Tech Tip:What are Hammer Ons and Pull Offs?


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Wendy Clarkson; Canada

 

Q: I just started playing guitar a few months ago. I have the Peavey Stage pack and your Rock House DVD that's included. It is awesome! I have one question for you, what are Hammer Ons and Pull Offs?

 

A: These are two very popular lead techniques.

 

A Hammer On is produced when you pick one note then thrust another finger down in a hammer-type fashion without picking it to generate the sound of a 2nd note. Try this example: pick the 5th fret of the 3rd string, and then thrust your 3rd finger down on the same string on the 7th fret (don't pick the second note). You should hear the tone ring out and as you practice this technique you will be able to make it more pronounced.

 

A Pull Off is like the opposite of the Hammer On. You pull off a finger in a snapping fashion to generate the sound of the second note. Here is an example of this technique: put your 3rd finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd string, at the same time put your 1st finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd string, and then pull your 3rd finger downward snapping it off the string while keeping your first finger anchored down. You should hear the pitch of the 5th fret note ring.

 

These techniques take some practice to master but consistent practice will get you there.

 

Hope this helps!

Yours in Music
John McCarthy
Rock House