If you’ve been a guitarist for more than one month I’m sure you’ve heard of the big pair: hammer-ons and pull-offs. I covered pull-offs in my last post, so now it’s time for hammer-ons. As a matter of fact they are easier to perform than pull-offs (don’t get in love with difficulty). I don’t really know why I didn’t cover them first… Anyways.
What’s a hammer-on?
A hammer-on is a technique which allows you to play two or more notes with just one pluck. Similar to pull-offs, only this time you’re doing it the other way around. Meaning, you’re playing a note that’s lower in pitch first and then another one that’s higher in pitch. With pull-offs you’re going the other direction.
How to perform a hammer-on?
This one is relatively easy and shouldn’t take you long to master. First, hold down any given string on one fret and proceed as follows:
1. Strum the string with your plucking hand.
2. Quickly hammer down (fret) the same string on a higher fret. This should make a clearly audible sound.
You might have to give it several tries before you get a clean sound. So keep practicing because this technique is essential to every guitarist.
Now hot to recognize hammer-ons on tablature.
Hammer-ons are usually indicated by something like this:
The letter “h” between 5 and 7 means that you need to perform a hammer-on on these two frets. In this particular example you start by strumming the B string while holding it down on the 5th fret and then quickly hammer it down on the 7th fret.
Important! Remember, one pluck, two notes.
Playing a series of hammer-ons
We’ve already covered a similar thing while discussing pull-offs, but this time it’s even easier and more fun to play. Check it out:
Three notes with just one pluck. To play this thing properly you need to press down the B string on the 5th fret. Strum the string. Hammer-on the string on the 7th fret. Immediately afterwards hammer-on the string on the 9th fret.
Let me tell you, once you master both hammer-ons and pull-offs you’ll be able to play some really fast and impressive solos. The ultimate girl-magnet (pay attention guys!)
Try to go through various guitar scales and play them using only hammer-ons while going up the scale.
Now a set of helpful video tutorials.
Don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments.