The Pluck and Chuck Guitar Series

  1. Overview of the Series
  2. Song Lessons
  3. Technique Lessons
  4. Lessons by Technique Type

Overview of the Series

“Pluck and Chuck” is a term I use to discuss a group of percussive guitar techniques that integrate closely with finger style guitar playing. This includes thumb slaps and combination flick/slap strokes (which I call chucks for short).

This series starts with a basic lesson on the techniques involved, and goes on to explain how to play songs with it, improvise solos, and gives some suggestions for exploration!

This started as a series focusing on a technique singer-songwriters have been using since at least the 70’s to add a rhythmic twist into their playing. It probably emerged from clawhammer banjo (which was earlier and used a similar idea). Since that time, the technique has evolved a lot but without many people in guitar circles discussing it directly. This series is an attempt to observe all the new techniques that are cropping up and tie them together into a cohesive set of lessons that make them easy to master and expand.

The Pluck and Chuck Song Library

Each song has a video lesson, tabs, chord diagrams, and insightful tips (if I got around to finishing it). The songs go in order from easy to more difficult and are grouped by the techniques they use. There is also a planned sequence for learning different techniques, so the easiest way to master the technique is to follow the songs in order.

Beginner Group 1 – The Empty Chuck

Beginner Group 2 – Chuck Strums

Intermediate Group 1 – Quarter Note Grooves

Intermediate Group 2 – 16th note plucking (The “Jason Mraz” Groove )

Intermediate Group 3 – 8th Note Grooves

Advanced Group 1 – Three Part Textures

  • Stop This Train – John Mayer
  • The Heart of Life – John Mayer
  • Ripple – The Grateful Dead

Advanced Group 2 – Downbeat Grooves

  • Hurricane Railroad – David Jacobs Strain
  • Sketch Without a Name – Niall Carmichael

Advanced Group – Unusual Grooves

  • Present/Infant – Ani Difranco
  • Clarity – John Mayer
  • Your Body is a Wonderland – John Mayer
  • Neon (Live in LA) – John Mayer

Pluck and Chuck Technique Lessons 

this is the part where I find a use for my useless music theory degree. I’ll explain the underlying patterns in the songs, how to play the basic techniques, and how to expand all these ideas to do improvisations and write your own songs. This is the good stuff, so I hope you’re hungry.

  1. Intro video/ basic strokes
  2. Pluck and Chuck Rudiment Camp – advanced strokes and comprehensive pattern combinations
  3. Thumb Groove/Drum Groove – How pluck and chuck is the 3rd style of percussive guitar
  4. Swapping Grooves – how to combine patterns from multiple songs
  5. expanding grooves – comping improvisation
  6. 2 part improvisation – advanced finger style pluck and chuck techniques

Unfiled Notes

Hurricane RR –

Present Infant Ani Difranco
Tangled Up in You Aaron Lewis 4
When you come back down Nickel Creek 4
you were meant for me Jewel 4
Dear Marie John Mayer 5
Holy Now Peter Mayer 5
November 4th 2008 Ani Difranco 5
Sketch Without a Name Niall Carmichael 5
Why Georgia John Mayer 5
Your body is a wonderland John Mayer 5
Clarity John Mayer 6
Did I Fool Ya? Jason Mraz 6
Further Away Ben Howard 6
Gravel Ani Difranco 6
Song of the caged bird Lindsey Stirling/Jon Michael Swift 6
Stop this train John Mayer 6
the heart of life John Mayer 6
You Fucking Did It Jason Mraz 6
3×5 John Mayer 7
Blues Man steven stills 7
Neon John Mayer 8
Moonbeam Willy Porter 9