Harvey Mandel

Did Harvey Mandel create two-handed tapping, or was it Van Halen?

According to George Lynch, guitarist for Dokken and later Lynch Mob (not to mention a tapping expert) he witnessed Mandel employing a tapping technique at a Canned Heat show at the Starwood, a popular West Hollywood club, in the Seventies. Lynch wasn’t alone that night. He was accompanied by a friend and fellow guitarist who would go on to redefine tapping and bring the technique to the mainstream. His name was Edward Van Halen.

The reference book “Legends of Rock Guitar: The Essential Reference of Rock’s Greatest Guitarists” credited Mandel for his “relentless fuzztone, feedback-edged solos, and unusual syncopated phrasing.”

How did Harvey do it? He used his right-hand index or middle finger to tap strongly on the top note, then flick to the side (making the note ring louder). From there, his left-hand fingers would pull-off and hammer on the corresponding notes further down the neck. This created a cascade of notes—a trill, if you will—that suddenly had every rock guitarist on the planet struggling to learn this two-handed technique. And rock leads have never been the same.

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