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Percussive Guitar Exercises

Frank Crespo
Frank Crespo

Frank Crespo

Hi! My name is Frank Crespo. I’m an acoustic guitar player and I want to teach you some percussive guitar exercises.

I’m sure you already know people who play in this style. If not, you can look for guitar players like Michael Hedges, Mike Dawes, Preston Reed, Andy Mckee, Antoine Dufour, etc.

Most guitar players who play in this style use different tunings like DADGAD or other, rarer tunings, but to start with something that every guitar player knows, we’ll use standard tuning: EADGBE.

Here’s a video that shows all four exercises:

Exercise 1

Start tapping your feet and try to feel the time in your feet. Hit your guitar with your wrist, then your fingers, wrist, fingers, wrist, like you can see in the video. Use the note pattern of eighth, eighth, quarter, eighth, dotted quarter. Do it until you feel it works.

‘Hit your guitar with your wrist, then your fingers, wrist, fingers, wrist … [d]o it until you feel it works.’

Exercise 2

Editor’s note: The notes in this exercise have been corrected. Thanks to our readers who caught our mistake!

OK, exercise 1 is working? Great! Now we’re going to add two notes to it.

D and E are the new notes. Use your left hand to tap these notes on the fifth string doing sixteenths, and do it again and again until you feel you’re doing it right and it becomes easy.

It’s important that you don’t move on to exercise 3 if you feel weak with exercise 2. You can find the exercise played slow and fast in the video.

Exercise 3

Now we’ll add one step more to exercise 2. We’re going to do sixteenths again with the left hand, and add two new notes, G and A, this time on the sixth string.

‘… feel comfortable with each exercise before you go on to the next one.’

Remember to always keep your feet in time. This is extremely important. Also, try to feel comfortable with this one before you go to the next exercise.

The exercise is once again played slow and fast in the video.

Exercise 4

OK, we’re at the end if this trip. Now we’ll add the notes C and D to exercise 3, doing sixteenths again on different strings, the fifth string and second string. In addition to all of this, you must hit the sixth string with your right thumb at the end of the exercise.

Remember to keep in time. The video shows the exercise slow and fast.

Well, we’ve already finished, but to practice these exercises, remember this: tap your feet, keep your feet in time, feel comfortable with each exercise before you go on to the next one, and always keep it groovy!


Frank Crespo

You can learn more about me at:


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