Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs on Open Chords

This lesson explains what notes you can add to your chords, using hammer-ons and pull-offs. This will decorate your chord and make it sound much more interesting!

Ultimate Guitar
This lesson is gonna be really interesting for those who play a lot of open chords. So probably for everyone. I'm gonna talk about decorating your chords, in such a manner that it sounds so more interesting and will be much more fun to play.

Often the guitar is used to support a vocalist, or a melody, but no one tells us to just play boring chords, so we can easily enliven them little bit! And a very pleasant way of doing that is using hammer-ons and pull-offs on open chords.

In this lesson I am using an super cheesy progression which is used a lot in modern pop music, so you will see these chords repeatedly.

G majorĀ  - E minor - C major - D major

The key is to know what notes will sound good with the chords you are using, and finding a finger you can miss in the chord.

This progression is in the key of G major, so we can use all notes in the scale of G major. To make it a little bit facile, we are only using notes of the pentatonic G major scale.
All this little dots will to a certain degree sound good in every chord we are gonna play!

How fun is that? - So we can just change the chords we are playing? Does that not affect the chord?!

It's about resolving the tension we are creating with those notes, so it does not change the chord. See it as a melody on top of a chord.

It's wise to leave your root note the note the chord is build upon on the fret, so that you will always perceive the chord as being a G chord.

Try adding those notes to your chords, and see what it does to the sound!

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4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is a great technique, particularly when you're playing by yourself and want to add some pizzazz to country/folk songs...or any songs for that matter.