How to Strum with a Percussive "Slap"

Lesson #490 • May 15, 2023

Hey there, friends! Quick lesson where I walk you through learning the percussive slap-strum technique. This lets you make a percussive thwack! as part of your down-strum motion, by means of muting the strings with your strumming hand. This technique is quite tricky to get the hang of at first, but I have a three-step process I’ll walk you through in this video. I suggest working on each of these steps on their own, as part of your practice routine - and before long you’ll be ready to play this full technique.

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 1:05 Silencing the Strings Cleanly
  • 3:10 Proper Pick Motion
  • 4:39 Making the Slap Sound
  • 6:27 Example Strum Patterns

Instructional PDF 2 pages

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It includes all of my notes for this lesson, allowing you to follow along at your own pace. You're free to download, print, and share the PDF across your devices.

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Strumming Examples

Here’s the strumming patterns I show in my video lesson and print-friendly PDF, along with audio examples. In each pattern below, I strum the E major chord at 80bpm (with the exception of patterns 4-5, which are noted below).

Audio clips of each strumming pattern below are available to members of Song Notes Premium. Already a member? Log in »

Pattern #1

Audio of this strum (download):

Pattern #2

Audio of this strum (download):

Pattern #3

Audio of this strum (download):

Pattern #4

Played at 100bpm.

Audio of this strum (download):

Pattern #5

Played at 100bpm. In this example I strum one measure each of E major (x7999x) and A major (577655), repeating over and over.

Audio of this strum (download):

My Older Video on This Topic

Back in lesson #197 I originally tackled this same topic - though I didn’t show the helpful point-of-view camera angle. I also used a slightly different step-by-step how-to process that I wanted to teach differently this time around. But if you’re curious to see my older video, check it out below!

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