I'm trying to learn the technique John uses on Stop This Train, Heart of Life, and most recently, Who Says. I'm sure most of you who are familiar with him instantly know what technique I'm talking about. If not, it's a finger picking style and he uses his thumb to get a percussive sound.

I haven't dedicated much time to learning it yet, but I'm hoping someone can either tell me how to play it, or lead me to a good video lesson which can teach me. Thanks.
see: andy mckee, justin king, antoine dufour.

yeah, just remember to keep the rhythm with your right hand and putting that into your palm/thumb and hitting the body of the guitar. if that makes any sense. other examples similar to what john mayer is "crazy" by the barenaked ladies. look up the "bathroom sessions" by ed on youtube for the videos of how he plays it.

addendum: i cant spell for beans today.
Last edited by Skierinanutshel at Oct 16, 2009,
I have the Continuum tab book, and it helped a lot because it notates when to use your thumb in relation to what you're playing.
breaking hearts
breaking guitars
I'm having the same problem man, these songs just seem so unnecessarily hard. I can fingerpick and put that percussive sound in and on time no problem, but I can not for the life of me make the percussive sound AND hit another note on another string at the same time like he does. Anyone have any advice on trying to hit the bass as well as pluck another string, other than the obvious practice?
The trick is to slap your thumb in the millisecond between chord changes, or between two plucks. An exercise you could try is to play a chord progression, pluck it with your index/middle/ring or any combination of those (get funky), at a fast tempo preferably, and try to get some thumb slaps in between (again, get funky).

Hope that helped.

EDIT: The only way I can see to slap while playing the bass note, is to quickly slap down with ASTONISHING SPEED and 'whip' your thumb up right after. I say whip because the motion is more or less the same.

EDIT2: Just looked at the tab and think I misunderstood. Although I don't believe it's played like that, I guess if you want to play a high note at the exact same time it's easier to 'anchor' your picking finger the note before, and when you slap, make a rotating motion to flick off your anchored picking finger.
Last edited by Captain Panda at Oct 17, 2009,