Add a Percussive Backbeat to Fingerstyle Arrangements

by Sean McGowan

Example 19 shows a walking bass line played with the thumb, along with a snare drum–like sound on beats two and four. To play this, drop your picking hand onto the higher strings (not the ones with the bass notes) where notated. The tricky part here is playing the bass notes with the picking-hand thumb on beats two and four—at the same time as the percussive clicks. Keep your thumb steady on the bass notes, and on beats two and four, allow the tips of your fingers to fall down onto the strings.

Percussion examples 19,20
Click to enlarge.

You can do this with chords as well—Example 20 includes chord voicings and percussive clicks. In the first measure the chords appear on the ands of beats one and three; pluck these and immediately follow them with the same percussive drop on beats two and four. You’ll never miss your drummer on a gig again!

Excerpted from Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Essentials

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