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How To Play Percussive Guitar In 3 Simple Steps

Percussive guitar is a popular way to play an acoustic, and in this video I show you how to get started with this style of playing.  

There are percussive techniques you see people play that look near on impossible to do, and at best would take years to get down. In this video, I present to you techniques for percussive guitar you can apply to your playing almost immediately.

These include various ways you can produce the sounds of a drum kit on the body of your acoustic guitar including:

- Bass/Kick Drum

- Snare-Rimshot

- Toms

- High Hat

I also show you how to put these sounds together to create cool sounding beats and grooves that you will then integrate into simple chord vamps producing incredible sounding music!

What I show you here is not rocket science.

These are percussive guitar techniques anybody can play.

Watch the video below to get started playing your guitar percussively:

Percussive Guitar Techniques

• Muted Slap

Use the side of your picking hand thumb to slap the strings of your guitar to get a sound similar to that of a high hat:

PercussiveGuitarTechniqueMutedSlap.png

• Bass Drum

For a bass drum sound, hit low down on the soundboard of the guitar with the heel of the palm of your picking hand:

PercussiveGuitarTechniqueBassKickDrum.png

• Toms

For a tom sound, use the side of your picking hand thumb to slap the soundboard of your guitar:    

PercussiveGuitarTechniqueToms.png

• Snare/Rimshot

For a snare/rimshot sound, use the 3rd and 4th fingers of your picking hand to wrap around the side of the guitar  

PercussiveGuitarTechniqueSnareRimshot.png

• Fret Hand Hit

Use your fretting hand to slap the side of the guitar just above the neck:

PercussiveGuitarTechniqueFretHandSlap.png

Percussive Guitar Grooves

• Percussive Groove 1

This first groove combines the bass drum hit on beats 1 and 3 of the bar with the snare hit on beats 2 and 4:

PercussiveGuitarGroove1.png

• Percussive Groove 2

This is the same groove as above with an added high hat. This is sounded by your fretting hand hitting the strings of your guitar in an eighth note rhythm:

PercussiveGuitarGroove2.png

• Percussive Groove 3

This groove has the heel of your hand hitting the guitar for a bass drum sound, followed by your thumb slapping the soundboard for the toms. Your 3rd and 4th fingers then wrap around the side of the guitar for a snare sound:

PercussiveGuitarGroove3.png

• Percussive Groove 4

This groove is the same as the previous one with the addition of an added tom hit on the + of the 2nd and 4th beats:

PercussiveGuitarGroove4.png

• Percussive Groove 5

The final groove replaces the tom hit on the + of the 2nd and 4th beats of the previous groove with a fret hand hit:

PercussiveGuitarGroove5.png

Percussive Guitar Progressions/Vamps

• Percussive Progression 1

Here is a vamp combining chords and a percussive groove similar to those above:

PercussiveGuitarProgression10.png

• Percussive Progression 2

This percussive vamp has a syncopated triplet rhythm feel to it:

PercussiveGuitarProgression20.png

Learn how to master the art of percussive guitar playing

About the author: Specialising in the styles of rock, blues, jazz, and fingerpicking guitar, Simon Candy is from Melbourne, Australia. With over 25 years of teaching expertise, Simon provide lessons for acoustic guitar players online