How To Play Percussive Guitar

Percussive Guitar Techniques Anybody Can Play

by Simon Candy


Percussive Guitar Techniques Tutorial PicIn this video lesson, I show you how to play your guitar percussively.

Percussive guitar is a very popular way to play an acoustic guitar.

As difficult as it can look to do, I will show you how easy it is to be up and running with this style of playing. There is no need for years of practice before you are up and playing with cool sounding percussive techniques. 

The following tutorial will be broken into 3 steps.

Step 1: Percussive Guitar Techniques

I begin by running you through a number of percussive techniques that can be executed across the body of the guitar with both your picking and fretting hands, emulating various parts of a drum kit including:

- Kick/Bass Drum
- Snare/Rimshot
- Toms
- High Hat

Step 2: Percussive Guitar Beats And Grooves

Next, we will combine these approaches to create cool beats and grooves across the body of your guitar.

Step 3: Percussive Guitar Vamps And Progressions

Finally, I show you how to take these beats and grooves and integrate them into chord vamps and progressions so you will have both percussive and melodic elements all going on at the same time on one guitar

What I present to you in this video tutorial are percussive guitar techniques anybody can do with just a little practice.

I am not interested in showing you things that would take years to get down.

What I do show you are the basics to get up and going in the wonderful world of percussive guitar playing.

Check out the video below to get started:



Percussive Guitar Techniques

• Muted Slap

Use the side of your picking hand thumb to slap the strings of your guitar for a cool percussive sound:

Percussive Guitar Technique Muted Slap• Bass Drum

Use the heel of the palm of your pickig hand to hit low down on the soundboard of the guitar for a bass drum sound:

Percussive Guitar Technique Kick Drum

• Toms

Use the side of your picking hand thumb to slap the soundboard of your guitar for a tom sound:

Percussive Guitar Technique Toms  

• Snare/Rimshot

Use the 3rd and 4th fingers of your picking hand to wrap around the side of the guitar for a snare/rimshot sound:

Percussive Guitar Technique Snare

• Fret Hand Hit

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

Percussive Guitar Technique Fret Hand


Percussive Guitar Beats And 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:

Percussive Guitar Groove 1

• Percussive Groove 2

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

Percussive Guitar Groove 2

• 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 plus a snare hit:

Percussive Guitar Groove 3

• 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:

Percussive Guitar Groove 4

• Percussive Groove 5

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

Percussive Guitar Groove 5 

Percussive Guitar Progressions/Vamps

• Percussive Progression 1

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


Percussive Guitar Progression 1 

• Percussive Progression 2

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

Percussive Guitar Progression 2


Learn how to play your acoustic guitar percussively