How to Play a Hammer-On in Country Guitar

Learn how to play a hammer-on from country guitar player Boo Reiners in this Howcast video.

I’m going to show you how to use hammer-ons to play some melody. Here’s a simple hammer-on on the fourth string. So I’m going to pick the fourth string and I’m going to put my middle finger down while the string is ringing. So this is kind of a basic technique, but used with melody, it could really add some nice flourish, so. So I’m holding down that C chord and if I just take my middle finger off the note that it normally would be on the fourth string second fret.

I can just practice using that hammer-on action and it gives you that nice sweet country bend where you’ve got a suspension. Having a D note in that C chord gives you a little bit of tension. It’s really more of a suspension and then you release the suspension by changing that second degree into the major third. So just using it for strumming is really handy. You don’t even have to be a lead player to make use of the hammer-on. You can hammer-on on an open string. You can also hammer on from one fretted note to another. By the way it might be Pete Seger who first coined the term hammer-on, but people have been doing hammer-ons since guitarists first started making their way around the globe with explorers and sailors and whatnot.

So it’s a very old technique, but it’s one of many we use to make melody from the instrument and kind of give it a vocal quality. So that’s the hammer-on for you. Enjoy.