Lead Guitar Lesson 8 - Hammer Ons, More Speed and Song 8

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In this video

Welcome to day 8 of this free 10 day lead guitar challenge!

In this lesson, we'll look at how to do hammer ons, which are how we can play much faster without even having to pick notes! We'll then learn the lead part from the song 'Joker And The Thief' by the band Wolfmother.

Hammer ons are another great tool for guitarists, along with slides and bends, and is another way we can make our lead work more expressive and exciting.

This technique requires fretting hand strength, whilst the picking hand mostly plays single notes. Synchronisation is really important here, as between every single note played, the hammer ons need to be evenly timed until the next single note is played.

Lead part

We can actually produce the sound of a note on the fretboard without picking a string by pressing down (with a little force) with our fretting hand on any note. It may be a faint sound at the moment but when we include picking the same string, it creates some momentum helping hammer on notes sound out clearer.

For this riff:

  • The left hand plays string 4 and 3 only (D and G string)

  • The hammer on technique helps us play notes that are further apart on the fretboard with a smooth, fluid motion

For the first section of this riff, start by:

  • Picking string 4

  • 'Hammer' with the first finger on fret 5

  • Then, hammer on with the third finger on fret 7

Same again for the second section of this riff

  • Pick string 3

  • 'Hammer' with the first finger on fret 5

  • Then, hammer on with the third finger on fret 7

Hammer on warm up

We need to warm up our fingers before playing any time and in this case, to warm up the fingers individually

  • Play string 4 open

  • Then hammer on with first finger a few times, focussing on getting a nice clear sound

  • Try using the third finger repeating the same idea

Hammer on - key technique points

  • Thumb over the top of the neck

  • Fretting hand and fingers ready in A minor pentatonic position

  • Use first and third finger, as these are stronger fingers and allow some stretch across notes

  • Place fingers on the side of the fret closest to you

  • Finger tip position, as with our normal playing of chords or scales

  • Amp tone: Enough gain to help notes sustain, but not too much that it is too noisy and distracting

The aim is to get the hammer on notes sounding a similar volume to that first picked open note and for the hammer ons to be evenly spread out. This really creates the speed and clarity we are looking for!

See you for Day 9, where we are delving into the wonderful world of guitar effects!

Next Up: Lead Guitar Lesson 9 - How to Use Delay and Song 9

Well done! Let's jump into the next lesson of the course.

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