More Confirmation: Gibbons First Famous Guy To ‘Tap’

July 9, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

gibbons_billy_1975_beerIf you’re a regular, or semi-regular, reader of, you will have seen the post (here) that postulates that Edward Van Halen may have learned “tapping” (right-handed hammer-ons) from Brian May, who said he learned it from someone who saw Billy Gibbons do it.

However, Eddie has said he got it from watching Jimmy Page do pull-offs, and may have told an old friend a long time ago that he got it from watching Harvey Mandel do it. So who knows for sure.

Regardless, what is solid is that Brian did tap before Ed burst on the scene, and Ed knew about it; that Brian got it from someone who saw Billy do it; and now the well-known tapping bassist Billy Sheehan said that he learned tapping not from legions of ’80s guitarists but: “Billy Gibbons is the guy I got hammer-ons from…back in 1974….”

That’s what he says in the following DiMarzio video – just watch up to 2:11.

Category: Billy Gibbons, Billy Sheehan, Brian May/Queen, Edward Van Halen

Comments (2)

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  1. puebloazul says:

    The first guitarist I saw use tapping or right-handed hammer-ons was Van Wilks, a blues/rock guitarist who now lives in Austin. Van and Billy Gibbons have been good friends going back at least 35 years. Both these guys used essentally the same tapping technique. You would have to ask the two of them to determine which one came up with it first.

  2. Mark says:

    some say VH got the idea from the Heartbreaker solo. I can see that, for God’s sake Jimmy was bending notes out of range above the nut, and of course doing some weird longer finger ranged pull-offs and HO’s at the time – without a Floyd. I’m not (but should be) old enough to have remebered Gibbons example of “THE FIRST RIGHT HANDED HAMMER ON” (being from Houston) but I didn’t see it myself. Not arguing it didn’t happen at all – I’m pretty sure it did and I hope (and I do beleive) it’s true. Thanks for the article.

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