Tips & Techniques

Silencing the strings on the 2 count (percussive technique)

Lesson #325

Video lesson

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Editor’s notes

Hey friends, here’s a quick percussive technique video showing you how to silence the strings with you picking (right) hand – which in this lesson, uses two 1960s riffs where we’ll be silencing things specifically on the 2-count. Aside from being a helpful technique for you to be familiar with, it’s also neat to hear the similarities of this trick as used in these songs I’ll show you – being “My Girl” (The Temptations, 1964) and “Stand By Me” (Ben E. King, 1961). Note, I do have a full video lesson for “Stand By Me” if you want to learn that song… check out lesson #308 on my website.

Silencing strings with your fretting hand (#311)

A very different way to accomplish a very similar outcome is to silence strings with your left hand (by loosening your fingers from the fretboard, but keeping them on the strings). I show you that in detail in this lesson (here’s the PDF for that lesson):

Slap-strum technique (#197)

You might also like this lesson, which shows you how to use your strumming (left) hand to add a percussive “hit” on the string as part of the strumming motion. This also is an effective way to silence the strings, but notably does so immediately after a chord is played – which adds some distinction to this sound (

Palm muting basics (#187)

We also have palm muting, which is related to all of this. Here, we’ll be resting our right (strumming/picking) hand on the very bottom part of strings – where they connect to the pegs – as we play them. This lets the notes continue to ring out, but they’re “muted” and muffled, in a way that can be advantageous., video below:

“Stand By Me” by Ben E. King (#308)

Finally, here’s my full lesson for Stand By Me, if you’d like to learn that song (

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