
What I love about it is its maple neck with graphite reinforcement.
The neck also comes with a compound-radius maple fingerboard, going from 12 to 16 inches. The instrument is also equipped with a Floyd Rose 1000 tremolo and a locking nut.
It also comes with a pair of Fishman Fluence Classic PRF-CHB humbuckers. What might be a downside is that it comes without a tone knob. However, the volume knob has push-pull action for two voicing options.
Gibson SG Modern
Now, this may seem like a controversial mention for this list. However, if you ask me, Gibson SGs are pretty underrated in terms of their virtuosic potential.
As far as Gibson SG Modern goes, there’s so much that you can do with this instrument. Most importantly, you can lower the action and still make it sound great. And the guitar even comes with 24 frets.
The access to higher frets is also incredible. In fact, it’s super ergonomic and the body won’t obstruct you at all. The neck comes with the classic SlimTaper design and compound-radius fingerboard.
SG Modern also comes with a pair of matching Burstbucker Pro humbuckers. And what’s really awesome is that you have coil-split options for each individual pickup. There’s a lot of stuff that this guitar can do.
In case you’re looking for a cheaper yet potent one, I’d advise you to check out Jackson’s Dinky JS22. Although a low-priced model, it comes with some incredible features. This also includes a carved body top.
But more importantly, it comes with 24 jumbo frets. Although most features are somewhat basic, the guitar is pretty ergonomic. Never underestimate a Jackson Dinky. And don’t be dissuaded from trying it by its lower price.
I hope this article has helped you think through which guitar to get.
And if you want to read more about the best guitars for particular use-cases on this blog, then check out:
Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!