WE TRY OUT PERCUSSIVE GUITAR (AND YOU SHOULD TOO!)

Guitar Lessons

In this week's challenge we're working on introducing some percussion by tapping the acoustic guitar in various places to approximate the kick and snare in a drum kit. Cam has been working on the techniques and teaches them to Ollie in real time! We're still in DADGAD tuning as that allows you to strum the open strings and have a pleasant chord ring out - very useful when you're working on right hand technique!

Building It Up

Since Cam's teaching this as a lesson it makes sense to break this concept up into manageable chunks. So we're looking at the following stages:

  • Kick and Snare Sound
  • Percussion Plus Strumming
  • Playing a Progression

The idea is to learn and practice the new techniques then gradually incorporate them into our playing to create something new! This is going to take a lot of practice, and if you find that anything hurts take breaks and check your technique!

Kick and Snare

We are trying to replicate two core drum kit sounds on the guitar. They don't really sound much like the actual drums, but we're going to use them in the same place in a beat. So, they're going to be alternating, starting on the 'kick' sound to get a driving rhythm.

Kick

We're going to start with the more difficult of the two sounds - the kickdrum sound. On a drumkit this is the biggest drum and is usually played with a pedal. We're going for a deep sound here. For this sound we are hitting the wrist/forearm of our right hand onto the body of the guitar just above the sound hole - while trying to keep our fingers over the strings. Here's an image to give you an idea of what to aim for:

Aim for a solid connection, there's no need to hit too hard, and most of the movement comes from a bending then quick straightening of the wrist - no from the elbow or shoulder. This is a hard techniqe to get sounding good consistently, so be patient and take breaks!

Snare

Now we're going to introduce the snare sound. This is a much higher frequency sound that should cut through nicely. For this sound we're going to strum through the strings and allow the tip of our finger to hit the edge of the soundhole just below the high E string. It feels a bit like flicking the guitar, but should be one fluid motion, that's part of the strum. Here are a couple of images to show you the idea:

You may find the snare sound much easier than the kick. If you feel like your snare is much louder than your kick try to hit a bit more softly so you have a balance between the two.

Creating a Beat

So, once you're starting to feel comfortable with the kick and snare sound you can try putting them together along with the open strings to create a beat. In the video Cam keeps it simple for Ollie and goes for the Kick on the one, followed by an upstroke, then the snare on the two also followed by an upstroke. Here's a strumming pattern to try:

Putting It All Together

The final step (in this lesson anyway!) is to put our right hand rhythm together with some chords. Only move on to this once you feel your right hand is fairly automatic. Introducing left hand movement too soon will throw you off! Here's the tab of the progression Cam used in the lesson. Remember, we're in DADGAD tuning here to give us some forgiving open string chords!

Have a go at creating your own chord sequence and if you'd like to go into fingerstyle in more depth check out our free fingerstyle course here!

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