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What are Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, and other Slurs on the Guitar?

What are Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, and other Slurs on the Guitar?


3/4/2021
 
Hammer-ons and pull-offs are performed by hitting or pulling the string with the left hand so that right hand does not need to pick. When played well, slurs add a smoothness or legato to the sound. From Vivaldi's Concerto For Lute in D or Pearl Jam's Yellow Ledbetter, slurs are integral to the sound of some of the greatest music written.
 
Even while writing this article, I know that I'm going to be correcting this common mistake for as long as I teach lessons. Most guitar students have no idea how to play slurs. Among guitarists, slurs are more commonly labeled as one of the following: hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides.   
 
So many guitarists struggle with slurs! So many things can go wrong until you know what to do. Let's tackle this beast.
 
1) They're called "hammer-ons" for a reason. 
 
Let's do a hammer-on together to get...
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Why do guitarists hate flat keys?

Why do guitarists hate flat keys?

Steve Newbrough


1/28/2021

Guitarists, knowingly or not, hate flat keys because each flat in a key signature removes an open string as a note choice. This literally makes it harder to play since the musician must fret more notes. 

 
Let's take the G chord vs. the A flat chord as an example. Using the six string first position version of G we have three closed notes and three open strings.
 
 
 
In the A flat chord, no matter how you swing it, there are zero open strings. 
 
Here's a typical way that a guitarist would hold an A flat chord:
 
 
 
 
Here's a crazy way for a guitarist to play an A flat chord:
 
 
 
If you thought the A flat was difficult to play consider that we don't usually play flat chords inside of sharp keys. That means that if you're playing an A flat chord it's likely that you're also playing in a flat key with other flat chords that are equally difficult.
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