Percussive fingerstyle guitar has captured the imagination of acoustic guitarists around the world. From classic acoustic players like Michael Hedges to modern groundbreakers like Mike Dawes, percussive technique has opened up new possibilities for the acoustic guitar.
It’s difficult to learn this style through tab or sheet music. So much of the technique relies on the nuance of the player and the physical approach they take. This means the way to learn is to simply watch, copy their movements, and practice …and practice …and practice…
Several iconic players, and a few up and comers, have taken the time to record lessons specifically covering their percussive fingerstyle guitar style. These video lessons allow you to watch and copy, and of course provide helpful commentary and explanation from the players.
Here are six percussive fingerstyle guitar lessons that will reshape your playing:
1. Mike Dawes Master Course
Mike Dawes, a native of England, is known as one of the world’s finest and most creative modern fingerstyle guitar players.
He’s racked up major views on Youtube, toured internationally, and collabrorated with Grammy winners – the guy’s got serious skills. And he’s funny. His ‘live’ shows are known for his commentary and audience interaction, in addition to the amazing playing.
Dawes’ video ‘master course’ breaks down various elements of his style. 40 seperate lessons cover topics like Travis Picking, DADGAD, and most importantly here: percussive techniques.
The course is available via the Jamplay platform.
2. Adventures in Fingerstyle with Maneli Jamal
Maneli Jamal, a resident of Canada (though he grew up in several other countries), is an amazing acoustic guitarist, composer, and performer. He has won numerous awards and competitions, tours internationally, and has even been featured on the cover of the “Toronto” magazine in his hometown.
Jamal’s style incorporates numerous percussive techniques, including two-handed tapping, slap harmonics, chord percussion, and percussive use of the guitar body.
Jamal’s video lesson course includes 36 lessons covering all of these percussive topics.
The video course is available on the Jamplay platform.
3. Percussive Fingerstyle Guitar with Tobias Rausher
Tobias Rauscher is a melodic percussive fingerstyle guitarist who combines different influences in his songs. His musical characteristic is a strong focus on melody, enhanced by various techniques and custom tunings.
Rauscher’s course is built to walk you through the components of percussive guitar technique, all the way to playing full songs. The curriculum is comprised of 76 quick video lessons, with supporting PDFs and material to help you along the way.
The course is available on the Udemy platform.
4. Daniel Champagne’s Essentials: Percussive Fingerstyle
Daniel Champagne is an Australian-born guitarist, currently residing in Nashville. Classically trained, Champagne is most widely-known now for his guitar-breaking, crowd-awing fingerstyle perfomances.
Champagne’s style makes heavy use of percussive methods and he has created a course that covers a number of his specific techniques.
The course is organized into a series of 10 percussive fingerstyle etudes (covered over 32 videos). Each etude is focused on a specific technique and application of that technique.
The course is hosted on the Truefire platform.
5. Integrated Percussive Technique with Preston Reed
Preston Reed is a world renowned acoustic guitar player and composer. He started out learning classical style, but over time developed a unique fingerstyle approach that incorporates all aspects of the guitar. In fact, he single handedly created his own style of guitar which he calls the “integrated percussive technique.”
Reed has a video course, “Integrated Percussive Technique with Preston Reed”, which goes into depth to teach his style. Over 17 videos, his course covers percussive approaches to left and right hand, slap harmonics, over the neck techniques, and more.
The video course is hosted on the Jamplay platform
6. Acoustic Artistry With Calum Graham
Calum Graham is a Canadian guitar prodigy. He’s won numerous awards, played the Olympics (!), racked up major Youtube views, and been voted one of the Top 30 Under 30 in Acoustic Guitar Magazine.
His percussive fingerstyle approach is intricate and precise. His compositions make full use of many types of percussive techniques – internal rythyms, right handed slapping, tapping, and harmonics.
His course, “Acoustic Artistry with Calum Graham”, covers these topics over a series of 29 videos, all incorporating examples from his award-winning compositions.
This course is hosted on the Jamplay platform
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If you choose to do that, thanks for supporting the site, and happy playing!