Lesson #4: Chord Percussion


Once you’ve got the groove down with your right hand, let’s add the chords. The exercises in this lesson teaches you how to simulate two instruments at the same time. Every time you play a chord progression you will play a beat along with it, let’s get started!

Ex. 1a


Start with the same beat from the previous exercises but instead of muting the strings with our left hand, fret A minor and E Major - we’ll keep it simple for now. On ‘1’, hit the bass, then open your fingers and play the A minor chord. Next hit the snare on ‘2’ and pull your fingers in to play the A minor again, play the E major the same way.

Ex. 1b


Now we’ll play the same exercise with the only difference being that we’ll play upstrokes on all the off-beats, watch the video for a demonstration.

Ex. 1c


Next let’s play the third beat along with the A minor and E Major, so we’ll play bass on ‘1’, ‘3’ and ‘3+’.

2. Bass + Chord At The Same Time

Until now we’ve played chords only on the off beats, but what do we do if we want to play them on ‘1’ for example? This can be done by playing the bass hit and a chord downstroke at the same time.

Start with your fingers folded in and at the same time hit the bass, then flick your fingers open to play the chord. I know this feels a bit strange at first, but keep practicing and you’ll get used to it.

Start with your fingers being folded in, then at the same time you hit the bass, flick your fingers open to play the chord. This feels a bit strange at the beginning I know. Just practice the movement for a bit.

Ex. 2a


Once you can comfortably play it, add the bass along with a downstroke followed by an upstroke by simple folding your fingers back. Let’s play it together!

Okay together now.

Ex. 2b


Now we are going to use this technique on ‘1’ of each bar while playing beat number three from before.

3. Chord + Snare At The Same Time

Finally, we can combine snare hits and chords by changing our technique - instead of hitting the strings against the fretboard, switch to the thumb slapping technique we learned from the fingerpicking exercises.

Slap the low strings with the side of our thumb, this will create a strong snare like sound and accentuates the bass notes of the chords. At the same time, flick the index or middle finger to strum the chord - really concentrate on getting these two separate movements correct.

Ex. 3a


To practice this, play the snare chord combination followed by an upstroke. Play A Major for one bar and E Major for the next.

Ex. 3b


Now let’s play the third beat variation we played before, but now we’ll add this technique on ‘2’. On ‘1’ play the bass along with a chord and on ‘2’ play the snare along with a chord. When you feel up to it, let’s play together!