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Michael Johnson >> Guitar Techniques I >>


Teacher: Welcome class to the lesson on Hammer-on & Pull-off combinations. Previously we covered each technique, but in this lesson we will tie these two techniques together. Combining these techniques can make you sound much faster and is an important technique used by guitarists. Let's get started, here's the basic technique.

Part 1 - Basic Hammer Pull-off 1

Part 1 - Basic Hammer Pull-off 1

Teacher: First you pick the open string, then hammer your 1st finger down enough to produce a note, next you pull the finger off (downward) to play the open note again. If you are good at using hammers & pull-offs you can often avoid having to pick notes. Let's try another basic technique.

Part 1 - Basic Hammer Pull-off 2

Part 1 - Basic Hammer Pull-off 2

Teacher: This is the same basic technique I showed you, but this time you use all of your fingers to play a chromatic sequence. This is a great exercise to build up your hand strength. You might notice some fingers might be stronger than others, practice on developing your weaker fingers. Here's the next basic technique.

Part 1 - Basic Hammer Pull-off 3

Part 1 - Basic Hammer Pull-off 3

Teacher: This exercise uses the same notes as the previous example, but this time you pick the first note only and let your fingers produce the notes without picking. This will be a challenge for some, but a very good exercise to develop this technique. Here's another variation.

Part 1 - Basic Hammer Pull-off 4

Part 1 - Basic Hammer Pull-off 4

Teacher: This time you will pick the 1st note, then hammer while your finger roll ascending the frets, then pull-off while descending the frets. This will take time to develop for some of you. The last basic technique is using the previous exercise, but this time you will play using intervals.

Bill: Its a lot easier to go up!

Teacher: Yes it is Bill, make sure on the pull-offs you tug your fingers downward and away from the neck.

Part 1 - Basic Hammer Pull-off 5

Part 1 - Basic Hammer Pull-off 5

Teacher: This exercise will be easier than the previous technique. Now, let's apply these techniques to scale patterns. Here's the first exercise.

Part 2 - Hammer Pull-off Scales 1

Part 2 - Hammer Pull-off Scales 1

Teacher: The scale is the G Major on the single G string. The hammer/pull-off technique uses the last combination I just gave you, only ascending the scale pattern. This sounds cool and is used in many solos. It's a great exercise to develop a good hammer/pull-off style.

Carl: Do they normally play it faster is solos?

Teacher: You bet Carl, hammer/pull-offs are very common in fast solos. Play this exercise slow at first, and then build up your speed over time. The challenge is to see how fast you can get. Make sure you spend time to develop the technique slowly at first though, or you can pick up some bad habits and compromise how clean the technique will sound. Here's the next exercise.

Part 2 - Hammer Pull-off Scales 2

Part 2 - Hammer Pull-off Scales 2

Teacher: This exercise uses the same G Major pattern, however you play 3 ascending and descending notes at a time (outside of the open string note). This will be harder to play, because you use more of your fingers and have to adjust for the changes in the scale pattern. Your hand will get quite a work out! You can also use this technique on scale patterns that use all 6 strings as well. Here's an example.

Part 2 - Hammer Pull-off Scales 3

Part 2 - Hammer Pull-off Scales 3

Teacher: The scale pattern is the A Minor Pentatonic, however you use open notes that are relative to the A Minor scale. This technique shouldn't be to hard to play if you know the scale pattern and are getting a basic grip on the hammer/pull-off technique.

Carl: Is it important that I use my pinkie finger instead of a different finger?

Teacher: Carl, you can use your 3rd finger if you want, but you should spend time to develop your 4th finger as well, it will help you in the long run. Here's another exercise.

Part 2 - Hammer Pull-off Scales 4

Part 2 - Hammer Pull-off Scales 4

John: When hammering on from 5 to 7 should the 5 fret still be depressed ?

Teacher: Yes you can John, some players who are good at this technique are able to lift as soon as they move to the next note. In your case I would try to keep the finger down on the previous note when ascending. In the next section of the lesson I will show examples of guitarists who use these techniques. Our first example(s) are used by Jimmy Page.

Part 3 - Jimmy Page Riff 1

Part 3 - Jimmy Page Riff 1

skip: I remember him :)

Teacher: The scale is based on the G Major, notice you start with a hammer/pull-off like I showed in the 1st basic technique example. Next you play the open G chord. In bar 2 you start with the hammer/pull-off, then a pull-off, and then open D chord. Here's another Page example.

Part 3 - Jimmy Page Riff 2

Part 3 - Jimmy Page Riff 1

Teacher: This pattern uses the Am Blues and ascends and descends the scale pattern, notice how the hammer/pull-off accents this riff. Here's the next Page example.

Part 3 - Jimmy Page Riff 3

Part 3 - Jimmy Page Riff 3

Teacher: This riff uses the E Minor Pentatonic scale pattern. Notice how you use hammer-ons and you ascend, and then a hammer/pull-off combination at the end of the phrase. Here is a couple of Eric Clapton examples.

Part 3 - Eric Clapton Riff 1

Part 3 - Eric Clapton Riff 1

Teacher: Notice the hammer/pull-offs use a wider interval using your 1st and 4th fingers. Here's the next example.

Part 3 - Eric Clapton Riff 2

Part 3 - Eric Clapton Riff 2

Teacher: This riff is in the A Minor Pentatonic, notice how you play the 5th and 7th frets, and then play the same notes using a hammer/pull-off combination to accent the riff. Here's a Billy Gibbons example.

Part 3 - Billy Gibbons Riff 1

Part 3 - Billy Gibbons Riff 1

Teacher: Notice in this combination how the hammer and pull-off are used at different times during this riff. Here's the next Billy Gibbons sample.

Part 3 - Billy Gibbons Riff 2

Part 3 - Billy Gibbons Riff 2

Teacher: This riff is in A, notice how you start with a hammer/pull-off combination, and then pull-offs. Here's a few Eddie Van Halen samples.

Part 3 - Van Halen Riff 1

Part 3 - Van Halen Riff 1

Teacher: Notice how the pull-offs and hammers are used with in the chord structure. These techniques make the chords sound more interesting. And now our final example uses finger tapping (which will be covered more in another lesson, the hammer/pull-off technique plays a important roll in finger tapping. The highlighted notes are the finger tapped note.

Part 3 - Van Halen Riff 2

Part 3 - Van Halen Riff 2

Teacher: Notice how you tap the finger on the 12th fret, and then pull-off to play the open string note. Next you hammer on the 5th and 7th frets, and the tap the 12th fret again, and then pull-off on the 7th to 5th to open notes. A tricky technique, but sounds very cool when played.

Teacher: Well time to go, I hope to see you next lesson when we cover more on these techniques.

Carl: thanks

skip: Thank you, it was great

steve: thanks teacher

Teacher: See you next lesson!

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