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Do you start a trill with a hammer-on or pull-off?

  • Hammer-on (open string in the example below)

    Votes: 8 53.3%
  • Pull-off (2nd fret in the example below)

    Votes: 2 13.3%
  • Noodles

    Votes: 6 40.0%
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Is Actually Recording
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This was something I noticed over the weekend, for some reason, and have started thinking about - when you play a trill, do you start the trill with a hammer-on or a pull off? For example, if you're trilling on the D string between the open D and a 2nd fret E, do you start the trill by picking the open string or by picking the 2nd string?

I think historically I've been leading with, in this situation, an open string, which gives more of a slurred, behind the beat feel. I'm trying to get the hang of doing it both ways though, as the 2nd fret is a bit more on the beat and a little more aggressive, and feels easier to control for situations where you're going back and forth between trilled notes - say, the outro of SRV's cover of "Little Wing."

Thoughts?
 

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Is Actually Recording
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
By 'hit-on' you mean hammer-on, right? In most cases I start with the lower, fretted note (or open, if the trill is between an open string and a fretted note). Basically, I start with the lower note. But , honestly, besides a bit of work to get them faster, I don't think I've ever really thought about it much.
Yeah, sorry - still on my first morning coffee. I fixed the poll. I've always done that, but I'm trying to work on the former now - it's a little more immediate, somehow. I think there's value in being able to do both, though.
 

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NSLALP
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13,286 Posts
I tend to lead with the note that the trill actually represents. You're technically adding an ornamentation to a note - not playing two notes (unless you're just making noise). So to me that makes the most musical sense.
 

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I have angered the Noodles
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2,662 Posts
I'll usually go with a pull-off, unless for some reason it just sounds wrong, like it was written to start on the lower note.
 

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Guiterrorizer
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I've never thought about it. Now I want to try both ways and see if I notice anything of interest to my playing style.
 
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More seriously I switch it up depending on mood. Ultimately they have a pretty different feel. I also like sliding back and forth over frets and producing trills that way.
 

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Registered
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If its a fretted note and open i just pull off then hammer on and if its 2 fretted notes i hammer on to pull off but i never really thought about it
 

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Hates Richie Kotzen
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I'm pretty sure I always lead with a hammer, that seems more natural.

This is the beastliest/funnest trill workout I know of.

[video]
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There is such a sick trill run somewhere in the intro solo.
 

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Super Moderator
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I hadn't thought about it before this thread, but now that I think about it, I always lead with a hammer-on. It just makes more sense that way.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I voted "Noodles" too, because Noodles is always the answer.

Thinking about this some more last night while I played - the leading note (in a 0h2 trill, the 2) for me is always the "dominant" note. The difference, I guess, then, is mostly whether I start the trill immediately on the downbeat, or kind of slur it by picking the open note as a ghost note leading into the trill, which I guess maybe does a better job explaining why I feel that starting on the 2 is a little more "on" the beat, while the 0 seems to feel a little more laid back and behind the beat to me.

Interesting, though - trilling is something I think very little about, and frankly don't do all that much in my soloing, bluesy or otherwise. Now I'm at least practicing it and thinking about it as a conscious phrasing choice...
 
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