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Thread: Hammer-on practice tips?

  1. #1
    Every day is a gift. Sheila Lagrand's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    San Tan Valley, Arizona

    Default Hammer-on practice tips?

    Hello friends,
    I'm having a tough time getting decent sound out of hammer-ons, especially on the E string. What are your suggestions, secrets, and schemes?
    Phoebe, my 2021 Collings MT mandolin
    Dolly, my 2021 Ibanez M522 mandolin
    Louise, my 193x SS Maxwell mandolin
    Fiona, My 2021 GSM guitar-bodied octave resonator mandolin
    Charlotte, my 2016 Eastman MDO 305 octave mandolin
    And Giuliana, my 2002 Hans Schuster 505 violin, Katy, my 2021 Janerock bass guitar,
    Nehenehe, my 2021 Aklot concert ukulele, Sundae, my 2022 Takamine GN30-NAT guitar,
    Yoko, my ca. 1963 Yamaha Dynamic No.15 guitar, and Rich, my 1959 husband.

  2. #2
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Ardnadam, Argyll, Scotland

    Default Re: Hammer-on practice tips?

    On the mandolin with its small scale length and higher string tension it is always a problem getting a good hammer-on, Sheila. I play a lot of bagpipe tunes on my mandolin and octave and use both hammer-on and pull-off to try to get the effects of the bagpipes. I will generally aim to hammer on from an open string rather than from a fretted one, and it needs a fair bit of finger power to get a good clear sound. I prefer the octave for those tunes as the longer scale length gives me more sustain and seems to be easier to produce hammer-ons. For pull-offs I try to give the string(s) a sideways flick with the fretting finger as I pull off from the fret, rather than just a straight lifting off. There are examples of the tunes on my YT channel - see link below.
    Hope this is of some help to you.
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Southern Maine

    Default Re: Hammer-on practice tips?

    Just like all aspects of technique, it takes time and practice to develop decent hammer on and pull off. Make it a part of your practice sessions and you should see improvement over time. It certainly has taken me a while to develop any proficiency.

    The secret lies in repetition.
    Girouard A
    Silverangel A
    Eastman 615

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