I'm fascinated by the technique of most of the guys on CandyRat records, specifically Andy Mckee. Are there any resources out there on slap guitar technique? How can I too become as epic as him at slap guitar?

I'm looking for resources and suggestions on how and what to practice - along with pointers on how to get that "slap guitar" sound.

  • You may be interested in the tap-master of japan, Kotaro Oshio. I mention him not (just) because he is my personal favorite, but because he has video tutorials for the techniques involved in each of his most popular songs, most of which can be found on youtube. Yes, he is speaking Japanese, but you don't need to understand the language to understand what he's saying, for the most part. Commented Feb 19, 2011 at 23:59
  • My japanese is really rusty, but I can understand the gist of what's going on in the video. Thanks for the information.
    – Jduv
    Commented Feb 20, 2011 at 2:30
  • 2
    I'd pay attention to tunings (you don't want to slap something that isn't a chord) and the artists you like. I can suggest Michael Hedges, Tommy Emmanuel and Shaun Hopper, there are many others too.
    – Anonymous
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 1:03

3 Answers 3


The video is a really good starting place to learn what he's doing since he's playing it right there.

It sounds a lot like a open-D or open-G tuning. He's not playing normal chord positions or shapes, but what he is playing looks and sounds a lot like what I'd use for either of those open tunings, especially when he's hitting the "low-E" and "D" strings with the left hand. (I'm quoting them because the E is probably tuned down to a D giving him octaves on the two strings).

Practice hammer-ons, especially multiple fingers, and especially chord-forms with the right hand. You'll need very clear, clean, tones when you hammer-on.

This sort of sound requires fresh, new strings on your acoustic guitar. New strings are brighter and more lively.

Notice that he's got a pickup in the soundhole, and also miking the guitar. Because he's using hammer-ons, but the volume is pretty consistent, I think he's got a good studio compressor running on both feeds too, otherwise the hammer-ons would be a lot lower volume than when he strums.

It's a nice song, thanks for pointing it out.

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    It's in DADGAD -- I bought the tab. It's only $2.00 from his website, if I remember correctly, and is probably the OPs best bet for learning to play this.
    – Joel
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 21:03

It's not something your going to find a lot of instructional information on it. It is a combination of rhythmic, melody and chordal harmony played in a unique way. Flamenco uses the guitar in a rhythmic way a lot, there's a few people that play the guitar in a "pianistic" way. The opening tuning he is using makes it a lot easier for him to play harmony the way he does.

Probably the best way your going to learn this style is to copy him. Each individual thing he does is not terribly complex but combining it all is the tricky part. Your going to have to somehow keep the rhythm, the harmony, and the melody going.

I'd suggest try learning each part separately then adding in a little at at time of each. You could learn to play a rhythmic part by using the guitar as a "drum" then try to add in harmony. Notice that his harmony mainly consists of just getting the lower note strings then sometimes playing all the strings. After that attempt to add in a melody on top of the harmony.


I'm not too familiar with Andy McKee, so I'm taking "Art of Motion" as a representative sample.

There are two things that I'm seeing/hearing that correspond to the concept of "slap". The bit that sounds a bit like a closing hi-hat that's mostly a percussive thing is what "slap"-style bassists do, pushing the low string against the frets.

The other thing, which I got from Michael Hedges, is to slap across the strings 12 frets above a fretted chord, or at the 12th fret if you're not fretting. You're not going to get a full chord unless you tune open (or unless you like an open Em7Add4 chord) but if you fret a barred G chord at the 3rd fret and slap so you hit the B string at the 15th fret, the G string at the 16th fret, and the D string at the 17th fret, those harmonics will ring out, while the the E A and E strings should just ring out.

(Oh, I need to learn to do Markdown tab.)

  • I did not notice the initial link. I've not really worked out the slapping-the-body style, but if you're doing it amplified, I'm reasonably sure that internal-mic guitars would work better than piezo or magnetic pickups to pick up body slaps. Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 0:54

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