beginner - hammer ons

Discussion in 'Musicians' started by broccoli, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. Bold Eagle

    Bold Eagle Member

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    notice the proliferation of grey hairs and copiuos wrinkles - they've been doing it for a little while........
     
  2. Mr B

    Mr B Member

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    I found a big step was not trying to play the 'notes', but playing to the sound - sort of when you stop thinking where to put the fingers, but just listening to the sound and the fingers just do their thing....

    Not direct advice as thats been given and its good, but a differnent way of thinking about it - a hammer is hammered because its not picked and its sharp, you feel and play it that way
     
  3. OP
    OP
    broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    My fingers do their thing. And their thing is clunk. :D

    EDIT. Sorry, just had to feed the fur people. I know what you mean and it's something I've used in other things, like golf and horseriding. You need to get your head out of it and don't do it, just think it. I think it is something that comes from martial arts, but I'm not sure about that.
    Unfortunately, you need to get in place what you are doing to have this work out well, and I have things to work on before it'll "just work" for me. Things like notes being "all over the place" and playing a lower note behind a higher one.... and trying to make my head remember which finger is which. I was all right up the end, but now we've moved up and the frets are closer so there's that. :D my capacity for fail is huge
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
  4. Bold Eagle

    Bold Eagle Member

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    Practice tapping your fingers on a desk - and speed it up - all 4 of them make sure you can here it - build up the strength and 'capacity'.

    That's all it is like tapping o a desk.
     
  5. clinic

    clinic Member

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    As per prior posters, its all about practice, hitting the string sharply and firmly with the tip of the finger. The finger strength comes with the practice. Don't know it if it helps you but I used to get my strength and speed up by hammer on/pull off up and down a scale. I still do this (except I do modal runs instead now) as a warm up exercise.
     
  6. Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

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    Sounds like a perfect "for hours in front of the TV" exercise. Just hammer-on over and over and over. Notice when it works cleanly and when it doesn't.
     
  7. Boneman

    Boneman Member

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    A great way to wood-shed those mechanical skills.
     
  8. OP
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    broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    I have a computer game which is good for keeping at the repetition.
    I tend to get discouraged when I am really crap, it helps keep me at it.
     
  9. Bold Eagle

    Bold Eagle Member

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    Do you have a Classical guitar (nylon strings)? If not I would advise getting a one if you can as the strings are generally a lot softer and can be a lot easier for learning and developing technique/s. After you get the mechanics down with confidence you can then try it on the acoustic.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    Yes, I do (as it happens). I thought hammer-ons were supposed to be easier on an electric over an acoustic (classical, or steel-string)?
    I'm a bit reluctant to swap between my electric and the classical because the string distances are 'better' on the classical and that's another thing I'm coming to grips with, coming down in the right spot when there are notes EVERYWHERE.
    The answer is as suggested, to keep trying and practising. It does help to vent though, I think, especially when others say they had the same troubles.
     
  11. Bold Eagle

    Bold Eagle Member

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    It's like a bike - once you get it..............
     
  12. OP
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    broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    you get old, and get a bung knee and can't do it any more :D
    Seriously, it's funny isn't it, how things are so difficult trying to get the hang of them, and so effortless when you've learnt it properly?
     
  13. shredder

    shredder Member

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    I don't want to muddy your teaching waters.

    But a key physical aspect hasn't been mentioned, and that is that you can get more "power" by starting the hammer movement from the wrist.

    Think about hammering actual nails with an actual hammer. Proper technique involves loosely flicking your wrist in the instant before you strike the nail (go on, do some air hammering and see what I mean). This wrist flick accelerates the hammer at the last split second, and lets the hammer's weight work to drive the nail in, with minimal effort or jarring to yourself.

    It's no different with guitar hammers. The action is most powerful and efficient when it's driven from the wrist.

    Hold the first note with your index finger. Then make an action with your forearm and wrist, as though you're turning a doorknob anti-clockwise. This in turn accelerates your hammering fingertip (let's say the Ring finger, hammering on one or two frets higher) via the Lever principle, and with a set amount of rigidity in that finger (so that it does not 'collapse' or 'give' when it hits), you will find that the force coming from that twisting motion of the wrist is a crucial part of the "micro technique" that underlies the guitar hammer on. And indeed flows on to the vibrato technique which you will master later.

    But these words are only half the answer. You need to be shown this principle in person so that you learn it properly. Perhaps you could go over it with your teacher and see if they agree or can show you how it works in reality.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018

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