#1
Technique Of The Month

This month we are going to talk about hammer-ons, pull-offs and trills. Essentially, these are all produced by using two fingers on the fretting hand - one to fret one note, and another to either hammer onto, or pull off from.

Lets start from with the Hammer-On...

A Hammer-On produces a note by slamming a finger onto a note on the fretboard. You do not pick the note, it's sound is generated by the force you use. The less force, the less volume and vice versa. More often than not, a fretted note has been plucked before, and the Hammer-On produces a smooth transition from one note to the other. There is no way to generate this sound by plucking. You do not always have to fret a note to hammer though - you can hammer down on an Open string to sound a note - this can be used to free up your plucking hand and is the basis for the Tapping technique.

Below are some simple exercises for you to practice your Hammer-On's. As ever, start slowly with your metronome, make sure they are all cleanly struck and do not speed up until you can go through it ten times in a row with no mistakes.

---------------------------------------3--5---5
--------------------------3--5---5-------------
-------------3--5---5--------------------------
-3--5---5--------------------------------------
 P   H    P  (where P=pluck, H=Hammer-On)


Change the starting fret and move this position up and down the neck - you will find the hardest one is the 1--3. make sure you practice this above the octave as well to get your fingers used the smaller space.


Next, the Pull-Off......

The Pull-Off is harder than the Hammer-On, and it helps if you have a good fretting technique to execute this cleanly. Whenever people have trouble with this technique, i find it's because they do not have the finger anchored properly, ready for the take-over note. Here's, how it's done: You are actually fretting two notes at the same time. The fretting finger nearest the headstock should be anchored down on the fret, ready to sound the note . As you fret the first note, when you remove your finger, you pull the string slightly downwards and outwards with a kind of flick. This gives it enough attack to generate the volume needed for the take-over note to sound at a decent level. Of course, this will only happen if you have your finger firmly anchored down. Be careful of fatigue when you practice - only press down as hard as you need to (A Golden fretting rule).

Below are some simple exercises to practice your Pull-Off's. As ever, start slowly with your metronome, make sure they are all cleanly struck and do not speed up until you can go through it ten times in a row with no mistakes.

---------------------------------------5--3---3
--------------------------5--3---3-------------
-------------5--3---3--------------------------
-5--3---3--------------------------------------
 P   PO   P (Where P=pluck and PO= Pull-Off)


Change the starting fret and move this position up and down the neck - you will find the hardest one again is the 3--1. make sure you practice this above the octave as well to get your fingers used the smaller space.


Lastly, the Trill....

The trill is mainly used in Funk music - personally it's a favourite of mine. It's dead easy - simply perform multiple Hammer-On's and a Pull-Off's in quick succession. The important thing to mastering trills is the force needed on the pull-off. It takes a bit of time to get the Pull-Off's consistent, so do not rush this bit.. You can Trill with any combinations of fingers, but you will find the strongest is the index-middle Trill. This is often the case with piano players too - these fingers simply have greater independence naturally than the others. But you can of course spend time developing all the fingers, and i recommend you spending time on your pinky, as this can be used with great effect.

I will not create a Trill exercise - i will leave it up to you to use this technique in your playing once you have developed good Hammers and Pulls.

Like any technique, use these sparingly; overuse can become boring. These are just things to spice up your lines.

Good luck - any corrections or comments welcome.
Last edited by Applehead at Sep 17, 2006,
#4
pretty good excersizes. Most players know how to do this but it is pretty great for beginners.
#5
Some guitarists do trills differently:

1. Index and middle alternating rapidly.(1,2,1,2,1,2,1,2...etc)

2. Index and middle finger hammer-on and pull off, followed by index and ring finger hammer-on and pull off and so on.(1,2,1,3,1,2,1,3,1,2,1,3...etc)
haha...
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#7
Another good excersize for hammerons and pull offs is run up and down the c major scale. But only pluck each string once. So running up you would pluck the C, E, A and down the C, G, and A
#8
Go Go Applehead!

Thanks, I have a horrible pull-off technique. Gotta work on that. :/
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#9
Should add that when pulling off or trilling with an open string, you should be careful to pull your finger away a little harder so the open string can ring properly. The action of a fretted note versus an open string is different for some. Randy Rhoads and Tony Iommi are masters of the trills in lead work to me. Good stuff.
#10
apple head, nice i remember when you were new on this site, now your submitting awesome threads and such! nice
#11
Could you please give me some songs that use bass trills. I love trills but never really hear them played on Bass.

Good Lesson
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#12
didgin out by jamiroquai uses a cool trill line. theres a tab on this site.
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