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May 28, 2022 - 11:47:23 AM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

When I do a half-step hammer on (2 to 3) I don't have any issues getting my fingers to contort and reach the frets, but when I do a whole step hammer on (2 to 4) I have a heck of a time reaching. For example, if I was doing a 2 to 4 hammer on with the 3rd string, I would normally use my index on the 2 and the ring for the 4, but I really have to contort my hand and fingers to reach. Is there something I can do to help my reach? Of are whole step hammer on's not all that common?

May 28, 2022 - 12:00:42 PM

637 posts since 4/1/2009

Swap the ring finger for the pinky finger! That’s what I do! Might work for you too?

May 28, 2022 - 12:18:15 PM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

quote:
Originally posted by Pick1949

Swap the ring finger for the pinky finger! That’s what I do! Might work for you too?


I did try that, but my pinky just is so weak with the hammer.  It is easier to reach though.

May 28, 2022 - 12:30 PM

434 posts since 10/3/2012

quote:
Originally posted by kd8tzc
quote:
Originally posted by Pick1949

Swap the ring finger for the pinky finger! That’s what I do! Might work for you too?


I did try that, but my pinky just is so weak with the hammer.  It is easier to reach though.


Fixing the weak pinky is just a matter of practice.

May 28, 2022 - 1:19:45 PM

1035 posts since 10/4/2018

Try to lay your middle finger on the 3rd fret, then using your ring finger, hammer on from the 3rd fret to the 4th . Get good and comfortable with that and lay down your index on the second fret. At first continue hammering from frets 3 to 4 while holding your index on the 2nd fret, then try from you index to ring (frets 2-4). Repetition is your friend here. You will develop strength as your motor memory internalizes the movements of your fingers. Good luck.

Edited by - Good Buddy on 05/28/2022 13:24:16

May 28, 2022 - 7:35:50 PM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5791 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by kd8tzc

When I do a half-step hammer on (2 to 3) I don't have any issues getting my fingers to contort and reach the frets, but when I do a whole step hammer on (2 to 4) I have a heck of a time reaching. For example, if I was doing a 2 to 4 hammer on with the 3rd string, I would normally use my index on the 2 and the ring for the 4, but I really have to contort my hand and fingers to reach. Is there something I can do to help my reach? Of are whole step hammer on's not all that common?


You shouldn't have to "contort" your fingers to properly execute a hammer-on. 

Why don't you post a picture  (or video) of your fretting hand on the neck, as you do a hammer-on, it may be the way your holding the neck that is affecting your technique

May 28, 2022 - 7:41:27 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

64306 posts since 10/5/2013

Earl: repeat a 1000 times

May 29, 2022 - 9:00:29 AM

11138 posts since 6/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by chuckv97

Earl: repeat a 1000 times


Agree.........What Chuck posted and what Earl said! 

FWIW, You will find yourself using your pinkie more and more as your playing progresses. Reaching for the F# (low D string 4th fret) or playing Cumberland Gap up the neck, as examples. So continuing to practice using your pinkie will reap rewards.

May 29, 2022 - 1:13:01 PM

304 posts since 3/2/2013

So using your pinky to reach for notes is different than like say a 2 to 4 hammer on or a whole step hammer on, which the latter in my mind is rarely used in bluegrass. For instance holding a C chord and reaching for a note isnt a whole step hammer on. Holding down second string at 2nd fret, picking string and then hammering with pinky or ring finger on 4th fret is in fact a whole step hammer on. Earl usually SLID whole steps and Hammered half steps. Not to say you can't or shouldn't do it but TRUE whole step hammer on's really aren't very typical or even necessary in my opinion. YMMV

Edited by - 81goldstar on 05/29/2022 13:17:52

May 29, 2022 - 4:29:03 PM

406 posts since 5/21/2020

quote:
Originally posted by kd8tzc

When I do a half-step hammer on (2 to 3) I don't have any issues getting my fingers to contort and reach the frets, but when I do a whole step hammer on (2 to 4) I have a heck of a time reaching. For example, if I was doing a 2 to 4 hammer on with the 3rd string, I would normally use my index on the 2 and the ring for the 4, but I really have to contort my hand and fingers to reach. Is there something I can do to help my reach? Of are whole step hammer on's not all that common?


Hi John 

When I do 2 - 4 hammer-ons I use Index and ring for the 3rd string.

If playing 1st fret 2nd string and 4th fret 4th string I'll use index & pinky. Both these actions take a lot of practice to master. I have short stubby fingers and never thought it was possible 

Alan Munde has a workout DVD that may help

(93-MU-B2) $29.95

THE BLUEGRASS BANJO WORKOUT DVD

https://almundesbanjocollege.com/dvds/

Edited by - FenderFred on 05/29/2022 16:31:23

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May 29, 2022 - 10:02:05 PM

617 posts since 11/4/2007

I frequently substitute a 2-4 slide using the middle finger, many times it's more playable. Remember, tab is not written in stone.  Make it your own. 

May 30, 2022 - 1:17:46 AM

phb

Germany

3341 posts since 11/8/2010

quote:
Originally posted by 81goldstar

Earl usually SLID whole steps and Hammered half steps. Not to say you can't or shouldn't do it but TRUE whole step hammer on's really aren't very typical or even necessary in my opinion. YMMV


I share this observation for hammer-ons starting from a fretted note. The one instance I do such hammer-ons is in some F-chord licks where I use the pinky to fret the first string/third fret, index on second string/first fret and then hammer-on using the ring finger on the second string/third fret. Of course, whole-note hammer-ons starting from an open note are common and shouldn't require too much practice.

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