#1
Hello,

I'm interested in the song "Billie Jean" played on guitar by Sungha Jung : 


and in the associated tab (https://www.songsterr.com/a/wsa/sungha-jung-billie-jean-fingerstyle-tab-s76636t0).

I thought that the "x" written in the tab were dead notes, that is to say notes that need to be played by blocking the relevant strings with our left hand if we are right-handed.

However, in the video, I feel they have a different meaning : the "x" seem to be interpreted as percussions. In such a case, how am I supposed to play such percussions (technically speaking) ? And so are there several interpretations of the way the "x" have to be played ?

Finally, how am I supposed to play that (I don't see how I can make a percussion with the 3 strings with a "x" and play the note on the 2nd string at the same time...) :

E -----
B --x--
A --x--
D -----
A --5--
E --x--


Thank you very much and sorry for all these questions
Last edited by Divingo at Jul 27, 2017,
#2
Yes, the 'x's here are percussion hits.  They indicate which strings are being hit (no fingering of frets implied).  You've got 3 choices for making the percussive sound ... 

1/  a slapping/knocking type movement with the picking hand;  
2/  a different form of knocking/tapping with the picking hand
3/  a clawing motion to pluck the strings.

Regardless, where percussion occurs, some/all strings are muted by the fretting hand touching the strings but not pressing hard enough to cause a fretted note to occur.

For 1/ Make a loose fist with your plucking hand, and place flat down on a table top,so your finger nails are flat against the table (i.e. its roughly the top part of each top finger joint in contact with the table).  Have your thumb loosely touching the side of your 1st finger.    Now lift your arm a little of the table and drop it back, like knocking on a door.  This is the move you make on the guitar, quite firmly ... hitting the strings instead of the table top.  The thumb generates most of the percussive sound.

As tabbed, you can play the shape above by using 3 fingers of your fretting hand, 1st finger resting on bass E string (e.g. at 5th fret), 2nd finger fretting the 5th fret on the A string, and 3rd finger resting across the D, G abd B strings at the 6th fret.  They need to rest lightly enough to not actually generate a fretted sound. 

Or you could just use 2 fingers of your fretting hanhd, with your 1st or 2nd finger fretting the 5th fret, 5th string, but also protruding enough so its edge also mutes the 6th string.  The other finger is as above, catching the other strings.

Then you can do a fast down stroke (flick with your nails in same position as described above, across the bottom 5 strings to get a "scratch" plus the one sounding note, as an approximation.  (type 1 move)

Or, for 2/ with loose fist as above, and with finger picks, just tap onto the strings with the finger picks.  (similar pick hand shape as for 1).  This is what the guy in the video is doing.  

Or, 3/  form a claw with your picking hand, and pick the 6th string with thumb, 5th string with 1st finger, 3rd string with middle finger, and 2nd string with ring finger.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jul 27, 2017,
#3
Thanks you very much for your very comprehensive answer ! It is very clear and I will pay close attention to your advice.