Percussive Acoustic Guitar Rhythms

This lesson focuses on developing a percussive and rhythmic sound while strumming on an acoustic guitar.

This technique is used frequently by players as diverse as Neil Young and Willie Nelson to more modern players like Dave Matthews and Damien Rice.

At first you may feel a little bit awkward having your hand come down and make contact with the face of the guitar while you strum but it will become second nature to you very quickly.

Try to listen for this technique being used in a lot of the acoustic music that you listen to.

No TAB for this lesson because I am just holding an E Major chord the whole time and concentrating on the rhythm. But after you get the technique down, start applying it to actual chord changes and various right hand rhythms patterns that you like. Just remember to always make the downstroke a percussive hit.

Don't punch a hole into your guitar!!

If these free lessons help you, please donate to keep new ones coming daily. Thanks!! 🙂

Donate to GuitarLessons365
Other Amount:

Percussive Acoustic Guitar Rhythms


  1. CoolBreeze on April 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Carl, do you think it’s possible to use a jazz pick, regardless of thickness, to learn to strum, as well as play lead?

    • Carl Brown on April 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      That is what I use so I would say yes.

      I currently use a Jim Dunlop Ultex Jazz III. 🙂

  2. remi st pierre on February 28, 2016 at 5:58 am

    not a beginner but I am happy I went through the beginner course anyways to fix any bad habits or learn even the little things I might need as I go.Thanks Carl.Love your teaching.

  3. remi st pierre on February 28, 2016 at 6:01 am

    just one question?the thumb is a little sore.will I work through it or do I take a few days off?been playing 3 hours a day for 2 months straight.

    • Carl Brown on February 28, 2016 at 11:52 am

      Hey Remi, which thumb? 🙂

      In any case, there is a difference between being sore from a good practice, and being injured. Obviously I can’t tell which is the case from here. If it feels like chronic pain then I suggest stopping.

      It if just seems like normal soreness from muscle exertion it could be fine. But I am not a doctor so I can’t give you any medical advice. 🙂


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.