Hammer Ons & Pull Offs

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Hammer Ons & Pull Offs

Postby Kay » Tue Jan 11, 2005 10:59 pm

Hello, I like the sound of 'The Bonny Light Horseman' found here - http://www.dulcimersessions.com/dec04/mountain.html However, it has lots of hammer ons and pull offs which I am not familiar with. Can anyone give me some advice? Hammer ons are done by strumming and then while it is ringing pressing down firmly on the next note??? Is that correct? How do you do a pull off? For instance, one place in the song has a 4 3 0 (melody to bass) that then goes to a 2 on the melody. How do you do that? If you take your finger off the 4 it will kill the sound, right? I am confused by pull offs. Any and all help is greatly appreciated Razz Kay
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Postby Dulcimerbuilder » Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:31 pm

Kay, When you play the 4-3-0 (melody to bass string), use your index finger on the 4 melody string, middle finger on 3 middle string and put your ring or little (probably the easiest) on 2 melody string. Get all those down on the strings, then pull your index finger off 4 and the 2 will sound. Your discription of hammer ons is correct but it doesn't necessarily have to be a strum as it could be just picking that one string. Also, you can hammer on farther up than just one note. You could go 0 to 2 or even3, or from 5 to 7. What ever the piece calls for. You can practice hammer ons and pull offs on all the strings playing scales when you are just noodling around. Great way to catch on. Friends, Gary www.prussiavalley.com
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PS

Postby Dulcimerbuilder » Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:40 pm

Kay, I forgot to mention this. When you pull your finger off to make another note sound, you actually pull it toward you and off so you pluck the string with it. Sorry I wasn't more clear on my first reply Gary
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Postby Kay » Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:54 pm

[quote]Orginally posted by Gary Kay, When you play the 4-3-0 (melody to bass string), use your index finger on the 4 melody string, middle finger on 3 middle string and put your ring or little (probably the easiest) on 2 melody string. Get all those down on the strings, then pull your index finger off 4 and the 2 will sound. Gary, I wish you could have seen the light bulb go off when I read your explanation. I had been trying awhile to figure that out and had not had any success. But reading what you said just made it click. Smile Thanks so much! Now off to practice. Kay
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Hammer Ons and Pull Offs

Postby dulcILLINI » Wed Jan 12, 2005 1:13 am

Kay: Pretty soon, you will find that these hammer on's and pull off's just happen ! It took me about a year of playing. I had been to a couple of seminars on the subject. It seemed that the more I focused on them, the worse my playing was. Finally, they just started happening. Kind of wierd ! As you get into the flow of the tune, you will find yourself just doing it without knowing. Mike
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Postby CD » Wed Jan 12, 2005 2:18 am

May have been on the road to long today but for the lighter side of things. A good ballpein hammer works well to hammer on and depending on how hard you hammer on you may need fencing pliers instead of regular pliers. Have a great day!!! CD
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Postby Nic Hambas » Wed Jan 12, 2005 2:19 am

Have a bit of fun, practicing just hammer-ons (that doesn't sound right, does it?) and pull-offs without the use of the right hand. Try to play a simple tune -- any noodling nonsense will do -- without strumming at all. Just hammer-ons (I still think it just doesn't sound right) and pull-offs. See how far you can go with that. This excercise is also good for building confidence in your playing.
Last edited by Nic Hambas on Wed Jan 12, 2005 2:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby CD » Wed Jan 12, 2005 2:19 am

The pliers are for the pull offs.
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Postby Kay » Wed Jan 12, 2005 12:21 pm

Thanks everyone for your encouragement and advice. I plan to use all the advice (well maybe not the ballpein and pliers LOL! ). I just love all the beautiful sounds a dulcimer is capable of producing. I have so much more to learn, but ain't that half the fun? Kay
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Postby missy » Wed Jan 12, 2005 1:22 pm

hammers and pulls are a lot easier to show than to describe! But the above posters have done a pretty good job. If you like Celtic music, a lot of the "technique" for playing these tunes consists of using hammers and pulls to keep your rhythm constant. I've given a workshop on using hammers and pulls to play Celtic at several festivals - if we are ever at the same place, look me up and I'll give you a quick lesson. I've used hammers and pulls from the beginnning of my playing (since my first teacher was a Celtic harpist). As Dulcillini states, you'll find there a LOT of songs you can add them to. If I'm playing a song like "Whiskey 'Fore Breakfast" up to speed, there's no way I can get all the notes without using hammers and pulls. Missy
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Postby Kay » Wed Jan 12, 2005 2:06 pm

Orginally posted by missy . - if we are ever at the same place, look me up and I'll give you a quick lesson. If I'm playing a song like "Whiskey 'Fore Breakfast" up to speed, there's no way I can get all the notes without using hammers and pulls. Missy
Thanks for the offer of the lesson. I will certainly take you up on that if our paths ever cross. OK another question from the last paragraph you wrote - how do hammers and pulls help your speed? It is faster cause you hammer and don't have to pluck the note?? Obviously, just learning these at this time my hammers and pulls are not very speedy Wink Kay
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Postby missy » Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:25 pm

yep - you got it....... From playing Celtic, I can set up a strumming rhythm with my right hand, and I get all the "extra" notes by using hammers and pulls with my left. Instead of attempting to strum / pick every note played (especially 8ths or 16ths notes) I'll strum the major "beats" and get those "inbetweens" with hammers and pulls. This takes some forethought - you need to know where you are going so you have the fingers ready for the next couple of notes (especially for those pulls!). The song I used in the workshop is "Merrily Kiss the Quaker's Wife" It's in 6/8 timing. I strum the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th count. I get the 2nd and 5th count with either a hammer or pull (depending on the note, where I'm coming from, and where I'm going). Again - much easier to show than write!!!! Missy
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