Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs

Learning To Use the Hammer-On and Pull-Off Keys

  • The keyboard interface in FingerpickPro is laid out in such a way as to give the central place to the six String Keys. But this is only the beginning. You are not limited to playing only the notes of the chord, but can also do hammer-ons and pull-offs, which add greatly to the appeal of the music.
  • The Hammer-On/Pull-Off Keys (abbreviated as HOPO Keys) are found on the keys above and below the String Keys, thus:

Hammer-On from Below / Pull-Off from Above

  • You will notice that the Hammer-On Key is always the next key below the String Key, and the Pull-Off Key is always the next key above the String Key. This is to more naturally represent the fact that on a guitar you hammer-on from below on the fretboard and pull-off from above the note on the fretboard.

HOPO Notes Are Always Notes in the Scale

  • The HOPO notes are always notes in the scale (not accidentals). So for example, in the Key of 'C' Instrument no matter what the chord note is the HOPO notes will always be from the notes C, D, E, F, G, A and B. This applies even with chords that include notes that are not in the scale. So for example the Key of 'C' Instrument includes the chords Bb and D major. These chords are not ‘natural’ to the C major scale since they include accidentals. This means that when hammering-on from or pulling-off to one of the accidentals the HOPO note will still always be a note in the C major scale.

HOPO Notes Are Always at Least Two Semitones from the Chord Note

  • In addition, hammer-ons and pull-offs have been restricted to notes that are at least one full tone, that is, two or three semitones above or below the chord note. This has been done so as to make the keyboard layout simpler and the All-Chord Midi File system more consistent and predictable.
  • If you want to do a hammer-on or pull-off of only one semitone, you can always use the notes from the Chromatic Keys section of the keyboard layout, or perhaps find the note you want in one of the other chords in the chord select system.

    *In the design of FingerpickPro, no attempt has been made to try and determine whether a hammer-on or pull-off could be done on an actual guitar in the purported position. It would have been too complicated to implement, and too restrictive in practice.

Using MIDI to do Hammer-ons and Pull-offs

  • Let's look now at how to use MIDI to do a hammer-on or pull-off. It is very simple. Let's say the note you are hammering-on or pulling off FROM is a one-eighth note, you make that note ONLY one-eighth note long, and follow immediately with the note you are going TO.
  • Note how each of the notes circled in white is only one-eighth note in length and stops short of the next immediate, adjacent note. In the first bar, the first is a hammer-on from E2 to F2, which is a hammer-on to the 2nd string [string key=F2]. The second is a pull-off from D#2 to D2, which is a pull-off to the 3rd string [string key=D2].
  • In the second bar the first is a pull-off from F#2 to F2, which is a pull-off to the 2nd string [string key=F2], while the second is a hammer-on from G#2 to A2, which is a hammer-on to the 1st string [string key=A2].

Extra String Keys

  • When it comes to hammer-ons and pull-offs involving the extra 'string keys' at D3 and F3 you use exactly the same method.

An Exception in the Key of 'D' Instrument

  • In the Key of 'D' Instrument an exception is made for the D chords. Instead of what would be the 'hammer-on' note on the sixth string, the low D note is used. This makes it easy to create tracks in Drop D Tuning for songs played in the key of D. If you are not familiar with Drop D tuning, it means that the sixth string is tuned down two semitones from the standard E to D.
  • This allows picking patterns that use the low D, which suits some songs very well. So instead of using the normal String Key D1 for the 6th string you would use the key C#1 as an alternate string key, not as a hammer-on key.
  • Just bear in mind that this only affects that one note. If you were playing drop D tuning on a real guitar you would need to adjust the fingering for the other chords to compensate for the changed pitch of the 6th string. In FingerpickPro you ignore all that. The other chords just play as per normal.

Go to the next topic: The Auto-Bass Keys >>>

Return to Manual >>>