Check out these tabs. It includes hammer ons and pull offs but I see a lot of covers for that song on youtube that don't use 'em. They just pick.

Plus I don't know if the original song uses 'em either. How do you figure hammer ons and pull offs in a song?

And where did hammer ons and pull offs come from? Why do you have to use them, why not just pick? Do they make any difference in a song?

  • 1
    Do they sound different?
    – NReilingh
    Jan 22, 2014 at 5:33
  • @NReilingh- yes ,and no.You can make one sound like the other, but they're used more to help the phrasing than to help picking, which they still obviously do.
    – Tim
    Jan 22, 2014 at 9:20
  • 1
    If you are speaking about the "intro," then the tab is wrong. While it is true that a hammer/pull can sound a lot like quick picking, the guitar setup and sound in this particular song really highlights the attack you get from striking the string with a pick. the easiest thing for you to do to test for yourself is to record that passage playing it both ways and then listen for the pick attack.
    – horatio
    Jan 22, 2014 at 18:14
  • @NReilingh Yeah they do, but I am confused, the original song doesn't sound like they use hammer on's or pull off's, but the tabs claim so. From Tim's answer, I figured the original song involves only picking, but I am not sure. Jan 23, 2014 at 3:49

1 Answer 1


They are part of LEGATO playing, along with bends and slides. They SHOULD provide smooth transition from one note to the next. Picked notes generally have an edge to them, so all sound 'attacked'.Whereas hammered-on and pulled-off notes will sound a little more gentle. They are being produced by skin rather than a piece of plastic.

They mean that pick strokes can be fewer when playing, thus speeding things up. They also mean a phrase can be played 'in one breath'. Some forms of playing are expected to use alternate pick strokes, and will sound more authentic played this way. However, in other styles, it's well nigh impossible to tell if certain notes are picked or pulled/hammered.

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