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  • Hammer – On

    Posted by JeffM.22 on November 18, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    I seem to have trouble with the volume of my hammer-ons, despite the effort exerted. I am experimenting with custom light strings 10 – 52, so I am wondering if the volume would go up with a heavier gauge.

    JeffM.22 replied 2 years, 4 months ago 9 Members · 22 Replies
  • 22 Replies
  • Loraine

    Member
    November 18, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    I doubt the volume would go up with a heavier gauge string @JeffM.22 , because it would be more difficult to hit the strings. The best thing to do is finger strengthening exercises; and make sure you’re hitting the string at a 90 degree angle (straight on). My hammer-ons are the loudest, but they’re getting better. Lots of practice.

    • JeffM.22

      Member
      November 18, 2021 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks!

  • Bill_Brown

    Member
    November 19, 2021 at 9:23 am

    Hi @JeffM.22 , I’m using Martin Lifespan 2.0 custom lights (11 – 52) and not experiencing any sound problems with my hammer-ons, except when an adjacent finger is muting the string or I’m not hitting the “sweet spot” between the frets. So I don’t believe the problem is with the strings your using.

    • JeffM.22

      Member
      November 19, 2021 at 11:53 am

      Thanks, Bill. I will get a bigger hammer!😁

  • tailsawaggin

    Member
    November 20, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    Good replies already, but I’d like to look at it from an energy perspective, since the volume of sound from your guitar is ultimately a function of how much energy goes into it. So, let’s get physical. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    We know a lighter string takes less energy to excite than a heavier string, but because it is lighter and pulls with less tension, it also puts less energy into the guitar than a heavier string vibrating at the same amplitude. But, since the heavier string is heavier and pulls with more tension, the heavy string needs more energy to get that same amplitude. In other words, light string easy but weak, heavy string hard but strong. So far so good?

    Now that energy is, of course, coming from your finger, and energy is a function of mass and velocity. So, the faster the finger moves, the more energy goes into the string. (Let’s assume the mass of your finger is pretty much always the same. 😁)

    Your finger also has harder bits and softer bits, and the hard bits will transfer more energy than the soft bits.

    We’re definitely taking the long way home here, but all of this is why a good hammer-on is FAST. Snap that finger down, and use that well-earned callous to really slam the thing. Then keep it down — we don’t want to damp those vibrations we just worked so hard to make.

    For practice and strength-building, I like to pluck an open string with moderate force, then hammer on after. The hammered note should be about the same volume as the plucked one, and if it isn’t yet, just keep at it, and eventually it will be. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • JeffM.22

      Member
      November 21, 2021 at 10:34 am

      Thank – you. Liking the detail.

  • David_Leo

    Member
    November 21, 2021 at 4:40 am

    All this talk is reminding me of an old song, “If I had a……”😀

    • JeffM.22

      Member
      November 21, 2021 at 10:36 am

      😀

  • N-lightMike

    Member
    November 21, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    The simple answer, @JeffM.22 , is yes. The volume would go up. However, that’s only part of the story. The heavier gauge strings would also be harder to fret, bend, pull off and hammer on. The real problem is technique.

    Make sure you are hitting the string with speed, not necessarily strength. Also, the most important thing is accuracy. You must hit that string dead on with the very tip of your finger. Between hitting the string fast and accurate, hammer ons can be quite challenging to learn. They are definitely more difficult than they seem when you watch someone who is good at it. A good exercise is to use the high E string, starting on the 5th fret with your index finger. Holding the 5th fret with your index, strike the string and then repeatedly hammer on with your middle finger. Do this as fast as you can focusing on accuracy. Then do it with your ring and pinky fingers. After those 3 exercises, hold down the string with your middle finger and hammer on with your ring and pinky. Finally, hold the string with your ring finger and hammer on with your pinky. This exercise will tire out your hand very quickly. You will develop finger strength and independence very quickly as long as you don’t hurt yourself. Do it everyday, but do it for short periods of time. You will be amazed how much fatigue and stress you will build up in your hand. It will help, but you have to be conservative. (You can still be liberal in your views if you choose. 🤣)

    I hope this helps.

    MG 😀

    • JeffM.22

      Member
      November 22, 2021 at 10:23 am

      Thanks for this, Mike.

      • N-lightMike

        Member
        November 22, 2021 at 11:35 pm

        👍

  • Carol-3M-Stillhand

    Member
    November 22, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    @JeffM.22 Hammer-ons can be tough to master, but keep trying, it will be so worth it!! Great advice mentioned in here so far already, but let me add one tip- if you tune your guitar down either a half step and capo on first fret, or tune down a whole step and capo on second fret, your strings won’t be under as much tension and it’s so much easier to bend strings, and do pull offs and hammer ons. Once your muscle memory has a handle on the technique you can wean yourself off the capo…. Best of luck and don’t give up!!!! These are all really cool techniques that makes your songs sound that much better!!!

    Beware: Watch your frets for fret wear, I got some dents in mine from trying to learn a bunch of James Taylor songs, hahahaha

    • JeffM.22

      Member
      November 23, 2021 at 11:44 am

      Appreciate this, Carol

  • JeffM.22

    Member
    December 11, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    Here is a good Hammer-On Pull-Off lesson from Rob Hampton.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEnPtSjqrMw

    • N-lightMike

      Member
      December 11, 2021 at 3:30 pm

      So how are your hammer ons coming along @JeffM.22 ? You have gained the proper direction and I’m sure you have spent time working on those hammer ons, give us an update and let us know if you’re doing better.

      MG 😀

  • JeffM.22

    Member
    December 12, 2021 at 11:36 am

    H’mmm. Embarrassed to say I have the knowledge but lacking the time to put it into practice. I need to dig out a daily challenge with a hammer-on and get those middle and ring fingers ready to pounce.

    • RealKurt

      Member
      December 12, 2021 at 1:20 pm

      So much great advice here in this thread, above all else, I would suggest learning a song that includes a couple hammer-ons (and maybe even pulls offs) and practicing it often (maybe a few minutes at the end of each practice session). And I think over time, you’ll find that the hammer-ons will start to come pretty naturally as the habit forms, good luck!!!!

      • JeffM.22

        Member
        December 13, 2021 at 11:30 am

        Thanks, Kurt

    • N-lightMike

      Member
      December 13, 2021 at 5:41 pm

      Hey @JeffM.22 ;

      You don’t need to be embarrassed. This is for fun. We do what we can and/or what we want. Don’t “should” all over yourself.

      I have found what @RealKurt said to be the best advice for learning chords or skills or whatever on guitar, play it in a song. Then it’s fun; something you want to do.

      Keep at it and don’t feel embarrassed. This is a life long journey. If you are moving forward, no matter how slowly, you’re doing what a lot of guitar geeks are not doing. Not moving forward is what we did before we joined TAC. Now, we can simply enjoy the ride (and maybe learn some Grateful Dead 😎).

      MG 😀

      • JeffM.22

        Member
        December 14, 2021 at 11:53 am

        Agree. Thanks MG

  • OwenGL

    Member
    December 14, 2021 at 9:13 am

    There’s one tip I’m not seeing here – but I read through quickly so I might have missed it. Ideally, your finger will hammer onto the string just behind the fret. This minimizes the amount of energy you need to use, though you want to keep that speed factor. Just like regularly fretting a string – the further you are from the fret, the more force you have to apply to get it to fret well and not buzz.

    Of course, where your finger is able to reach will depend on where your other fingers are located and how much you’re able to stretch. Shoot for the ideal, but be realistic with your anatomy.

    • JeffM.22

      Member
      December 14, 2021 at 11:47 am

      Thanks, Owen.

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