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> Hammer-ons & Pull-offs In Playing
Bogdan Radovic
post Jan 26 2015, 12:41 PM
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Bass & Beginner Instructor
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Today my new aboslute beginners guitar lesson came out, it is the one one "Pull Offs Guitar Technique".
This one compliments the "How To Play Hammer-ons" lesson.

I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss something I have noticed with guitarists just starting to play lead lines or simple melodies. There seems to be a tendency not to utilize two technique which I find personally extremely useful and expressive : hammer-on & pull-off technique. I don't think this affects beginners only as I notice it with my guitar or bass playing as well. I guess this is because we get used to using certain guitar techniques and even though we practice different other techniques, we don't practice them in musical context so we don't feel comfortable utilizing them in our own improvisation/jamming. For example, I'd often see (beginner) solos using only straight picking (picking every note). This is perfectly fine, but I think it is a shame not to use the technique one has already probably spent practicing already. Good exercise here would be to just try to exchange some picked notes for hammer-on or pull-off notes instead, in the exact same solo. Of course, where this feels applicable. I didn't say "natural" on purpose as I think these add-on techniques do need some time to work their way into our playing and only then become "natural". Why I'm putting accent here on hammer-on and pull-offs? I guess because these are one of first "add-on" guitar techniques we are exposed to early on and we usually learn how to perform these techniques decently from the start. Another thing is that (beginner) solos can sound very choppy in their performance. This is usually because only picking motion is used to articulate the notes. Hammer-ons and Pull-offs are naturally "legato" sounding techniques which means there is no pause between one note and another one you play when you use these techniques. When I use word pause, I'm referring to silence. It can get hard (especially when starting on the guitar) to pick several notes and have them sound nice and connected without any pauses in between (while changing left hand finger position) and keeping notes sustained.

Have anyone else noticed these tendencies?

I personally just jam and then re-analyze the licks/riffs I play in order to see if they would be easier to play utilizing some add on techniques (in this case hammer-on and pull-off) and also to see if I can get some sound benefits like smoother sounding transitions between notes etc.

Here are some cool songs incorporating pull-offs and hammer-ons for inspiration smile.gif

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