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Learning Guitar - Lesson Seven
Part 1: Hammer-ons
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: overview
• Part 2: barre chords
• Part 3: fingerpicking
• Part 4: hammer-ons
• Part 5: pull-offs
• Part 6: learning songs
• Part 7: practice schedule
 Related Content
• Index of Guitar Lessons
• Buying Your First Guitar
• How to Read Guitar Tab
• Easy to Play Songs
• Guitar Chord Library
Until now, we've only played single notes in one way - whenever we've played a note, we've used a pick to hit that string. While this is very common, there are alternate ways to play single notes. The first differing method we'll examine is the hammer-on.
The concept of the hammer-on is fairly simple - playing a note, then, WITHOUT re-picking, playing another note on a higher fret on the same string. Let's examine further:
hammer on tutorial lesson learn how to hammer on guitar
Begin by fretting the second fret of the third string with your first finger. Got it? Now, ready your third finger - poising it above the fourth fret of the third string.
Use your pick to play the note on the second fret, then, WITHOUT re-picking the note, put the tip of your third finger down firmly on the fourth fret. If you do this with enough force, the note on the fourth fret should sound, even though you didn't re-pick it. If you didn't put your third finger on the string accurately enough, or with enough force, all that probably happened was the first note stopped ringing. Try repeating the exercise, and keep doing so, until the second note rings out clearly.

If you're having trouble understanding what a hammer-on should sound like, be sure to listen to the audio clip of the above example, played several different ways (listen in RealAudio or in MP3 formats).

Things to try:

  • If you can't get the second note to ring, be sure you're putting your fingertip down directly on the string. If you're not accurate, you won't get good results.
  • Try repeating this technique on different strings, and on different frets.
  • Hammer two fingers onto a string. For example, start at the fifth fret, then hammer on to the sixth fret, then the seventh.

Now, let's move on to learning pull-offs.


Next page > Pull-offs > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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