I've seen this arrangement for "Californication" (guitar fingerstyle). I'm don't know how to thumb slap well, but I'd like to understand how the slap works here.

For example, look at the first slap in the video at 0:11, He is slapping the E string but which strings should I hit while slapping? What do the "X"-s in the tab mean? I googled and I think it means "to mute", but how should I do that (if that's the correct meaning of the "X")?

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After investgating and not understanding, It seems like the only notes that makes sound is the one I marked in red (D string, fret 0), so is this muting? If so, how is it done?

p.s. I tried hitting the 3 bottom strings (marked with X) as I slapped the low E with my thumb, the sound I got was clearly not the right one, which again makes me thing this is muting, so I'm still left wondering if indeed this is the case and how should I mute if it is)

1 Answer 1


'X' can mean different things in different places. Here they indicate which strings you have to slap. You don't have to be really accurate as to which strings you hit as long as they're not strings that are sounding notes.

  • so I need to try to only hit those strings while slapping with my thumb?
    – Ariel Yael
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 16:31
  • Sometimes he hits the higher strings with his fingers, but that's all in the tab.
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 16:46
  • For a while I tried to understand how to do what he does, but I can't get this right. Are you sure X marks the strings that should be slapped? it seems like he always slaps one of the two top strings with his thumb, and the notes I hear are the ones that aren't marked with X
    – Ariel Yael
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 15:00
  • @ArielYael At your red mark the only note you hear is the open D string, It looks like he's playing it with a down stroke of his first finger. The other three fingers are slapping the higher strings so they are muted
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 19:54
  • if he is slapping them shouldn't we hear them as well? How is the muting done?
    – Ariel Yael
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 19:58

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