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.
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.