Adding a Percussive Hit on the Backbeat

The percussive hit combines a mute with a strum! It’s all in the strumming hand and adds loads of fun to your guitar playing!

I’m loving this lesson. I had been trying a percussive hit already but it wasn’t clean and I was at the point of giving up. Going back to the mechanics has really helped. I’ve also found moving up the guitar a bit so that the pick is slightly in front of the sound hole has helped a lot. Once I’ve got it really solidly there I’ll try moving back to my more normal position.

Would love any suggestions on songs to try this with.

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“Have you ever seen the rain” is a good one to practice the percussive hit.


Proud Mary :slight_smile:


Hi Mandy, interesting to read your experimentation with positioning. I’m continuing to work on consistency with percussive hits at the moment.

As for songs, Lightning Crashes is a good one for starting with as you only need one hit in each riff section, on the first E chord, and it can be quite soft.

My main one at the moment to try and master a full song with the hits is Macys Day Parade by Green Day, with the added “bonus” of that being a barre chord workout too :roll_eyes:

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Thanks Notter! I’m still early days on barre chords - sometimes they are successful and sometimes… So I might try practicing this on something easier. But I will look at Macys Day Parade for some barre chord practice :slight_smile:

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Hi Mandy, not sure what music you’re into but Bruce Springsteen- Atlantic City is a good one and uses open chords.


My personal favourite is Reality by Lost Frequencies.
Only 4 chords repeated for the full song, played using ‘old faithful’

Non-capo version lets you get some barre practice along the fretboard in as well.
F (A shape barre at 9th fret), G#m (E shape at 4th fret), C#m (A shape at 4th fret)
Alternatively Capo at 4th, C, Em, Am, F


Thanks for this @mc I had not come across this song (or in fact Lost Frequencies at all). Really nice to play.

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“I’m the only one” by Melissa Etheridge. This is a good one where all the different back beat techniques can be used. Its slow enough, too.

I found this course to be a perfect diversion between beginner level 2 and 3 and has helped with getting past the plateau that I hit after completing level 2.

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Stand By Me is a good one to practice this on. It uses the same 4 basic chords over the whole song Gx2, Emx2, C, D, Gx2.

Means you can focus on technique without having to remember chords or strumming patterns.

It works for the previous two lessons as well.

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Hope it’s OK to ask a question related to this lesson on the percussive hits pattern.
Once you get to the Up strum for the "and "of beat 4, the pattern becomes completely symmetrical:
U D U H U D U H. - Up Down Up Hit over and over and over
I find myself getting lost, losing where I am in the pattern, so I’m not sure exactly when to change chords. Other patterns (like Old Faithful) are usually not so symmetrical, so you can determine when the pattern starts over again (i.e. on Beat 1). Is anyone else having this struggle? Any tips on how to overcome it? (Please remember the part about being kind to your fellow community member, i.e, me!!)
Thanks in advance.

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Hi Frank
Yes, it’s easy to get lost with such a pattern.
Justin says it’s important to keep the count going when you are practicing it. Especially important to know where beat 1 is.
Try a heavy accent on the down strum of beat 1
You could even try tapping your foot only on beat 1
If you can get that accent on beat 1, the pattern will still be symmetrical but the sound won’t be quite as symmetrical and hopefully help to know where you are.



Go back to playing some simple strumming patterns which require little thought and dedicate your concentration to speaking the count out loud. Do not stop speaking it out loud.

Start with 1/4 beats saying 1, 2, 3, 4
Move to 1/8 beats saying 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

This will take days of practice to become embedded and natural.
When you do have the inate ability to speak out loud the beat as you play then trying turning your vocal on and off. Play a few bars with counting out loud to get going. Stop counting out loud - you can do it in your head of course. Do that for one bar or two bars or more. Resume counting out loud. The test and challenge is whether you can resume on the 1 and know that it is indeed the 1.