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How to Play Hammer-Ons & Pull-Offs on Heavy Metal Guitar

Let musician Alex Skolnick teach you how to play hammer-ons and pull-offs on guitar in this heavy metal guitar lesson from Howcast.


Alright, what's a hammer-on? Well, picture a hammer, the way the hammer strikes down. That's what happens with your finger. You take any note. So if I look at the minor pentatonic scale, we go to the first string. I play this note, I pick the note, but then the next note on the string I hammer. It means I'm not going to pick the note but I'm actually going to get the sound by striking it with my fourth finger.

A pull-off is the reverse. With a pull-off I might take the high note which is with my fourth finger, and then the sound will be generated by simply pulling and getting that lower note. I'm not picking. I'm picking the first note, but then I'm pulling. Okay? So, hammer-on, pull-off. Hammer-on.

I can combine these and then I get this. With full volume, it sounds like this. You can do this anywhere on the guitar. I'm starting on the fifth fret, but I can do it anywhere. I can move up to this next note and do the same thing. I can move to the next string and do the same thing. Next. I could also hammer-on and pull-off and use more than one string. Here I'm going to hammer-on and pull-off on the first string, and then hammer-on to the second. I can work my way down the scale doing this.

There are some hammer-ons and pull-offs.

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