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Banjo Lessons: Hammer-On Etudes

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[MUSIC]
I'm
going to talk about Hammer-ons in a little
more depth right now.
And Hammer-ons are obviously very
important in the bluegrass index and
kinds of different musics.
And so, we're just going to start with
some simple exercises and
get a little more involved as we go along.
For the first one, we're just gonna.
[MUSIC]
Just some hammer-on the first four times
going zero to two.
[MUSIC]
Open to the ring, then the second string.
[MUSIC]
And as you're hammering-on you.
You want to really come down hard enough
that it sounds like the note that
you're hammering-on to is about as strong
as the one you're hitting initially.
So, the second string, you're going,
[MUSIC]
Open to the index.
And then, open to the middle on the third
string at the second fret.
And then open to middle on the second fret
of the fourth string.
[MUSIC]
Then again,
you can do this with a metronome.
And so you'll go.
Bout that speed's good.
[MUSIC]
Okay, now let's try this.
What you're gonna do now is you're gonna
hammer on to the pinky.
You're gonna have one finger per fret.
Pinky assigned to the fifth fret, ring to
the fourth,
middle to the third, index to the second.
And you're gonna hammer on zero to five
with the pinky.
And then zero to four with the ring, zero
to three to the middle,
zero to two to the index.
[MUSIC]
So
you're getting exercise for each finger.
And then do it again on the second string.
[MUSIC]
Third.
[MUSIC]
Fourth.
[MUSIC]
So again.
[MUSIC]
And a click on every first hit.
[MUSIC] Click. [MUSIC]
Click.
[MUSIC] Click. [MUSIC]
Click.
[MUSIC]
Click.
[MUSIC]
Click.
For the metronome that is.
Okay, so
that's another exercise you can do to
build up strength in each of your fingers.
Now, here's a little etude.
[MUSIC]
In the key of G and
I'll play it for you and then analyze it.
[MUSIC]
Just a little, pleasant little pastiche.
So what you're gonna do now is you're
gonna hammer on zero to four.
[MUSIC]
Open to ring on the fourth string.
[MUSIC]
You could do this a number of ways.
For some reason I'm going ring to the
middle of the third string, zero to two.
It wouldn't hurt to use the pinky on the
fourth string to,
just to build up the strength in your
pinky.
Let's do it that way.
[MUSIC]
And
then zero to two with the middle on the
third string.
[MUSIC]
Second fifth first string quarter note.
And then you're going to hammer on to a C
chord.
[MUSIC]
On the first two strings.
There's a zero to two on the first string,
a zero to one on the second.
[MUSIC]
And then a backward roll to the first
string, and then you're gonna hammer on to
a D 7th.
[MUSIC]
And then hammer on going up two frets.
[MUSIC]
So it's zero to four to the middle and hit
the third string again, and then the index
on the third fret of the second string.
So.
[MUSIC]
And then back to the D seventh.
[MUSIC]
Keeping the index on the first fret of
the second string.
You let go of the middle and hammer-on to
the fourth string, zero to two.
[MUSIC]
Thumb, thumb, index in the right hand, and
then you repeat this.
[MUSIC]
And then you'll do that.
[MUSIC].
That zero to four to the middle is kind of
a D 7th up two frets that we already did
this hammer on once before.
So, one two three.
And the index on the third fret of the
second.
[MUSIC]
Down two frets to the D 7th.
[MUSIC]
And
keep that index down as you hammer on zero
to two on the fourth string.
So you're doing groupings of three.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
One, two.
And then the ending is
[MUSIC].
Which is kind of the way you started.
[MUSIC]
Fifth string.
So the whole thing is.
[MUSIC]
Let's do that one more time, and I'll
count it in.
One, two, three, four.
[MUSIC]
Okay.
So now what we're gonna do is we're going
to do just a little exercise.
[MUSIC].
Before we were hammering-on to each finger
from an open position, now,
we're gonna hammer on from one finger to
the next.
You're gonna go ring to pinky, four to
five,
middle to ring, three to four, hammer on
index to middle,
two to three, and then zero to two.
[MUSIC]
And then each string, go down.
[MUSIC]
And a lot of these cases I'm really
kind of going pretty far up.
It's not exactly economy of motion but
to come down strong enough to activate the
hammer-on.
And have it really strong.
That's why I'm doing it this way.
Ordinarily, you want to stay pretty close
to the finger board.
But for this kind of exercise it's good to
do it this other way.
Okay.
We're going to do a kind of a bluesy
sounding thing right now,
little lonesomy kind of bluesy thing.
And I'll play it for you and then discuss
it.
[MUSIC]
Okay, so what I'm doing is I'm
hammering-on.
[MUSIC]
Open to the index.
[MUSIC]
On the fourth string.
[MUSIC]
And then index to ring and
then go to the third string, hammer-on
three to five.
Index to ring and then hit the third
string,
which is the ring at the fifth fret.
[MUSIC]
And
the index goes over to the third fret of
the second string, so you have.
[MUSIC]
And then, I hammer on zero to three
on the first string, open D index, index
to ring, open, quarter note, fifth, third.
[MUSIC]
Once again.
[MUSIC]
Then the third measure is.
[MUSIC]
So.
[MUSIC]
You're hammering on index to ring,
three to five on the first string.
First and fifth.
[MUSIC]
And then,
zero to three on the third string, open to
the ring on the third fret on the third.
Then, third fret of the third and the,
first fret of the second.
And then, a backward roll.
Open first index, which is still there on
the first fret of the second string,
don't let go of it.
[MUSIC]
Go zero to three to the ring, and
then zero to two on the fourth string,
both of these, to the middle on the.
The second fret of the fourth string.
Fifth string first string.
So.
[MUSIC]
And then repeat.
[MUSIC]
And then the second ending is.
[MUSIC]
Again, the index is,
you just left it at the first fret of the
second.
Keep it there.
Backward roll, first, second.
Zero to three on the fourth string.
And then the thumb quarter note, fifth,
first.
Then the B part.
[MUSIC]
Sorry.
[MUSIC]
So
what you're doing, you're going up to kind
of a G minor up here.
You're gonna hammer on 10 to 12 on the
third string.
[MUSIC]
And
I'm moving away from the bridge just to
sweeten a little bit and soften it.
[MUSIC]
So hammer-on index to ring,
10 to 12 on the third string, then the
third string again.
Middle.
On the, I'm sorry.
That's what I meant to do.
So again, index to ring, ten to twelve on
the third string.
Hit the twelfth fret of the third again
with the thumb in the right hand and
then add the index on the tenth fret of
the second string, and
then hit it again and hammer-on ten to
eleven.
And then, hit the eleventh fret again as
you go to the tenth fret of
the first string with the index so.
[MUSIC]
And
now continuing hammer on ten to twelve on
the first string.
Index to ring.
[MUSIC]
And this is a little bit of a jump.
Do that and then bar the first three
strings at the tenth fret with the index
finger on the left hand.
[MUSIC]
And do a backward roll.
[MUSIC]
Quarter note, third string, first string.
The index is at the tenth fret of the
third and then the first string.
So the first two measures are.
[MUSIC]
And
then, hammer-on again, 10 to 12 on the
third string, index to ring.
[MUSIC]
Hit the third string again, and
then add the middle on the 11th fret of
the second string.
[MUSIC]
And then you're basically gonna do it,
that same position again.
Move the index and middle down in tandem
so the index is at the seventh
fret of the third and the middle is at the
eighth fret of the second.
And hammer-on seven to ten on the third
string.
And hit it again, hit the second.
Second string at the eighth fret.
So
[MUSIC].
And then move it down two more frets.
[MUSIC]
And again, the middle and
the index are kind of in the same
position.
[MUSIC]
So index to ring.
Five to seven on the third string.
Hammer-on, third, second string, which is
sixth fret now.
And then.
[MUSIC]
So.
[SOUND] You're going just that whole last
two lines.
Last two measures I should say.
[MUSIC]
Once again.
[MUSIC]
And after this.
[MUSIC]
Hit the third string and
hammer on zero to three.
[MUSIC]
And then second fret of the third.
And the third fret of the fourth string.
[MUSIC]
That's the thumb.
And then index thumb in the right hand,
and
then you just repeat the A part one more
time to the second ending.
[MUSIC]
So one more time, the whole thing would
be,
[MUSIC]
All right.
So, those are some hammer ons you can work
on.
And, you might have noticed on that last
tune, as I said,
when I got to this part up here.
[MUSIC]
I moved pretty far away from the bridge
and lightened up my touch.
When I went back to the A section.
[MUSIC]
When I went back to that
I moved back closer to the bridge.
Just to kind of build things up again, add
a little more edge to things.
Again, something you can try with other
tunes.
Don't always feel like you have to be
stationary in one place.
You can move your left, your right hand I
should say around just a little bit.
Okay.
Those are some hammer-on etudes for you to
work on.
[MUSIC]