How to Play a Hammer-on


Hammer ons

Like the pull-off, the slide, the bend and vibrato, the hammer-on is one of the basic techniques every guitarist should have in his or her vocabulary.


The hammer on is a technique which makes it possible to go from on note to the next without any audible space in between, making them connect fluenty. This is done with the fretting hand, not with the picking hand. The Hammer on makes it possible to play 'legato'.


The thing to understand before attempting to execute a hammeron, is that a string, once it has been picked, contains vibration energy. This energy has to be preserved in order to do a good hammer on.


How to hammer-on

It is done like this.

Play any note on any string, fretting that string with the index finger of the left hand, let's say on the 5th fret. Next, drop the ring finger of the left hand on the 7th fret, while holding the index finger on the 5th. This dropping of the finger does not need much force, bt what counts is the SPEED at which it is done.


If the finger doing the hammer on has enough speed, the picked string will preserve its energy going to the new note (the 7th fret), letting it ring like it was just picked!

guitarhow lesson - hammeron... then hammer ring finger right next to the fret!


Make sure, that when you practice this, that you create a balance between the volume of your picking, and the volume of the note you create doing the hammer on.

E.g., do not pick the note too loud before doing the hammeron, because the hammer-on note will sound too soft compared to the picked one.


When practising, practice to hammer on with the middle finger, the ring finger and the little finger, while always starting with picking a note fretted by the index finger.


tip: when alternating between hammeron and pulloff, you can create a so-called thriller.


guitarhow lesson - hammeron liftHammer-on: place index finger, lift ring finger...