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Dobro Lessons: Hammer-ons and Pull-offs

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Well, it's about high time I think we get
into some hammer-ons and pull-offs.
It's an integral part of playing modern
Dobro and
it's something that we've actually been
using in a few of the lessons up til now,
but hadn't really talked about.
So, I thought we'd get in depth with it
here for a little bit.
And so a hammer-on and
a pull-off is basically something you use
in conjunction with an open string.
It's when you use the bar actually to
create notes not just plucking with your
So, a hammer-on is when you pluck a string
[SOUND] and then set your bar down.
You don't play it twice, you just play it
[SOUND] But the act of setting the bar
down on the string sort of
creates a second note.
[SOUND] So that's a hammer-on.
A pull-off is just the opposite where you
[SOUND] pluck the note and
then pull the bar off of the string to
create another note.
So you [SOUND] play a note closed and then
you pull the bar off.
[SOUND] Now the pull-off requires, maybe a
little bit more delicate motion.
You [SOUND] fret the note, play it [SOUND]
then sorta give just a little, [SOUND]
give it just a little flick.
[SOUND] And I'm pulling sorta toward me.
I, I don't just [SOUND] pull straight up.
Because that creates sort of a little
sizzle on the note, you can hear it.
[SOUND] A little zang there.
If you pull back away from the string, it
actually makes a much cleaner pull-off.
[SOUND] So you can practice a little bit
of that.
The hammer-on is pretty self explanatory.
[SOUND] There's nothing too detailed to
know with that,
you just strike a note [SOUND] and then
place your bar cleanly down on the string.
So with these hammer-ons and pull-offs,
it can really help you increase your speed
quite a bit.
So, I've got some exercises here
that we can use to help us sort of get
accustomed to it.
So you can either look at your music or
you can just learn by ear.
And I'll make a mention, you know,
I've got a lot of tablature associated
with these exercises.
And I find it really helpful as do a lot
of folks.
But if tablature isn't really your thing,
then you're gonna be learning by ear.
And so that's a great thing to do as well.
If you if you've been learning by tab and
you want to try learning by ear for
a while, that's great.
I'll go at a, at a nominal speed and
hopefully you can catch what's going on
So but if you refer to the tablature, it
gives just a lot more detail.
So I'll go ahead and go over some of these
exercises one at a time.
So here's the first one.
Now these are all in the key of G.
And this first one is just a little
hammer-on on
the first fret of the second string.
A hammer-on and a pull-off.
[SOUND] So, you hammer-on, [SOUND] quickly
Just like that.
So then you can do one on a higher string.
That's hammering on the second fret
of the highest string and a pull-off
Fretting the first fret of the second
string and then [SOUND] sliding up to the
fourth fret of the third string.
In the second line,
we've got one that goes a little bit
That uses a few different strings, so
you've got a hammer-on and a pull-off on
the high string.
And then a pull off on the second string.
So you can sort of follow the scale
down and up with these patterns.
another one.
Now that one's just all hammer-ons,
there's no pull-offs involved in that one.
So usually, the way I look at is when
you're going up the scale,
you're gonna be using hammer-ons.
When you're going down the scale, you're
gonna be using pull-offs.
So this particular exercise, the end of
the second line is all hammer-ons.
And you also may be wondering well,
how do I do this with my right-hand?
What fingers should I use?
When you're going from low to high,
[SOUND] a lot of times,
what I'll do is I always start with a
That's easy enough.
[SOUND] And then the next string, I'll use
my index finger.
Also, easy enough.
And then the next string, I'll use my
And then on that particular one,
I use my middle again on the highest
what you can do is you can use your index
and sort of walk with my fingers.
Watch this.
You see these two kinda go on back and
forth trading.
So that's one way to do that.
Here's another one.
That's sort of the opposite,
it's all pull-offs.
Here's another one.
That's going all the way from the lowest
string to the highest.
Mostly, hammer-ons here.
I'm using that sorta walking motion with
these two fingers.
You may find a better way to use your
right-hand for that,
that's just what works for me.
So here's one that uses a triplet feel,
it sounds like this.
So that's, what a triplet is,
it's playing three notes in the space of
Where if we were using regular quarter
notes, it would be.
With a triplet, it's.
[SOUND] So it's three notes in the space
of two.
So triplets is something you'll start to
get familiar with and hammer-ons and
pull-offs can really help you in getting
triplets together.
There's another one.
Here's another triplet one.
So you can notice,
you're really just using the lower frets
for these hammer-ons and
pull-offs right now and it's all based off
of the G scale here.
So you can start to combine these and
lengthen your phrases, like this.
So you can sort of make
these different patterns.
Here's all of those combined.
Let's play that one more time,
I'll slow it down just a little bit.
So you can see how this
can really help you build some speed.
I'll go through a few more.
So that's
a good overview of
hammer-ons and
You can practice these on your own and
make up your own patterns and
you can also use the ones that I've
provided here.