The Backbeat Hit

Ready to add some groove to your guitar? Learn how to add percussive hits to your strumming patterns!

View the full lesson at The Backbeat Hit | JustinGuitar

For some reason I find this really difficult but with your help I’m improving.

Oh and I’m having trouble holding onto the pick when I do this, any tips for that?

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Hi Reese.

I think like all things guitar, it is just a matter of practice, practice, practice.

Experiment with how hard you hit the strings and make the hit.

Recently I had a wobble on this and I found it helped me to concentrate on continuing my down strum well past the strings, I think I may have been checking my strum a bit early and getting out of rhythm with the up-strum.

As for the pick, I use a Duragrip pick which has some texture on it, which I find helps me to main control of the pick.

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no matter what i do i cannot seem to get the percussive hit with the pick, long ago throughout the first two chords i found that if you slap the guitar from an almost 90 degree angle it made that sound. i did certain songs ( Shape of you ( capo 4 DDU Am, Dm, F, G) and Thinking out loud( D, D, G picked, A) and found that i can do the hit but not when i am attempting to do it out of song can anyone help

I am having issues with my index finger, where the 1st knuckle (the one closest to the nail) is getting caught with the strings and its roughing away at the skin. Any tips to avoid this?

Hi there try to change the qay how you hold a pick and try curling your first finger a bit more. Playing around with the pick and how you hold it should help! :slight_smile:

Hm I learned that doing this with a very thin pick (like 0.5 mm) is not very good for the pick :P. Love it great for open chords since I was struggling to get a mute on them due to the open ringing strings.

This one sounds great, it’s something I’d been trying to do and didn’t really know how.

Question though. I seem inclined to tap my pinky on the guitar when I do the percussive hit. Actually sounds cool but is that considered “OK” or would that be a different technique?

Haha, that’s the drummer inside breaking out :laughing:
The mantra is if it sounds good, it is good.
I’d say carry on- when you are happy with your consistency you can always fine-tune your technique and discipline the pinky :wink:


I have the same issue! When I’m normally strumming with a more closed hand if the pick gets a bit out of place I can maneuver it back again whilst keeping the rhythm going. But finding that much harder with this technique as the hand has to be a bit more open and the angle of the first finger is a bit different. Going to keep practicing but any tips welcome. I’ve tried different picks.

@brianlarsen Thanks, good to know that if it sounds good, it is good!

Curious if anyone has recommendations for easy-ish songs that use this strumming pattern aside from the Creedence Clearwater Revival example? Ideally ones Justin has lessons for.

Any tips for percussive hits off the beat on an upstroke? I’ve run into it. Can’t for the life of me work out how to do it.

There’s a song I’m working on that does that, and it’s with left hand muting. Not sure if it’s the same as what you’re looking for.

Thank you, I’ll try that. (Actually I have tried. Tricky to do while maintaining the chord grip, and if you drop the grip it’s tricky to retrieve it again in time. But I’ll try again. Thanks.)

hi i am new here .
i am having trouble with this the high e string keps ringing , any ideas?

If you’re into learning Christmas tunes you might try Feliz Navidad. Justin doesn’t have a lesson for it but I found a good video on it last November. You might look at Jack Johnson tunes or stuff with what they call “the island strum” in Hawaii too. Cheers.

Justin talks about the sound of the strings hitting the frets adds to the percussive hit. If this isn’t happening, is that a sign of the action on my guitar being too high?

Or you smacking it not strong enough, or wrong thumb placement - without seeing how you do it it’s hard to tell so perhaps a quick video to show us?

Thanks for the reply I will post a video asap

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