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Hammer-on's and pull-off's are very simple legato techniques that provide a different way to play two notes while only picking one note. Hammering on and pulling off repeatedly is whats known as a Trill. For more information on this take a look at Trilling.

Hammer-On

A Hammer-on is performed by picking a note then 'hammering' your finger onto another, higher note without re-picking.

To peform a hammer-on fret the 5th fret, G-String with your first finger. Pick that note, then hammer (Push down) on the 7th fret with your third finger, without re-picking.

e|----------|
B|----------|
G|----5h7---|
D|----------|
A|----------|
E|----------|

Hammer-On more than one note

You can hammer on more than one note. Fret the 5th fret, G string with your first finger. Pick the note then hammer onto the 6th fret with your second finger and then the 7th fret with your third finger.

e|----------|
B|----------|
G|--5h6h7---|
D|----------|
A|----------|
E|----------|

Hammer-On tips

  • If you can not get the second note to ring clearly or at all, make sure you are hamming on with the fingertip.
  • Make sure your hamming-on finger should be right next to the fret wire.
  • Make sure you apply enough pressure when hamming-on.

Pull-Off

A Pull-Off is the opposite to a hammer-on, this time you are pulling off a note to reduce the pitch.

To peform a pull-off, start with both your first and third fingers on the fretboard. Fret the 5th fret, G string with your first finger. Then, while keeping the 5th fret fretted, fret the 7th fret with your third finger. Pick the note then 'pull' your third finger off the fretboard.

You may need to pull your finger off in a sidewards motion for the pull-off to ring clearly.

e|----------|
B|----------|
G|---7p5----|
D|----------|
A|----------|
E|----------|

Pull-Off more than one note

You can pull-off more than one note. Fret the 5th fret, G string with your first finger. 6th fret with your second finger and 7th fret with your third finger. Pick the note then pull your third finger off the 7th fret, then pull your second finger off the 6th fret to let the note on the 5th fret ring out.

e|----------|
B|----------|
G|--7p6p5---|
D|----------|
A|----------|
E|----------|

Pull-Off tips

  • If you can not get the second note to ring clearly or at all, you may need to pull-off in a sidewards motion.
  • Make sure your fingers are right next to the fret wire.
  • A good pull off should sound a note(even a light one) without being plucked.

Tablature Notation

In tablature it is common for the hammer-on and pull-off to be shown by a 'H' or 'P' on the tab itself.

e|-------------|
B|-------------|
G|--5h7-7p5----|
D|-------------|
A|-------------|
E|-------------|

Exercises for Hammer-Ons

Exercise 1

Use your index finger for the 5th fret and "hammer" your ring finger on the 7th.

E-------------------------------------------------
B-----5-h7---5-h7---5-h7---5-h7-------------------
G-------------------------------------------------
D-------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------

Exercise 2

Here is an example using open strings and hammer-ons with the index and ring finger.

E-------------------------------------------------
B-------------------------------------------------
G-------------------------------------------------
D-------------0-h1-h2---------0-h1-h2-------------
A-----0-h1-h2---------0-h1-h2---------------------
E-------------------------------------------------

Exercise 3

This is pure blues magic. Try it with and without the vibrato.

E--------------5----7--5--------------------------
B--------------5----7--5--------------------------
G--------------5h6~~7--5h6~~----------------------
D----------5-7--------------7---------------------
A-----5-h7----------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------

Exercises for Pull-Offs

Combined Exercises

Exercise 1

E-------------------------------------------------
B-----5-h6-p5-----5-h6-p5-------------------------
G-------------h7----------h7----------------------
D-------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------
      ^           ^

Exercise 2

E-------------------------------------------------
B-------------------------------------------------
G-----4-h5-p4-----4-h5-p4-------------------------
D-------------h7----------h7----------------------
A-------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------
      ^           ^ 

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