Hammer-Ons of the Gods

by Ben Higgins

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  • Hi and welcome to my new lesson, which is a journey into the world of using hammer-ons and pull-offs. A hammer-on is where the note is sounded by placing your finger onto the string with enough velocity to make the note sound without needing to pick the string. A pull-off is its opposite, where you pull the finger off the string, causing the string to ring and sound either a note fretted by another finger or an open string.

    But there's more! Not only are we going to work on these awesome sounding essential techniques, we're going to do it through the prism of the three guitar legends from the world of rockand metal.

    Randy Rhoads, Dave Murray and Steve Vai. All are known for their distinctive styles of playing and their unique guitar tones. All have made a massive impact in the world of music and all are still worshipped by guitar players the world over. What's more is the fact that they all use hammer-ons and pull-offs extensively in their music and performances. So what better players to take as our sources of study?

    "Randall William "Randy" Rhoads (December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982) was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. He died in a plane accident while on tour with Osbourne in Florida in 1982" - Wikipedia

    "David Michael Murray (born 23 December 1956)is an English guitarist and songwriter best known as one of the earliest members of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Along with the group's bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris, Murray has appeared on all of the band's releases" - Wikipedia

    "Steven Siro Vai (born June 6, 1960) is an American guitarist, songwriter and producer who has sold over 15 million albums. After starting his career as a music transcriptionist for Frank Zappa, Vai recorded and toured in Zappa's band for two years, from 1980 to 1982. He began a solo career in 1983... has also recorded and toured with Public Image Ltd., Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth and Whitesnake" - Wikipedia

    As well as taking inspiration from the work of these three guitarists, I will also take you through:

    -the basics of the techniques of the hammer-on and pull-off.
    -How Rhoads, Murray and Vai have used the techniques in their riffs.

    More lessons in the style of Randy Rhoads.

    Rhoads Made Easy

    More lessons in the style of Dave Murray.

    Murray Made Easy
    Dave Murray Style

    More lessons in the style of Steve Vai.

    Vai-able Hammer-ons
    Vai Made Easy

    So to sum it all up, you will be learning the flashy techniques of the hammer-on and pull-off and doing so whilst walking in the footsteps of these guitar giants!

    E A D G B E - Standard Tuning
    Ibanez RG7421, Overloud TH3, Cubase, Superior Drummer 2
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