How to Play Notes Legato with Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, and Slides

Posted by Alex de Grassi

Hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides provide a great way to play notes legato, or connected to one another. They can also be used to con­nect grace notes to the primary notes of a musical line. These legato techniques can also be considered an articulation in themselves—especially when they are used to embellish a musical phrase.

Articulating a Melody ex2_3: Alex de Grassi Fingerstyle Method
Click to enlarge.

The melody in Example 2 is very plain, consisting of only half notes and quarter notes. Play it through a few times, using an alternating i–m pattern for the picking hand, and reversing the pattern to m–i on the repeat. In Example 3, embellishments have been added using hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides to create a more textured and articulated melody with a greater sense of movement and rhythm. Note that the fretting-hand fin­gering has changed in measures 5 and 6 to accommodate the slide, moving the hand into second position.

Excerpted from The Alex de Grassi Fingerstyle Guitar Method

Receive lessons, songs, advice, and news like this straight to your inbox

Join the How to Play Notes Legato with Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, and Slides discussion

Get all things acoustic guitar in your inbox with our free newsletters. Your E-mail: