Learn Percussive Acoustic Guitar in 60 Seconds; with Chris Woods of The Chris Woods Groove Orchestra and author of Percussive Acoustic Guitar.
Adding percussive techniques into your playing is a great way to breathe new life into those tunes you’ve been strumming or picking for years. A whole new world of sounds for you to enjoy; techniques that can be used to compliment what you already do or, in fact, lead you on a path towards the explosive contemporary fingerstyle world.
However you choose to use these new magical powers, I know you’ll enjoy them…
In this blog and accompanying video I’ll be getting you started. Wanna learn more? Then check out Percussive Acoustic Guitar a comprehensive guide with step by step instructions and video content.
You can use this within any chord sequence, but to keep things simple and sounding cool I’ve taken a simple A sus2 shape and moved it up to the 5th fret, then 7th, then back to 5th. Then we start all
Try it with ‘that’ sequence you’ve been playing every time you go to the guitar shop, really, anything goes. Or, go get your self a copy of this for more ideas…
The Percussive Hits
‘Gentle and light’
There are two sounds we are making here the snare and kick drum. The first thing to say is ‘gentle is the key’, actually, that’s probably the most important thing to say too. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I’m hitting the body very lightly. Being gentle is crucial to creating a sound that is clear, loud and resonant.
It’s important to have a degree of ‘bounce’, as if bouncing a ball. So rather than hitting and staying there try to lightly make contact and bounce back.
Doing things too hard will damage you and your guitar. A good practice it to begin making the sound and then try to get as quiet and as gentle as you possibly can before the sound becomes inaudible. That’ll help you gain some control.
Ultimately; the percussive hits should receive as much attention as any technique on the guitar from strumming to picking.
‘The acoustic guitar a natural drum’
If you decide to bring these techniques into a performance space you’ll want to amplify it. Your first instinct might be to plug in your guitar and expect it to pick up the sounds of the body… However, many acoustic guitar pickups have been cleverly designed to mainly only pick up the strings, this is usually to avoid feedback. This clever design means its possible the pick up in your guitar, if you have one, might not pick up the percussion very well. Doh! But don’t despair….
There are an ever growing range of options available, all of them have some kind of microphone inside, and in fact you might be lucky and your pickup might also use an internal mic. I use a Mimesis Kudos made by Mike Vanden.
What’s best to remember here is that the sound you are making works acoustically so if you don’t fancy investing in a new pick up….put a mic in front of that guitar or, hey, why not go unplugged.
Thanks for reading
First 15 Lessons: Fingerstyle Guitar
Chris Woods is also the author of the latest release in the First 15 series, Fingerstyle Guitar. Designed for self-teaching or for use with an instructor, you’ll build a solid foundation as you work through each lesson, learning the basics of the instrument and music reading while practising the many exercises, concepts and song excerpts within. Lessons included in this fingerstyle volume include: tab reading · scales & basic theory · fingerpicking patterns · alternating bass · string bending · harmonics · and much more. Includes guitar parts from 30 songs: Ain’t No Sunshine · Blackbird · Dust in the Wind · Fire and Rain · Imagine · Stand by Me · Wonderful Tonight · and more.