How to Play Killer Licks Without a Pick Van Halen Style

Hi Friend,

One of my worst personal habits
is that I lose stuff.

I’m talking about misplacing guitar picks.
It can get really annoying when you’re trying
to practice!

For the life of me, I can’t figure out
where they all go. It’s kind of like
the missing-sock-in-the-dryer syndrome.

Anyway, right now, I actually have some picks.
But there have times recently where they were
lost underneath the desk, underneath the bed,

When I didn’t have a pick handy, I would just
grab the guitar and play anyway without the pick.

I’m greatful for these experiences
because playing with a pick is only one way
to do it.

Some players like Jeff Beck actually prefer
to play without one, and now I can see why.

You can actually play some killer licks
WITHOUT a pick that would be much harder
to play WITH one.

Not only that, but the feel of the lick,
the phrasing… has a totally different
character to it.

More smooth.

The idea between these “pickless” licks
is to use more hammerons and pullofs
and especially to hammeron to a string
that wasnt used on the previous note.

Eddie Van Halen calls this technique
the “hammer on from nowhere”.

Now, if you don’t even know what a hammeron
or a pullof is, you need to get Killer Lead
Guitar Made Simple, which comes with Guitar Control.

These are like, basic, fundamental lead guitar
techniques that every guitarist should know
how to play.

However, the hammeron-from-nowhere technique is a little
bit more advanced. But, it is not really
that hard.

Here’s a super simple, basic “hammer on from nowhere”
lick in A pentatonic:


It’s a 4 note pattern.

Now here’s how to play this.

First of all, get rid of your pick.
Put it somewhere where you can find
it later, though, he he…

The second thing to know is that
the first finger on your fretting
hand is barring both the B and high E strings
at the fifth fret. It never moves.

The only note you are going to be plucking
is the A on the 5th fret high E string.
You’ll be playing that with your middle finger.

Then hammer on from nowhere with your pinky onto
the 8th fret B string, pull off to the 5th fret
B string (first finger), and hammer back onto the 8th fret.

Repeat. Play as fast as you can.

Here’s another repeating pattern you can try:


Same idea, but you’ll be plucking
this high A note twice in this 8 note
pattern. (the third time the A appears
is hammered on).

More cool ideas to come in a later email,
or when Guitar Control II comes out.

For now, I suggest learning all the lead
tricks from Guitar Control Secrets and
How to Play Smoking blues.

You get both these courses (plus Killer Lead
Made simple, Ultimate Beginner Guitar, and
Acoustic Mastery) in the 12 DVD package.

Go to
to get yours.

If you already have this package, then
please check out our other fine DVD courses
and software.

I’ll be sending you some sample clips
next week of our new chicken picken course.

That’s it for now from the Claudester.

Have a rockin Saturday night!

Claude Johnson

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