Lesson #3: Right Hand Percussion


In a previous lesson we’ve learned how to add a backbeat to fingerpicking patterns, now we are going to add a backbeat to a chord progression. Let me show you how this works.

Before when we played percussive beats we used both hands to coordinate, but when playing chords we have to keep the fretting hand on the neck. This means that we will have to play all percussive parts with the finger picking hand, but before we add chords let’s focus on this part first:

Ex. 1

Right Hand Percussion-I

For now we’ll give our fretting hand a rest, you can just keep your fingers on the strings so that they are muted. With the palm of your fingerpicking hand, hit the bass in the area just above the sound hole, then play a hi-hat sound by simply opening your fingers and scratching the muted strings with them. Next play the snare sound by hitting the end of the neck, you will be smacking the strings down against the frets. Finally comes the hi-hat again, play this by pulling your fingers upwards and scratching the muted strings. Repeat each step to complete the bar:

Ex. 2

Right Hand Percussion-II

Next we’ll make a slight variation to the exercise. Off-beats are often played as upstrokes which is what we’ll do here as well, so instead of opening the fingers to play the hi-hat on ‘1+’, pull them upwards. Also, hit the bass with your open hand, then pull in your fingers.

Ex. 3

Right Hand Percussion-III

In order to make a more interesting beat, let’s add variety and play the bass hit on the ‘3+’ instead of the hi-hat. Let’s play it again, but a bit more slowly this time.