What are hammers and pulls?

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What are hammers and pulls?

Postby Dulcidudette » Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:38 pm

I took this from the To Double or not to Double thread so I wouldn't hijack it.
Sam E. wrote:When I bought my first serious dulcimer, three people who I trusted told me that if I wasn't going to play melody-and-drones, I should remove the doubled string.

I didn't have the nerve to do it immediately, but when I did after a couple of weeks, I could already feel how much easier the hammers and pulls became.


So what are they? When do you use them?
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Re: What are hammers and pulls?

Postby KenH » Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:47 pm

Hammer-ons and pull-offs are left hand techniques used to emphasize a particular note. They are usually done when playing Melody-Drone or Noter & Drone style, but can also be applied to Chord Melody.

A Hammer-On is where you strum all the strings open, then "hammer" the noter or finger down onto the vibrating melody string to change the tone before moving on to the next note (and strum) of the tune.

Essentially you get two notes for price of one strum.

A Pull-Off is the reverse -- strum the fretted melody string and then quickly "pull off" the noter or finger to get a second tone before moving to the next note of the song.
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Re: What are hammers and pulls?

Postby Dulcidudette » Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:13 pm

Ooh! Those sound fun! Bet you can make some neat sounds doing that!
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Re: What are hammers and pulls?

Postby folkfan » Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:29 pm

Dulcidudette wrote:Ooh! Those sound fun! Bet you can make some neat sounds doing that!


Yes, they can be fun and sound great. I find I do hammer ons more frequently than pull offs though. There is one song I have that starts with the word "Oh" and is suppose to be played 0-1-2. I strum the 0 and then just quickly hit the 1st fret and then the 2nd. The next note is on the 3rd fret and I strum it. I've tried sliding from the 0 to the 2 but I don't think the sound of the 1st fret rings out with the slide.

Pull offs are more difficult to do, at least for me, and I end up with more of a "boing" sound when I pull. So instead of pulling off, I'll tend to slide down the notes as in a quick 5-4-3 combination. I strum 5 and slide down to 3.
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Re: What are hammers and pulls?

Postby rendesvous1840 » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:11 pm

Hammer-on, pull-offs, slides and bends are methods of slurring one note into another.
They are a lot easier to understand when you see them played face to face.They can also be combined, as in a rapid hammer followed by an immediate pull.Do you have a book to learn from, or another player nearby to get you started?
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Re: What are hammers and pulls?

Postby Dulcidudette » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:23 pm

I ordered two books from Amazon -
Mel Bay Hands-On Dulcimer: Developing Technique Through Exercises and Studies by Mike Casey which has a CD
and
Mel Bay's You Can Teach Yourself Dulcimer by Madeline MacNeil which has a CD and a DVD.

Seems almost sacreligious not to have Jean Richie's book so I'll probably order that one, too.

I also know there's a group in town that plays for some of the retirement homes around here. Just don't know how to find them ...
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Re: What are hammers and pulls?

Postby folkfan » Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:55 pm

Dulcidudette wrote:I also know there's a group in town that plays for some of the retirement homes around here. Just don't know how to find them ...


Have you checked under the club listings in the Resource List. There are a lot of clubs listed for NC just click on the mustard colored tab under Resource List, then click Find a Club and the clubs listed by state will pop up. Then click on the club name. Hope you find one near you.
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Re: What are hammers and pulls?

Postby KenH » Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:44 am

Dulcimer Rule #1: There is no Right Way or Wrong Way to play the dulcimer. There is only Your Way.

Do not allow others to tell you that you have to play in a particular tuning; or than you must play in a particular left hand or right hand style. Or that everyone does something so you have to as well.

Do however play in the same Key Note as the others in a group. The Key of D is most common.

Know that all Key of D tunings play well together - dulcimers tuned DAA, DAd, DAC and/or DAG for example - can play a tune together. However they do not play the same notes on the same frets; and may indeed play different parts.
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Re: What are hammers and pulls?

Postby Dulcidudette » Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:16 am

folkfan wrote:Have you checked under the club listings in the Resource List. There are a lot of clubs listed for NC just click on the mustard colored tab under Resource List, then click Find a Club and the clubs listed by state will pop up. Then click on the club name. Hope you find one near you.


I think I checked the list before I joined but I will go back and check again! Thanks!
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Re: What are hammers and pulls?

Postby Dulcidudette » Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:18 am

KenH wrote:Dulcimer Rule #1: There is no Right Way or Wrong Way to play the dulcimer. There is only Your Way.

Do not allow others to tell you that you have to play in a particular tuning; or than you must play in a particular left hand or right hand style. Or that everyone does something so you have to as well.


Thanks, Ken! That is very encouraging!!
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Re: What are hammers and pulls?

Postby strumelia » Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:36 pm

Jan,
I demonstrate how to do both a hammer-on and a slide in these particular two of my free youtube beginner videos, #4 and #5:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Strumelia#p ... AZ8afP70to (has strumming and hammer-on demonstration towards the end)
and
http://www.youtube.com/user/Strumelia#p ... _uuwGLYg0I (hammer-on and slide demo)

If you want to try out noter playing once your dulcimer arrives, you might want to watch my beginner noter videos from #1 to #9. I will be adding more to the series in the future. I also have about 30 noter-style tabs for traditional songs available for FREE on my blog.
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Re: What are hammers and pulls?

Postby Dulcidudette » Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:14 pm

Oooh! Thanks! I'll start at the beginning! :mrgreen:
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