How To Do The Thumb Slap Guitar Technique

How To Create Groove In Your Playing With The Thumb Slap Guitar Technique

by Simon Candy


Thumb Slap Guitar Technique PicIn this video lesson, I am going to show you how to add the thumb slap guitar technique to your playing.

The thumb slap provides a percussive element to your guitar playing that sees your thumb slap the strings of the guitar on beats 2 and 4. This emulates the sound of a hight hat or snare drum, bringing an undeniable groove to the chords and progressions you play on guitar. John Mayer is one such guitarist who likes to use this technique a lot in his playing.

In this lesson, I will first show you how to work on the thumb slapping guitar technique in isolation so you can get this down first. You will then learn how to integrate the thumb slap into a chord progression with picking and strumming chords on beats 1 and 3, and slapping your thumb of your picking hand down onto the strings of your guitar on beats 2 and 4. The result is a very cool groove that has a very percussive sound to it as you go about strumming and picking chords on your guitar.

Check out the video below to learn how to play guitar with the thumb slap:



Thumb Slap Guitar Exercises And Progressions

1. Thumb Slap Technique 

Isolate the thumb slap technique to focus on the things I lay out for you in the video regarding your picking hand:


Thumb Slap Guitar Technique


2. Thumb Slap C Chord

Next, integrate the C chord with the thumb slap guitar technique: 


Thumb Slap Guitar Technique C Chord  

3. Thumb Slap Pattern 1

Now you can break up the chord to create a thumb slap pattern: 


Thumb Slap C Chord Pattern 1


4. Thumb Slap Pattern 2

We can vary the thumb slap pattern by plucking some single notes:


Thumb Slap C Chord Pattern 2 

5. Thumb Slap Guitar Progression 1

Here is a progression integrating the thumb slap technique:


Thumb Slap Chord Progression 1


6. Thumb Slap Guitar Progression 2

Here is another progression this time with a varied pattern:


Thumb Slap Chord Progression 2


Learn how to play your acoustic guitar percussively