5 Different Levels of Tapping Your Foot

Tapping your foot means you have an internal metronome, keeping you right if other aspects of your playing go wrong. The full lesson is here!

I’m at level 4. I’m tapping with my toes. Definitely change it now.
When there is a song where I have pick single notes I stope tapping.


Roland @Rolandson
I am a bit like you, I am fine when I am strumming with muted strings or random chords, but as soon as I go into a song and sing as well I find it difficult to keep going especially if it is fast tempo. I used to tap my toes but have started to use my heel, which also works better for me when I am standing up, another skill I am working on.
Guess it is back to more practice until it happens without thinking about as Justin says.
Michael :foot:

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Tapping the foot is mostly just a practice thing - but stay aware and aim to get it right! :slight_smile: good luck!


I think I’m at level 4. I tap my right foot because I hold the acoustic guitar the same way I hold my classical one, sitting on the left leg. I tried to hold it the usual way for a short period, but it was uncomfortable for me to have the neck that low and I ended lifting the all guitar up and create tension in my shoulder. Since it makes sense I should tap with my left foot I’ve started training the toes inside the shoe, a little tiny movement that actually requires effort. I do it as an exercise only a few minutes a day, being my toes a bit stiff, I’m setting it as a long term goal. In the meanwhile I mostly tap my right foot while playing, and while practicing the classical guitar I just nod or wave my head.

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I’d like to kid myself I’m at level 5 tapping, but realistically I’m more likely at level 2. If I’m honest, until taking this course I’ve never really been conscious of tapping my foot at all.


I am terrible tapper, but need to work on this. My issue is that i hold the guitar in a classical position such that it rests on both legs. I am trying toes (hard) and nodding (also hard). I am open to suggestions…

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Just did a few quick experiments…

When I play classical position with strap, I can tap with either foot, heel or toe. But toe tapping seems easier.

But I think you play with a lift, not a strap, correct?

I don’t have a lift, but playing without a strap, found if I toe tapped with my right foot it didn’t really disrupt my playing much.

Left foot toe tapping made the neck move around a lot. Ditto for heel tapping with both feet - not good.

I always found nodding was easier for me before I learned to tap my foot reliably. It seemed to flow better…I could get into a relaxed groove more easily. The downside is there is no audible feedback… it’s more of a feel thing.

For me, getting the beat into my strumming hand is still the most important thing. Either 1/4 note strums or 1/8 note strums, depending on the strumming pattern.

I find tapping my foot tends to emerge spontaneously as I get more comfortable with the song.

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Thanks! Yes I use a lift and tapping doesn’t really work.

I need to learn to twitch my ears or something, but I think head nodding may be the best. I may try a side to side sway, but it seems less natural.

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What are you doing if you are standing up?

Because sitting the most of the day at work (and having issues with my back) I like practicing standing up, leaning a bit at my desk. But foot tapping seems a bit awkward then.

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I play standing up pretty much all of the time. I find that it is easier (for me) to be tapping along standing than when sitting. With the guitar hanging off your neck/shoulders, your entire lower body is free to move about, tap, stomp or whatever without interfering with the guitar.
It did take a little while to get used to the whole combination of standing, strumming, fingering cords and tapping my foot when I first started. Most of that was just getting used to the new position, it was much harder to “cheat” looks at the fretboard, my posture ad to be better, and a few other small adjustments had to be made. Once all of that was comfortable, the foot tapping was just so easy.
The key, like everything else in this journey, is really simple … Practice, practice and practice

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Thank you Glen, so it is again just practice, I feared this is the answer :wink:.
I assume you are using your left foot (right handed playing)? And are you tap toes or heel?

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I think I’m already at level 5. I often say I can’t hear music unless I’m moving something with the beat.


Mike @ymcamike
First of all welcome to the the community. :grinning:
Some songs and/or patterns I still find it difficult to reach level 5, so well done. :+1:

Is foot tapping necessary if you can play along with the beat on backing tracks? I’ve be playing along with the Justin App & Chordify for about a year. I’m pretty consistent with keeping my hand moving with the beat. I may foot tap when learning a strumming pattern for a song but not so much when playing. What about playing with someone else? I’m not there yet but was curious about keeping time when playing with someone else.


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Get mobile from your hips, sway, dance etc. You can still tap a foot too and you are free to tap either as you don’t have a guitar resting on one of your legs.

Philip, it is more that foot tapping, or moving some part of your body, will (hopefully) almost become unavoidable and subconscious as you become so involved in the rhythm.

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Foot tapping, body swaying. Whatever works for you!

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Thanks Richard, Yes, I have identified this as a goal, getting more relaxed while playing. Most of the time I still needs a lot of concentration on my fretting and strumming and so I am not relaxed enough to sway or dance. But on some songs it starts working a bit :slight_smile:

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My tapping skill is good. I always tap on the beat, and I don’t have to think about it.
But when I strum, I always tap my foot on every down strum and raise my foot on every up strum.

So, on the 8th note strumming. I tap on 1, 2, 3, 4 and raise on the +.
But when it comes to 16th note strumming. I tap on the 1,+,2,+,3,+,4+. and raise the foot on the e & a. So basically, I’m just doubling the foot tapping.

In short, I always tap the foot on every down strum and raise it on every up strum regardless it’s 8th or 16th note strumming.

To my knowledge, in the 16th note strumming I should tap only on the 1,2,3,4. and raise on the +. is that true? If so, what is the solution for that?