How to do guitar hammer ons [including hammer on from nowhere!]

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  May 20, 2022

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A guitar hammer on is when you use your fretting hand to “hammer” down on the string, creating a note. This technique is commonly used to create faster melodies or to achieve a staccato sound, but is also often used in legato techniques.

To do a guitar hammer on, place your finger on the string you wish to play at the desired fret. Using your picking hand, pluck the string. As the string is still vibrating, use your fretting hand to “hammer” down on the string at the next desired fret. This will create a second note. Continue this process until you have reached the end of your melody or phrase.

What are guitar hammer ons

Hammer on from nowhere

The hammer on from nowhere is an advanced guitar technique where you don’t first pluck the string before you hammer on it. Instead, you use your fretting hand to hammer on the desired note to make it sound, even without the string already vibrating.

This technique is much harder to perform as hammering on without a stable anchor from the first finger is much harder, but also it’s hard to make the note sound loud enough.

It does give new opportunities to create licks, as it provides an easy and fast way to skip strings among other things.

Here are a few exercises you can try:

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.

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