Have you ever wanted to play those spine-tingling lines that sound super-smooth and oh-so fluid?
The key to playing those super-smooth, spine-tingling passages is to master hammer-ons and pull-offs.
Today we will look at how to perform hammer-ons and pull-offs and a great foundation hammer-on and pull-off exercise.
In some contexts, you will want to play notes that sound seamless and fluid. The term for this is legato.
The best way to play notes in a legato fashion is to use hammer-ons and/or pull-offs.
A hammer-on is produced by striking the lower pitched note and then sounding the higher note with your fret-hand finger. You do not pick the note that is hammered.
The pull-off is the opposite of the hammer-on.
To perform a pull-off you pick the higher pitched note and then sound the lower note with your fret-hand. You “pull” your finger off of the string so that the lower pitched note is sounded.
To perform pull-offs that don’t use open strings, you will need to place the appropriate finger(s) on the notes to be sounded. Next, you pull-off the higher finger so that the lower note is heard. You do not pick the note that is pulled off.
It is also very common to combine hammer-ons and pull-offs in a passage, so in some cases you will only pick one note and perform a combination of hammer-ons and pull-offs.
Hammer-on Pull-off Exercise
Pick the first note on each string and hammer-on the rest. Play the descending version of the exercise by picking the first note on the string and sound the remaining notes with pull-offs.
Practice the above exercise on each fret up to the 12th fret. Once you reach the twelfth fret play the entire exercise backwards to the first fret.
This is a great endurance exercise. If your hands get fatigued, just play the exercise up to the 7th fret. Every week our so, make it your goal to add one or more additional frets.