Your fav chord hammer on or pull off?

I notice that accomplished guitarists make use of hammer-ons or pull-offs when playing chords (and combinations of both) which spices up the playing. I’m looking to practice and add these to my own playing.

Do you have a favourite chord + hammer on or chord + pull-off (or both) that you have used that you’d like to share? Please share the chord shape and what fret and string you are hammering or pulling off, or both. If there are JG lesson(s) that deal with this, please let me know.


What lesson is that? I’ve seen hammer on pulloffs for notes on leads but never on chords :thinking:

Andrew there is some great information in this thread from Lieven, which may help


Yeah - not sure if I used the correct terminology? Here is a simple example that I use from time to time based on the Eminor open chord - I pull off from the 2nd fret on the D string to an open D, then hammer back onto the E (2nd fret, D string)…

I’m looking for other ideas (which I realise will be dependent on key and chord) that might help embellish my playing and writing.

I’m struggling to learn A Man Misunderstood by Skyscraper Stan (Melbourne) :roll_eyes:
The D-string hammer on (A minor chord) is integral to the intro and bits between the verses.
Sounds even better with the following muted hits :smiley:

My goto embellishment is a pull off/hammer on 2nd string 1st fret on an Am chord.

Good question.

Hammer-on & flick-off combinations that are all over guitar music …

A - sus2 & sus4
Am - open & 2nd on D and G strings plus open & 1st on B string
C - open and 2nd on D string plus open and 2nd on G string (involves moving second finger off D string temporarily)
D - sus2 & sus4
E - sus4
Em - open and 2nd on A string plus open and 2nd on D string
G - open and 2nd on G string plus open & 1st on B string

Check out Justin’s lesson for One (U2).

A good start for chord ‘embellishments’ at 10:41

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Hi Andrew,
CHORD SHAPE EXPLORER section is your friend here…
I think I like them all equally and think they sound good…with the A-shape barree I do the least and I think I play the rest daily…here’s an example of the G … I played this just outside without an amplifier and not warmed up so it wasn’t that smooth …, but it’s about the idea … not the quality.

@AndrewAntipodes the best way to learn chord embellishments is to learn songs that use them. Here’s a few that Justin has lessons to get started. Patience G and R, If it makes you happy Sheryl Crow, Magaritaville Jimmy Buffit.

Any and all of them. I don’t feel compelled to play any chord, progression or song any certain kind of way. I can’t even think of any chord (or triad chord) that can’t be twiddled with in some kind of useful and interesting way. Bar chords are probably the least adaptable in this regard because most of your fingers are tied up spanning a full set of frets.

It boils down to practice – play a chord and try adding different embellishments. Hammer on/pull off with each fret, or lay a free finger down here or there (the pinky finger is the champion here). For me there are too many cool things to do to even list here. You are only limited by your own imagination, inventiveness and skill.

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I use a lot of Am

The ones showed there using Am and C, adding

  • 3rd fret of 2nd (b)string
  • 3rd fret of 1 (e) string
    to create C,Cadd9, Am, Am7, A sus4…
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Am I misunderstanding something in this thread? My perception of what hammer ons and pull offs are? I think of adding or lifting from a fret in a way that the new tone rings without picking or strumming the affected string. What I see being described in this thread generally isn’t that. I don’t know if the way I’ve described this makes sense, but what I’m seeing described is simply adding or lifting a finger before the next strum.

I love them all, like the children they are.

Mark you are either hammering on as the chord rings out after you have strummed it or pulling off in a similar way. So if you strum on beat one, you could be hammering on anyone of the “e + a” for example for a 16th note feel. So you add an additional note by pulling or hammering as the note rings. Or it could be a full strum with a little added texture. Both ways work fine, its just a matter of experimenting. :sunglasses:

I was just trying to clarify the definition. To me, if you add or lift a finger just before strumming to get a different sound on the next strum, rather than adding or lifting in a way that makes the note ring without strumming, that’s not a hammer on / pull off.

@markr31, don’t do anything that you don’t want to do or that doesn’t make sense to you. It’s OK. My world view is to not limit ones-self with strict definitions or within the confines of a particular member’s question. Hammer-ons and pull-offs are simply cliches that add interest to guitar playing as do any number of other things. If we get a little adventurous with these embellishments, it can add a lot of flavor to our playing.

Okay, I’m clearly not communicating my question. The terms “hammer-on” and “pull-off” can’t just mean whatever you want them to mean. It has nothing whatever to do with what I’m comfortable with. I wanted to understand what the question was, and what the responses were referring to, but that’s apparently not going to happen. So I give up.

@markr31 :wink:

Read, Toby’s response again. He is saying that inbetween strums you can apply hammer ons and pull offs to make notes ring to add a bit of spice and variety.

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