PLAY BETTER - Add hammer-ons to your chords

Trying to make three average chords sound great? Try adding hammer-ons to them.

A hammer-on is an ascending slur created by hammering down with your finger after playing a note. Try playing the fifth string open and then hammer down with your finger on the second fret. Hear the second sound? Two notes played smooth and connected. Keep your finger firm on the note after hammering.

This technique is used regularly in solo electric guitar playing and can be used successfully in chord playing. Watch the video to hear the sound when the third beat of the bar is hammered, giving a 'three and' sound on that beat.

Use the TAB Sheet to play an E minor chord. Pick the sixth string, strum the top three strings, then pick the open fifth string and hammer-on the second fret. Finally strum the top three strings again. Count it 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Try the exercise with the Am, Dm and E7 chord progression. It really gives these three basic chords a lift.


PLAY BETTER - Mark Wilkes


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