Meet the “Hammer-On from Nowhere”

Of the infinite number of cool things about the guitar, among the coolest are the many means of articulation possible for producing and expressing notes.

More often than not, notes are picked, plucked, slapped, popped, tapped, slid in to, pulled off to or hammered-on to from another note. But there is another oft-overlooked technique that can add slippery finesse, intervallic interest and muscular, musically arousing power to your playing: the “hammer-on from nowhere.”

The technique is simple. Instead of picking a string to play a note when crossing to a new string, the fret hand produces the note on the new string by hammering it down. Like pick hand tapping, but with the fret hand creating the note with an unused finger, the “hammer-on from nowhere” technique allows for a unique, smooth efficiency.


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