A guitar rake is a technique that can be use to add a little percussive spice to notes. This is done by adding one or more “click” sounds right before sounding a note on the guitar.
Here is how the rake guitar technique is written in tablature. The x is just where the strings is muted.
In the above example, you are going to put your first finger on the 2nd string, 5th fret. Lightly touch the 3rd and 4th strings with your 2nd, 3rd, or both fingers. The placement of those fingers is really not important. They are only there to mute those strings. So when they are picked, you will just hear a “click” sound.
Now pick down on the 4th string….click, down on the 3rd string….click. Then lift up the fingers that you were using to mute the 4th and 3rd strings and play the 2nd string 5th fret. Do all of this slowly at first. Click…click….note. Just let your pick sweep across those 3 strings.
Your pick will come to rest on the next string like you were strumming a chord slowly. Once you have the feel, then start to increase the speed.
A guitar raking is a lot of times heard as one sound, as one note with a more percussive feel. This is because you are including the extra click sounds along with the note you are actually playing. A guitar rake might also be heard as separate sounds.
Sometimes sloppy sweep picking becomes a rake unintentionally. Sweep picking and rake notes do have some things in common. But they are two different techniques, and I have sometimes seen Internet tablature incorrectly label a sweep pick as a rake.
A rakes on the guitar can be done on just 2, 3, or 4 strings. Probably not more, but it is possible. You can either pick down or up, but down is by far much more common.
The Guitar Rake Overkill Lick
Here is a little lead guitar lick that makes use of a lot of rakes.