The Hammer-on is a versitile left hand technique that is commonly used in most styles of playing. The technique involves hammering down a finger on the fretboard without plucking the string essentially giving you more notes for less work. Now that we've learned the basic technique, Tony will apply this to a variation of "Shady Grove" that will give you something musical to practice with.
- Another very important aspect of playing a stringed instrument, particularly the banjo or the guitar, is the hammer-on. And the hammer-on occurs when you hit one note (banjo string rings) and then without hitting it again (banjo string rings) bring down a finger from your left hand to get another note. So, in this case, you're hitting the fourth string with your thumb, (banjo string rings) move your hand away, well you don't have to move your hand away but just as a demonstration purpose, then come down relatively with a relative amount of power.
In fact you don't even need to hit the string with the right hand to get a sound. And just come down in this case with the middle finger of your left hand (banjo strings ring) like that. That's called a hammer-on. You're hammering on to that fourth string at the second fret in this case. Then you can do the same thing with the third string, zero to two. (banjo strings ring) And the second string just to have it be a little bit sonorous.
Let's hammer-on zero to one on the second string. And then the first string, use the ring finger zero to two like that. So, let's put this together when you have. (banjo strings ring) So the hammer-on creates two eighth notes and then we do quarter notes with the thumb, fifth, third, fifth, hammer, two eighths.
And now let's just do, we want to come up with this lick. This is a very important lick in bluegrass. (banjo music) It's an alternating thumb lick with a hammer-on instead of just going fourth, second, fifth, first, you can hammer-on on that fourth string. So let's just start with just the hammer-on zero to two going with the middle finger on the left hand.
Now as you hammer-on, hit the second string. (banjo strings ring) Now let's finish off by adding the fifth and first string so we have the full alternating thumb roll with a hammer-on. So here's a little exercise using this alternating thumb hammer-on. (banjo music) So I was integrating the zero to two hammer-on, excuse me, zero to two hammer-on on the fourth string with an alternating thumb roll.
And then I did the same with the third string hammer-on. Another alternating thumb with the zero to two hammer-on. (banjo music)
Note: This course was recorded and produced by ArtistWorks. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Separating notes
- Playing with others
- Using the capo
- Playing hammer-ons and pull-offs
- Playing variations on classic tunes
- Minding your posture
- Training your ear
- Building speed