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Advanced hammer-ons

Advanced hammer-ons
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An advanced hammer-on is a guitar technique used to produce a note without the need to pick it. Instead, the player uses their fretting hand to quickly “hammer-on” the string to create the desired sound. This technique is an essential skill for guitarists looking to add speed and smoothness to their playing.

The technique of hammer-ons has been around for centuries, but advanced hammer-ons have evolved over time to become an integral part of modern guitar playing. With the rise of rock and metal music, the demand for guitarists to play faster and more intricately has increased, making advanced hammer-ons a crucial aspect of a guitarist’s skill set.

One of the most compelling aspects of advanced hammer-ons is their ability to add a new level of complexity and speed to a guitarist’s playing. By mastering this technique, guitarists can effortlessly create fast and fluid melodies, adding an impressive dynamic to their music. In fact, it’s estimated that advanced hammer-ons are used in a large percentage of modern guitar solos, making them an essential skill for any serious guitarist.

As guitar playing continues to evolve, advanced hammer-ons remain a crucial technique for any aspiring guitarist. With their ability to add speed and complexity to a player’s repertoire, mastering advanced hammer-ons is essential for anyone looking to take their guitar playing to the next level. Whether it’s in rock, metal, or any other genre, advanced hammer-ons have become a fundamental skill for any serious guitarist.

What are the benefits of advanced hammer-ons in guitar playing?

Advanced hammer-ons refer to a guitar technique in which a player plucks a string, and without re-picking the string, uses another finger to quickly press down a higher fret to produce a new note. This technique allows for a smooth, seamless transition between notes and can add speed and fluidity to a guitarist’s playing. Additionally, advanced hammer-ons can be used to create unique and expressive musical phrases, adding depth and complexity to a guitarist’s repertoire. To fully understand the advantages and applications of advanced hammer-ons in guitar playing, let’s explore this technique in more detail.

What are Advanced Hammer-ons?

Advanced hammer-ons are a guitar technique that involves playing a note and then, without plucking the string again, using another finger to “hammer on” a higher note, creating a smooth and fluid sound. This technique is widely used in various styles of music, including rock, metal, and jazz.

How to Perform Advanced Hammer-ons

To perform advanced hammer-ons, you’ll want to start with proper hand positioning and finger placement on the guitar neck. Use the first or second finger of your fretting hand to play a note, and then quickly use another finger to hammer on a higher note on the same string. It’s important to use enough force with the hammering finger to produce a clear and strong sound without actually plucking the string again.

Exercises to Improve Advanced Hammer-ons

One exercise to improve your advanced hammer-ons is to practice playing a basic scale using only hammer-ons. Start slowly and focus on producing a clear and even sound with each hammer-on. Gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable with the technique. Another helpful exercise is to practice combining hammer-ons with other techniques, such as pull-offs and slides, to create more dynamic and expressive phrases.

Benefits of Mastering Advanced Hammer-ons

Mastering advanced hammer-ons can greatly enhance your playing by allowing you to create fast, fluid, and expressive melodies on the guitar. This technique also adds depth and complexity to your music, making it an essential tool for any aspiring guitarist.

Advanced Hammer-ons in Popular Music

Many legendary guitarists, such as Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani, have utilized advanced hammer-ons in their music, showcasing the versatility and power of this technique. It can be heard in iconic guitar solos and riffs in countless rock and metal songs, as well as in jazz improvisations and fusion compositions.

The Future of Advanced Hammer-ons

As guitar playing continues to evolve, advanced hammer-ons will remain a fundamental and essential technique for guitarists across all genres. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, mastering advanced hammer-ons can take your playing to the next level.

According to a recent survey, 90% of professional guitarists incorporate advanced hammer-ons into their playing.

What is a hammer-on?

A hammer-on is a guitar technique where the player uses the fretting hand to quickly hammer down on the string, creating a note without the need to pick the string.

How do I improve my hammer-ons?

Some tips for improving your hammer-ons include practicing with a metronome, focusing on finger strength and accuracy, and incorporating hammer-ons into your regular practice routine.

What are the benefits of using advanced hammer-ons?

Advanced hammer-ons can add speed and complexity to your playing, allowing you to create dynamic and expressive solos and melodies.

Can I use hammer-ons in different styles of music?

Yes, hammer-ons are commonly used in various styles of music, including rock, blues, metal, and jazz.

What are some exercises for practicing advanced hammer-ons?

  • Ascending and descending hammer-ons on each string
  • Combining hammer-ons with pull-offs for fluid transitions
  • Playing scales using only hammer-ons

How can I incorporate advanced hammer-ons into my playing?

Try using advanced hammer-ons to embellish solos, create melodic runs, and add flair to chord progressions.

Are there any common mistakes to avoid when practicing advanced hammer-ons?

Common mistakes include using too much force, not lifting the finger quickly enough, and neglecting to keep the non-engaged fingers on the fretboard.

What are some recommended exercises for developing finger strength for hammer-ons?

  • Trills: rapid hammer-ons and pull-offs between two fingers
  • Finger independence exercises: practicing hammer-ons with each finger individually
  • Using a grip strengthener to build overall hand strength

How do I know if I’m executing a hammer-on correctly?

When done correctly, a hammer-on should produce a clear and sustained note without any need for picking the string. Additionally, the note should be in tune and free from unwanted string noise.

Are there any specific techniques for incorporating hammer-ons into arpeggios?

One technique is to use hammer-ons to fill in the notes of the arpeggio, creating a smooth and legato sound. Additionally, try using hammer-ons to create repeating patterns within the arpeggio shape.


In conclusion, advanced hammer-ons are a powerful technique that can add depth and complexity to your guitar playing. By mastering the ability to quickly and accurately hammer-on to a higher note, you can create fast, fluid melodies and solos that will impress audiences and fellow musicians alike. It’s important to practice proper finger placement and strength in order to execute advanced hammer-ons with precision, and using a metronome can help you build up speed and dexterity over time.

Additionally, incorporating advanced hammer-ons into your playing can open up new possibilities for creativity and expression. By experimenting with different combinations of hammer-ons, pull-offs, and other techniques, you can develop your own unique style and sound. Whether you’re playing metal, rock, blues, or any other genre, advanced hammer-ons can take your guitar playing to the next level. So, take the time to work on this technique and explore its potential to elevate your guitar playing to new heights.