Guitar String Scratching Exercises | Hub Guitar

Guitar String Scratching Exercises

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Scratching the guitar strings can add a percussive sound to your playing. But be careful not to overdo it.

First of all, too much scratching is annoying.

And second of all is that the scratching may sound good in the practice room, but it won't translate the same way live or when recording. So you want to be aware of that.

Let's start with an eighth-note scratching pattern.

Now let's make the rhythm a little more interesting.

So usually you wouldn't just scratch out a whole rhythm. You would probably mix in some chords and notes with some scratching.

So try this technique out with a metronome. Remember that less is more. Just one or two scratch attacks in a one measure pattern can carry a nice heavy impact.


Guitar scratching is a technique that can be heard in many styles of guitar. It is especially prominent in funk playing, as well as the Jimi Hendrix style. While many guitar players scratch between strums as a habit, it’s good to think of scratching as a technique with its own purpose.

Let’s start by scratching out a few rhythms, with no notes. The first example is an even scratch, all eighth notes. This scratch is sometimes used on electric guitars with wah pedals, phasers and flangers to create interesting effects.

Basic Scratching Rhythm

Now, Let’s omit some of the scratches to create a more interesting rhythmic texture. This is why it’s useful to avoid scratching “just because”: you can create more variety by doing it purposefully.

Scratching Rhythm Variation

Now, we’ll add some chords to give the groove more rhythmic drive. we’ll use the A–7 and D9 chord voicings on Fret V.

Scratching with Chords

Key Exercises

  • Create a pentatonic lick by combining scratching single strings with notes from the pentatonic scale.
  • Apply scratching to your favorite grooves and rhythmic patterns.
  • Create 2-3 unique grooves using a combination of scratching, rests, and chords.

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