Making Music with Marshall
Hammer-ons, Pull-offs and Trills
Posted: 31 March 2020
Read time - 2 mins
You would have heard every type of guitarist use this playing technique probably without noticing what’s happening. The hammer-on and pull-off is a widely used skill where you pick a string and then ‘hammer on’ to the next note with another finger. The pull-off is the same technique in reverse. It’s been used in everything from pop to jazz to metal. It adds flavour, style and speed to your playing an is an essential in any guitarist’s arsenal.
To execute a hammer-on, let’s begin by plucking the G string at the 3rd fret with your first finger. Make sure you keep your other fingers out of the way and let the string sustain correctly, finger positioning is vital.
Give the string a short moment to ring out and then use your third finger to hit the G-string at the 5th fret, successfully performing a hammer-on. Practice this slowly at first and then build up speed. The sooner you hammer-on the clearer the second note will be.
In reverse, to execute a pull-off start with your third finger at the 5th fret. Position your first finger on the third fret behind it, have both fingers pressed down. Once you’ve plucked the string, pull your third finger off and let that 3rd fret position ring out.
You may need to pull slightly harder than you did with the hammer on, try pulling down slightly and you’ll find this gives better note sustain.
Once you’ve got these down you can perform trills, to do this simply hammer-on and immediately pull off without plucking the string again, you can do many of these to create a fast trill.
Check out our video tutorial on Hammer-ons, Pull-Offs and Trills below!
Get these up to speed and add them into your scales practice to spice things up. The trick with hammer-ons and pull-offs is landing right on the middle of the string, the more you practice the more muscle memory you’ll build up.