Secrets Revealed – Learn How to Play Lead Guitar Techniques! (Hammer Ons and Pull Offs)

Secrets disclosed: Learn how to play lead guitar techniques! (Hammer ons and pull offs)

For the fourth lesson of this series, I will be sharing with you a new technique called hammer on and pull off, which complement each other to produce 'trills'. However, if the notes consist only of hammer ons, they are called 'legatos'.

If you want to more about trills, check out the beginning of 'Paganini's fifth Caprice'. You will be blown away. Anyways, let's start the lesson proper.

Hammer on

A 'hammer on' is when a note is sounded, and while it is still ringing, another left hand finger is used to quickly press down a higher fret that is on the same string, and close to the original fret. So, the hammer on is only used to hit higher frets.

How do we execute a hammer on?
1. Play a note using your index finger; let's say on the 7th fret on the 3rd string.
2. Next, without releasing the 7th fret, use your middle finger or ring finger to hammer on the 9th fret. Do not forget to use some force or else it might not sound.
3. There you have it, a hammer on.

Pull off

A 'pull off' is basically the same thing, but backwards. While the note is still sounding, a finger can be placed directly behind the first finger, and then the first finger can be 'pulled off'. Essentially, the pull off is used to hit lower frets.

How to do a pull off?
1. Play a note using your ring finger; let's say on the 9th fret on the 3rd string, with your index finger on the 7th fret.
2. Forcefully pull down your ring finger and let the note on the 7th fret ring.
3. There you have it, a pull off.

How is a hammer on and pull off indicated?
—————- 'h' to indicate a hammer on
—————- 'p' to indicate a pull off
– 7 h 9 p 7 —
—————- As seen in the diagram, the hammer on and pull off is executed on the 3rd string, 7th fret and
—————- 9th fret respectively.

Take note: Doing the hammer on and pull off one after another continuously can be quite addictive but guess what, you just got yourself a new technique, a 'trill'. Enjoy!