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from Matthieu Brandt’s Slap, Frail and Thump
Combining the techniques of frailing, slapping and thumping can be quite challenging, especially if we also leave out some of these percussive elements on beats where we expect them. This month’s quick tune, “Leisure Larry” uses all three of these techniques, and adds another: combining frailing and slapping while playing single line melodies. For this you’ll use the index finger of your right hand together with the thumb. We’ll use both sides of the index finger; plucking up and frailing down. Depending on whether you have a solid nail on that finger, you’ll hear a crisp, clear note or a softer melodic line. “Leisure Larry” uses a capo on the fourth fret, placing us in the key of E minor, relative to the capo.
Play this groove ultra slow at first. Once you get the groove going and your index finger gets more precise, you’ll notice all kinds of rhythmic artifacts. Some of them will enter your playing by coincidence. As long as you stay within the groove and keep the melody clearly audible, there’s nothing wrong with that. Changes in dynamics can also be used in some variations. You could play beat one really loud, or you could stress the note on the four-and, thus playing with a more syncopated feel.
This tune also incorporates a unique ending riff. The final three measures will get you back from the Asus4 to the E minor. We’ll start off fingering the Asus4 chord, and after plucking the open string A, we’ll play a pulloff on the second string. Use your middle finger to do that and follow it up by plucking the next note on string three with your index finger. Remove your index finger and play the open second and third string with your middle and index fingers. Then play your index finger on the second fret of the fifth string and pluck it with your thumb, followed by the open fourth string played with your index finger. All the notes in the second bar should be played with thumb and index.
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