This Lesson Written by Jamie Humphries

In this Lesson, we expand your vocabulary further and help increase your speed with some pentatonic hammer-on and pull-off sequences

In this lesson, we’re going to look at the left-hand slur technique in a little more depth. For those of you who caught last month’s installment of Rock Guitar Made easy, you’ll have noticed that this topic was covered loosely, as I included a few slurs in our solo. So now we’ll be concentrating on hammer­ons and pull-offs based around the minor pentatonic scale, and we’ll use a series of pentatonic sequences to help build up your speed and dexterity.

A PENTATONIC SEQUENCE is a repeating melodic pattern based around the pentatonic scale. The pattern is normally made up from a two or three-string sequence that is repeated across all six strings. – Pro Tips

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For those of you unfamiliar with this approach, a left-hand slur is a technique that enables you to perform lines and sequences with a smooth flowing transition between notes, as opposed to alternate picking where each note is picked. You can use this technique for fast flurries of notes, or to build excitement during a solo by using one of the many pentatonic sequences. Pentatonic sequences are also a great way of developing speed – just make sure you practise with a metronome!

Let’s now look at the basic technique of the hammer-on and pull-off. A hammer-on is performed by picking the starting note and hammering another finger to sow1d a new note, more often than not on the same string. I’d advise using the fu1ger-per-fret technique, whereby if you’re fretting a note with your first finger, I.O raise it by a semitone you will use your second finger, use your third finger to raise it by a tone, and your fourth finger to raise it by a tone and a half. Make sure all the other strings are muted to avoid w1wantecl notes ringing out, and always hammer with your fingertips, I.O produce a clear, clean note.
A pull-off is the opposite of a hammer-on, and you will use this technique to sound a note lower than your starting note. Start off by picking your first note. When you fret this note make sure you have a finger in place on the note that you want to pull off to. You will then pull the starting note finger off of the string to sound the Lower Note.

Again, try to use the finger perfect technique, this time in reverse. It’ll help you with tons of other stuff.
So now that we’ve had a quick introduction to the mechanics of the basic techniques, let’s look at E minor:

I have also included some pattern fragments, so
that you can see how these examples could be used practically EXAMPLE in a musical situation.

Example 1 is a simple Paul Gilbert-style pattern that ascends using a triplet rhythm. This pattern uses both hammer-on and pull-off techniques and serves as a great exercise to help you develop speed. Take care “with the muting in this pattern; make sure the open strings are kept quiet. The lick finishes off with a bend on the B string to give it a more musical feel.

Example 2 is the descending version of Example 1. Once again, this uses a triplet rhythm and is made up of both hammer-on and pull-off techniques.

Example 3 is a cool sixteenth-note pattern that repeats on each string. This one may take a little extra work due to the speed, but after a while, you should start to sound like Ozzy Osbourne’s late, great guitarist Randy Rhoads.

Example 4 is the descending version of Example 3. Once again take care with I.he speed. I’d advise practising this quite slowly, as many players and playing this type of pattern backwards very tricky.

Example 5 is a sixteenth note string skipping exercise, similar to something that. Eric Johnson or Paul Gilbert might play. This type of lick is again pretty tricky to play cleanly, as you may find that you hit the strings that you are skipping, so take care with the muting and practice it slowly to start with. I’ve also included some melodic bends 6 to give it a more musical feel.

Example 6 is a sixteenth note loop pattern based around a Paul Gilbert-style pattern. This lick is also good for developing speed and to building tension during a solo. Try moving this exercise on to other string groups.

Example 7 is another sixteenth note loop pattern that crosses three strings at a time. Once again practice slowly to start with to help develop speed, and then try it on the remaining string groups.

Example 8 is our final pattern and is quite a challenge as the pattern formula changes halfway through. This pattern also includes some string skips. This type of lick is the result of mixing up different pentatonic sequences and is common in many of Paul Gilbert’s solos. I have also outlined the D5 chord at the end of the progression, to make the exercise sound melodic. As always, take it super slow, to begin with.

Once you’ve worked through all of the examples, try playing them in different keys. If you get to the point where you’re feeling confident with that., try to use the remaining four shapes of the pentatonic scale!