Tapping is the technique Eddie Van Halen made famous. It involves hammering on the fretboard with your 1st or 2nd finger of your picking hand to produce a note then pulling off to notes fingered by your fret hand. The involvement of the picking hand in this fashion is called a tap. It is usually represented by a “T” in tablature.
In the example below you can see that it is a 3 note pattern repeated. The 1st note is performed by tapping on the fretboard with your picking hand and pulling off onto the 2nd fret which is fingered with the fret hand (we suggest your 1st finger). The last note in the pattern is performed by hammering on the 5th fret with your 3rd or 1st finger of your fret hand.
It’s fairly easy to get a simple pattern like this really fast rather quickly-even for a beginner. Practice it until it sounds smooth and then try pumping up the speed.
Here’s a variation:
The lick below is similar to the one Eddie Van Halen performed in “Hot For Teacher”. It involves all six strings. Give it a try!