In Depth Guitar Lessons and Expert Help


April 18, 2013

Hammer On lesson at Access Rock

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Written by: Mike Abbott

Before you try the guitar lick,
practice the
hammer-ons a lot-finger strength is needed and
will come with practice.
A hammer-on
is done by
first picking a note(open or fretted),
then firmly and
quickly planting a left hand finger on a different
Listen to the hammer-on guitar lick first,
and then try to play it.

  1. Hammer your finger on the guitar string firmly
  2. Hammer your finger close to the fret
  3. Let the first note ring slightly before hammering
  4. Really think of a hammer hitting a nail
  5. Finger numbers are below the guitar tab staff.

Examples of Hammer-Ons using the notes of the E Blues

To play a pull-off, play fretted note to lower note or open string.(see

learn hammer-ons from the E Blues Scale

* Fret to Fret will be harder to
do than open string to fret

Hammer Lick 1

Hammer-on technique shown in a guitar lick

It is easier to start playing hammer-ons and
pull-offs using eighth notes

Pull-Offs: The opposite of hammer-ons

Pull-offs are done when a fretted note is picked, then
the finger pulls off that note causing either the open
string or fretted note to ring. As you see in Picture
, the finger does not pull very far off of the
guitar string.

  1. Let the fingertip grab the guitar string slightly
    as it pulls off
  2. The finger should pull up and over the adjacent
  3. Finger numbers are below the Tab staff
  4. If you are doing a pull-off from a fretted note
    to another fretted note, put both fingers on
    their frets and then pull-off( PICTURE 1
    to 2

See photo demonstration of a fret to fret pull-off on the guitar



Pull-Off Lick 1

>Pull-off guitar lick written on the standard and Tab staff.

Pull-Off Lick 2

Pull-off guitar lick written on standard and tab staff

  • Practice the examples
    of hammer-ons
  • Practice each lick 3
    times in a row (keep a steady beat)
  • Practice each lick 3
    times in a row with the metronome
  • Write out a Hammer
    lick and a Pull-off lick with quarter notes and
    half notes.
  • Write out a Hammer
    lick and a Pull-off lick using eighth notes,
    quarter notes, and half notes
  • Practice each one of
    your guitar licks 3 times in a row
  • After writing a couple
    of licks, try creating some on the spot. Count
    the rhythm out loud as you play.
  • Make sure your licks
    are 4 beats long

About the Author

Mike Abbott
Mike is a pro guitarist and music educator.  He has performed with such diverse acts as the Rolling Stones Horns, Sammy Davis Jr., and Burt Bacharach.   After spending much of his music career in New York City, He now is a very busy guitarist in the Denver area, performing and teaching extensively. Mike's latest work is a book, The Guitar and Amp Sourcebook, published by Harper Collins and released in December 2012.



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