I'm trying to play this song.

The part with the thumb slapping on the strings is quite difficult for me... He seems to perfectly hit just one string at a time (while beating the lower strings). There seems to be no (most time) muting with the left hand involved.

I tried to mute the strum with my right hand (with ima on the higher strings[or just a for the fifth string {I hope i'm understandable}])

However I have a couple of problems, just strumming the sixth string either results in strumming fifth and sixth or getting a not so nice sound of the string [In the Video the Tone is very Clear]. And if i'm trying to play the fifth string only and then mute the sixth with my a finger it mostly results in a very late muting. I can't get a really clean sound done.

Am I missing an essential part of the Technique, can you give any tips for me how to learn this technique properly? I just don't seem to get near the clear sound.

I hope you can this text makes sense to you.

Thank you very much for your help! :)

  • 1
    I am not sure which bit you are describing. The thumb is used to mute after the slap, and he just hits one string. That is just practice. You can learn to simply hit one string at a time.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Jun 10, 2013 at 21:29
  • Well that seems pretty difficult to me(just hitting one string in a strum)... also the hit with the thumb it's always a bit too loud if I do it.. ion going to practice more then...thank you
    – theodm
    Jun 13, 2013 at 1:08
  • @DrMayhem I'm probably making it myself a bit too difficult. But always when I try to hit just one string the sound with the thumb is too loud/uncontrolled but then again if I try to control the thumb I can't hit just one string... Are there any exercises you could reccommend. Should I maybe start with trying to just strumm one string without the thumb? Thanks for your help :)
    – theodm
    Jun 15, 2013 at 16:58
  • I'm not sure if there is any shortcut route other than just to keep trying and practicing. Consistency and control are pretty much learned over time.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Jun 17, 2013 at 11:52

1 Answer 1


A few suggestions:

  1. The motion of plucking a string is not the same as thumb slapping. When plucking a string, the most economic way of agitating it is with a motion that is perpendicular to the string, in the same plane as the guitar top. This is how you naturally strum, and is also true when fingerpicking. Like a bow and arrow, when you pull back the string, tension is loaded. Release the string and energy is released. On the guitar, this tiny bundle of tension is released as sound.

    Plucking motion like so.
    0 0 0 0 0 0 (strings)

  2. When thumb slapping, you are not agitating the string. The characteristic sound is caused by percussion. The motion is perpendicular to the string, and is perpendicular to the plane of the guitar top. Your thumb (or other fingers) should move from slightly above the strings, down into the direction of the sound hole. The click is from the string striking the fretboard, as it is moved beyond it's normal range of motion. Boxers are trained to deliver punches by aiming for the back of the head, with the face directly in the path. In the same matter, aim slightly beyond the target to get a strong motion.

    Slapping motion like so.
    v 0 0 0 0 0 (strings)

  3. Here's a video that demonstrates the technique.

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