5 Killer Guitar Hammer On and Pull off Techniques

My mind is blank!

As I’m sitting in isolation listening to some nice classical music that will soothe and relax my mind. I can’t seem to think of an opening line.

I’m having brain farts!

So I guess this is what I’m going to begin with. God please help me with this next guitar tutorial. I have the topic but not sure on how to start.

Have you ever had these moments where you don’t know what to say? You have distractions all around you. It’s just hindering you from being creative.

It’s the same with your guitar practice. It should be just you, your guitar, and your tools. Distractions cause you to lose focus and thus your progress becomes stagnate and your process diminishes.

Let’s get to the tutorial before my brain starts farting all over the place. Haha

Here are the 5 ultimate guitar hammer on and pull off exercises.

Tools of the trade:

  1. Your mind
  2. Your focus
  3. Your guitar
  4. Your plan
  5. Your metronome
  6. Your timer
  7. Your recorder
  8. Your music of study

I hope I haven’t left anything out. Let’s begin

Exercise 1: 1-3 Finger Hammer On

Hammer ons are a very important technique for all stinged instruments not just guitar. It provides for different sounds and also flexiblility for certain guitar passages you will encounter in you guitar career.

In the diagram below the 1-3 indicates your first and third fingers of your fretting hand. What you do is place your first finger on the top E string on the 1st fret. Then you down pick the string with your picking hand.

Click on audio


1-3 Finger Hammer On Guitar Hammer on

The audio sounds like I keep playing and that’s because I keep shifting  to the right to the following fret.

The “H” means to hammer the following note with your 3rd finger. I’ll keep on explaining.

As you allow the note to ring, your 3rd finger will come down and tap the 3rd fret of that same string without picking it. The force of your 3rd finger hammering down on the string will cause the note to ring.

It’s tough at first because you will not have enough strength in your fingers if you’re just a beginner.

They key is to remember as you hammer with your 3rd finger is to not move or lift your 1st finger. Many of my beginning students don’t have the the practice and flexibility to keep that 1st finger down. They have to keep on practicing and relaxing their hands.

Keeping that 1st finger down is a must for this technique to be effective.

Remember as you cover the first fret descending down the strings approaching the bottom string you are then going to jump up to the top string on the 2nd fret using the same fingerings of course, descend down and again you are going to jump to the top E string to the 3rd fret, following the same patterns and fingerings.

Every time you are going to shift to the following fret and keep on going until you run out of guitar neck.

Exercise 2: Open Hammer Pick

This is a cool technique that sounds pretty retro-ish if that’s a word. It will allow various rhythms, notes and patterns to be played in any way you want just as long as you understand the concept.

Don’t let the diagram freak you out it’s rather simple once you get it.

Click on audio

open hammer pick guitar hammer on

The “0” represents an open string to be down picked without the use of your fretting hand. The “H” you already know what that means. The numbers above show you what fingers to use the numbers below the diagram represents what frets to use.

Next, you hammer on the 3rd fret  with your 1st finger, then you up pick the exact same note.

Now what you do is follow the exact same concept with everything else. They call these patterns triplets.

Exercise 3: Open Hammer

This exercise is simple but effective. All you have to do is apply open hammer but using all 4 of your fingers one at a time.

Just alternate each finger starting with your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, then 4th finger this will strengthen all of your digits. I mean your fingers.

Click on audio

open guitar hammer on

You can see in this exercise that I don’t finish up the last two bottom strings but the audio captures it.

Take your time practicing these exercises it’s not a race it’s a marathon.

Exercise 4: 3-1 Open Hammer Pull Offs

Just like in exercise 1 we are going to move in the opposite direction. To make this exercise work our 1st and 3rd have got be down fretting the notes.

the “PO” means Pull Offs.

Click on audio

open guitar hammer pull offs

Now, with both fingers down you down pick the first note and just release your 3rd finger keeping the 1st finger down at all times. Make sure your fingers are firmly pressing the down on the strings. This will allow the 1st fret note to ring without you needing to pick it.

As you start this exercise on the top string you keep descending to the following string using the same concept and then the next string and so forth.

Quite a simple technique and if done correctly it will open up a whole new world of musical possibilities.

The point is not to stay on the same frets but to cover the entire guitar neck.

Exercise 5: Legato 1234

The legato technique will create really smooth musical lines in your playing. All the work is done with hammer ons mostly.

Click on audio

Legato 1234 guitar hammer on

Down pick the 1st note, then hammer the next note with your 2nd finger, then the 3rd then the 4th. The more this exercise is used you will achieve Arnold Shwarzenneger fingers and you’ll crush every lick that comes your way.

Just like excercise 3 you’ll have to descend to the following string and so forth.

Click on the audio to check it out.

Yes, it’s kind of tough at first but this is how the pros do it, they stay the course until they achieve success. Persistence is a big factor especially when your fingers aren’t working like you would want them too.


Practice is a process that most of aren’t really fond of but it is a real necessity. There are 3 D’s that we need to have and they are: desire, dedication and discipline.

I’ve written and created a comic about the 3 D’s it’s pretty funny check it out here.

I hope this tutorial has helped you tons in your guitar journey and if you dig it please share it or post a comment below and let me know what you think.

Thanks and God Bless



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