Using Slurs in Fiddle Tunes

Learn to maintain the right pick direction when playing hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides.

Here’s one thing that can throw off your pick direction in a fiddle tune: slurs, otherwise known as hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides. Play through Examples 7 and 8 and notice that the slur takes place of a pick stroke.


To maintain the right pick direction, you’ll have to follow the missing pick stroke with the correct stroke. If the slur takes the place of a downstroke, as in Example 7, you’ll follow it with an upstroke. And if the slur takes the place of an upstroke, as in Example 8, follow it with a downstroke. One way to ensure you get this right is to actually move your pick above the strings as you play the slur.

Excerpted from Bluegrass Guitar Essentials

Scott Nygaard
Scott Nygaard

Grammy-winning guitarist Scott Nygaard has decades of teaching, performing, and recording experience. He is a former editor of Acoustic Guitar magazine and the author of Fiddle Tunes and Folk Songs.

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