Bring a new dimension to your acoustic playing with this guide to percussive guitar techniques

Acoustic virtuoso Kaki King
Acoustic virtuoso Kaki King (Image credit: George Howlett)

Every acoustic guitarist has experimented with the percussive tones of the instrument’s body. Not only is this inevitable - we’re all clumsy sometimes - it’s also an expression of something much more fundamental. Rhythm is, in many senses, the most basic element of music. As children we cannot help but bang on the objects around us - drumming is a vital part of how we learn about the world.

This innate percussive inclination is true all across the world. I was recently discussing North Indian rhythm with Debasmita Bhattacharya, a virtuoso of the Hindustani sarod (23-string fretless lute). 

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George Howlett is a London-based musician and writer, specializing in jazz, rhythm, Indian classical, and global improvised music.