An exercise designed to help you learn and practice playing hammer ons smoothly and cleanly out of the G Pentatonic scale. The goal is to smooth out your pulled off notes to be an even volume with your picked notes.
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- Okay, we're gonna jump in here with an exercise, and you can download tab for this, and read along with me. It's a exercise for learning hammer-ons. We've mentioned before that a lot of these basic scale forms and things that we've worked on earlier are gonna start applying to tunes and things that we're learning later. What we're going to do now is combine what we just learned about hammer-ons and the concept about them. This exercise works basically right out of a G-pentatonic scale.
Here's what's going on. If you're looking at the tab there, I'll show it to you slowly. It starts on the low G and then we play the open A. All these are gonna be down strokes as well. Into the open A. The hammer-on is B. I'm not playing the B. The finger's doing all the work there. We're following the G-pentatonic pattern. Just to get your hands familiar, you can run that.
I'm going to read through that exercise now with that basic pattern in mind. Here's a picked G, pick on the A, hammer onto the B, pick on the open D, hammer on E, pick on the G, hammer onto the A, pick on the open B, and then open E, to G, and then open E, and then work our way back down.
This is a little bit of a more of a pattern picking kinda thing, where we play the open D after this first hammer-on, and then the low G to end the exercise. Once again, when I'm hammering on, I'm not playing the note at all. You can say all that note is made ... Just made with the left hand. We're gonna add a little bit of rhythm, but before we do, the concept of ...
The next level of concept, once you sort of get used to how these hammer-ons feel and how they sound, and again, the goal is to try to make each note consistent. Every note you wanna play in flat-picking, at least starting out, needs to have a glide effect, of a consistency of note value, and volume, and tone. Those are things to build. It may not happen at first, but it's certainly a goal. I'm going to show you this exercise at 50 beats a minute.
We'll start the metronome now. Here's what it sounds like in rhythm. Three, four. One more time. That's the exercise at 50 beats a minute.
One of the things you wanna think about as you practice is not trying to force the note with a metronome. You may play a little bit of rhythm. We'll start the metronome again at 50. I'll show you, this is a good way to practice all these exercises that we're gonna do in songs. So, boom-truck, boom-chuck at 50 beats a minute. When you feel like you're kinda locked in with the metronome, then jump out.
The next challenge, we'll stop the metronome, and we'll put it at 60 beats a minute. About 60. We'll add 10 beats a minute, and we'll make it a little more challenging, and so here's what that sounds like. Again, we want our approach to flat-picking to try to start as naturally and loose. as possible. Here's some rhythm. Here's the exercise. Three, four.
All right, so that's great. Basically, what I'm trying to do, the two things that I think are the key elements of an exercise like this, first is a sense of rhythm. We talked about having a rhythmic picking hand, even when you're not just strumming. Applying those same concepts and applying that feel, it's physically with how your hands feels when it's playing rhythm. You wanna build a technique to where it feels similar when you're playing sing-a-note lead.
That's what I'm thinking about rhythmically. As far as tone and the sound I'm producing, I'm thinking about making those hammered notes as loud as the picked notes. One of the things you may work on is actually playing it a little more forceful, and really, one level, trying to produce a lot of sound. You can overemphasize it when you're practicing, and really listen for where ...
For what your hands are doing. If you feel like the notes aren't consistent, just go back to working. One of the reasons that we're using this pentatonic scale is that hopefully by now, you've practiced these things, and it's just basically along that form. Nothing's gonna change about that. We're just, we're applying embellishments, and really making that flat-picking style take off with these kind of things. We've got a couple more embellishments to get into, and we'll move there now.
Watch at your own pace; start and stop where and when you need. Everything that Bryan breaks down he puts back together in chapters 4 and 5, where he shows how to apply what you've learned to a selection of popular bluegrass tunes that are important for the repertoire of any bluegrass guitarist.
Note: This course was recorded and produced by ArtistWorks. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Chord theory
- The major and pentatonic scales
- Walking bass technique
- Reading tablature
- Beginning hammer-ons and pull-offs
- Beginning slide guitar
- Using a capo
- Playing traditional bluegrass tunes