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hammer-on/pull-off etude?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by hdiddy, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Not use how to phrase this question, but I'm kinda looking for things to build up speed in my soloing so that my fingers can keep up with maybe something that I'm hearing in my head but cannot execute fast enough in a normal manner. I started thinking of using hammer-ons/pull-offs as a wholly legit technique (it don't care if ppl consider it cheating). I found in an old thread that Ray Parker did some of this to combat bebop playing. Perhaps this is very close to slurring notes with a bow? Not sure.

    I have been actually picking the bow back up again and find it useful practice. Anyways, do any of you guys have any suggestions for treating the technique as something that can be practiced in an etude? I have been running through scales playing them in 3 and 4 note segments - similar to Hanon Exercises for piano. It didn't occur to me til just now but I might crack open Simandl and doing the exercises with an emphasis on HO&PL.

    Ideas? Thoughts? Thanks.
  2. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Hammer-ons and pull-offs are used all the time on DB.
    Back in the old days when people where only using one right hand finger these technique where necessary when playing fast soloing lines. Of course many people still do this.

    I have the book Jazz soloing concepts from Marc Johnson. And although these HO's en PO's and slides are not in the transcriptions I was amazed how many of those are being used in the lines on the CD. He is using it every bar (almost every beat).
    It is nice if you want a legato fast passage.
  3. I use this stuff regularly in my lines and solos most of which I got from listening to Red Mitchell.
  4. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    Not exactly an etude, but transcribe horn players' solos and try to imitate their articulations. You'll notice that horn players don't tongue every note, not even close (well, maybe Jimmy Heath sometimes).

    Each time we pluck, it is like a horn player tonguing a note. Now, we can't sustain slurred lines as long as a horn player (not pizzicato at least), but we can try our best to imitate the varying accents that come from slurring vs. rearticulating (plucking/tonguing).

    This will help you not only with the physical aspects of hammer-ons and pull-offs, but is musically enlightening, too. Articulation, and which notes are accented, which are ghosted, etc., is a huge part of making swinging melodic lines, IMHO.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Agreed - good stuff in this post.
  6. Ben Rolston

    Ben Rolston Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    I've been working on playing slower with this technique so that I can concentrate on actually getting them in time as part of a line, as opposed to being a fast turn or other such articulation (like circling a note etc).
  7. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Hrm ok... interesting point. Looks like there's nothing that can be used formally out there other than what I can conjure in my shed. Yeah Ben, working on the technique slowly seems to yield some interesting results. IMO, the lines smooth out better and seem less like a gimmick and more like an intentional line.
  8. I would think trombone players, particularly, because they play C instruments, they use bass clef, and they don't articulate overly fast compared to sax or trumpet.
  9. agmckee


    Oct 3, 2003
    New York City
    Over the years I've developed a series of etudes designed to strengthen this technique. They're simple but effective.
    As I'm new to TB forums I'm not sure if there's a way to post a pdf of this stuff. If not I'll explain in words in a later post.
  10. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    It's not hard. Click on "Post Reply", when the editor pops out at the bottom, hit "Go Advanced". Write your message, and then click on the Paper clip icon, which shows the attachments dialog.

    Voila! Looking forward to this with anticipation. :hyper:

    PS: Welcome to TB Mr. Mckee. :)
  11. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    But who wants to transcribe trombone solos? :eek: Seriously though, if you are transcribing the solo yourself, it doesn't matter if the instrument is a concert key or transposing instrument. I usually transcribe sax solos and the like in treble clef, but concert pitch. You could always do it in bass clef, but it's good to be able to read treble clef anyway. I suppose if you are working from someone else's transcription, it's easier not to transpose. But the idea of trying to imitate the articulations/accents/etc. means you must have the recording and not just be reading a transcription.

    Back to the OP's request for etudes: One related exercise is to play scales with the left hand only (no plucking at all). That is you are hammering on every note. This is will help your hammering technique (getting a clear sound from left hand articulation alone) and is also just a good exercise to improve left hand strength and technique.
  12. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I guess this should be more appropriately called pizzicato slurring. Effectively, that's what we're trying to do. Slurring by either sliding notes, or using hammer-ons and pull-offs.

    I have sorta done that over scales. Better yet, I play the scale ascending and descending in 3 or 4 note groups: cde, def, fga, etc. etc.

    So far I have come up with two things beyond just scales sans RH...
    1) Pizz the first note then slur the rest. c (pizz) d (hammer) e (hammer)
    2) Pizz the first note, slur the middle, then pick the last one: c(pizz) d (hammer) e (hammer) f (pizz)

    It's the best I've come up with thus far and have gotten some mileage out of it.

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