Get INCREDIBLE guitar secrets you won’t find anywhere else!
Subscribe to our mailing list!

* indicates required
Close
 
The TRUTH about Learning Guitar
 
Improve Your Skills > Strumming & Singing > The Slap Strum
The Slap Strum



hear it...........

What Is The Slap Strum?

Here is a little technique that pays big dividends in making your strumming more rhythmic, compelling, and interesting. It probably goes by a lot of names, but I have always called it the "slap strum". It is very effective when used with the right kind of songs, and should be part of the arsenal of every acoustic strummer.

Here is how is works. On certain beats, instead of a full strum of the strings, we mute all the strings with our strumming hand, and simply run the pick across the dead strings, creating a "blip" kind of sound. This sound creates a very pleasing rhythmic contrast to the rest of the strums, which carry a full tone. The key to its effectiveness is that it is creating an accent on the beat it falls on.

So, this means that it is not used on just any beats (usually, that is, I am sure there are examples of it being used in unusual ways). It is almost always used to simulate the effect of the snare drum in a basic rock groove. The snare drum is used to create what is called the "backbeat", a rhythmic pulse falling on beats 2 & 4 of a 4/4 measure. This sets up a basic syncopation (accent of a weak beat), and the resulting tension of accenting that weak 2nd and 4th beats adds a lot of life to a groove.

So, guitar players will simulate this effect right on the guitar by the use of the "slap strum", done on beat 2 & 4 (which are the weak beats in a 4/4 measure), or sometimes just on beat 2. I am going to give you a few simple steps to follow to get this sound. Follow them, and soon you'll be "slapping" your guitar with the best of them!


Here are the steps for getting into the right position, and doing the slap strum....

 

Using It

This technique sounds great on a folk-rock ballad like "Best Of My Love" by the Eagles. I would suggest only slapping on the 2nd beat, as this is a laid back kind of song, and slapping on both 2 and 4 would be a bit too much. The rhythm for the strum is written out below. You can copy it by ear, or follow the written rhythm. The arrows are the direction of the strum, the circled arrow is the "slap".

 

 



article 1
Adding Vocals While Playing Guitar
After learning our first chords, we should begin to add the vocal over the strum. This means, essentially, learning to play two instruments at once! Here are some important tips on doing that.
> Read More...
article 2
Proper Form on the G7 Chord
This supposedly easy guitar chord can be quite a challenge to do easily. It requires the first finger to be flexed back all the way to the 1st string, while the 3rd finger is stretched out to the 6th.
> Read More...
article 3
Finger Overlap: Necessary for Many Chords
"Finger Overlap" on guitar means squeezing 2 or more fingertips together on the left hand so that the tips overlap each other. This enables us to get our fingers into some small spaces!
> Read More...
article 4
The Best Left Hand Position For Chords
There is a lot of confusion about how the left hand should approach various guitar playing situations. Thumb under, or over? Hand against the neck or out and away? It depends on the playing context.
> Read More...
you might also like
How To Practice Chord Changes
Read More...
Chord Confusion
Read More...
The Alone Place
Read More...
Do I Need Guitar Lessons?
Read More...
 
IN THIS SECTION
Adding Vocals While Playing Guitar
Proper Form on the G7 Chord
Finger Overlap: Necessary for Many Chords
The Best Left Hand Position For Chords
NEWSLETTER SIGNUP
RECEIVE “THE POWER OF TEN”
We Never Email More then Once a Week.
Upon signup receive 10 ARTICLES THAT WILL TRANSFORM YOUR GUITAR PLAYING.
FEATURED CONTENT

156 - Why Is The Principles The Best Way to Learn Guitar?

All other guitar methods have serious flaws that leave you struggling on guitar. The Principles is different....

16 - Learn To Play a Guitar by Learning HOW to Practice!

Everything that happens when you play is the direct result of what you do when you practice. Learn to train your fingers EFFECTIVELY when you practice guitar.

18 - Your First Perfect Guitar Lesson

Many guitar players carry for a lifetime the mistakes they learned when first learning how to play the instrument... Tips to avoid this can be found here!

28 - The Basic Chords On Guitar

These are the chords you want to learn first!