Lesson #6: Advanced Body Percussion


Previously we’ve only focused on playing the beat close to the strings so that we can strum the chords at the same time, but there are other options to play beats on the guitar. This is helpful when we want to let leave our fretting hand free to hold chords while the right hand plays a beat. You can also use this technique to play notes in legato which means hammer-ons and pull-offs on the guitar. Let’s take a look at both options starting with the first one:

Let’s take a look at both options starting with the first one.

Ex. 1

Advanced Body Percussion I

In this exercise, start by playing E minor and a snare hit on ‘1’, this time it’s fine to only slap the thumb into the strings without flicking your finger open. But of course you can use the other technique as well, it’s up to you!

Next, let the chord ring and move your picking hand to play the bass and the snare near the bottom of the guitar. Play the first bass hit as a sixteenth note just before the snare on ‘2’, so between ‘1+’ and ‘2’, the next bass hit comes on ‘2+’. Then play the bass again on ‘3+’, the snare on ‘4’ and the bass one last time on ‘4+’.

In the second bar play the rhythm that we played in the first half of the first bar twice but with different chords. So the first chord will be the G Major, or at least play the bass notes of this chord. Slap the G Major chord and play the bass hit just before the snare on ‘2’, then hit the snare followed by the bass again on ‘2+’. Next, slap the A Major and follow up with the same bass-snare combination.

Ex. 2

Advanced Body Percussion II

In the second part we’ll put our fretting hand to work by playing some legato. Fret the E minor chord, you can choose to do it either with your index, middle finger or ring. Then on ‘1’ slap the bass notes of the E minor like before, but this time hammer-on and off the chord with your fretting hand. Put your thumb over the neck to get a better grip with added stability. Do the first pull-off once again between ‘1+’ and ‘2’ and follow up with a hammer-on on ‘2’. Then continue with playing pull-offs and hammer-ons in turn on each eighth note.

Make sure to use both fingers as if they are glued together to give them more strength. When doing the pull-off, pull them slightly down instead of directly off to achieve a louder sound.

Play this for two bars and then do the same with an Asus2 chord. Once you’ve managed to play the legato part, it’s time to add a beat played from the same area from before.

On the first bar play the bass hit only on ‘2+’ and the snare hit on ‘3’, on the second bar play the bass hit on ‘1’, ‘2+’ and ‘4’ with snare only on ‘3’. Watch the video to hear what this sounds like. Take some time to practice this exercise and once you are ready let’s play the slow version together.