How often do you use Hammer-on's on the bass?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Whousedtoplay, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    How often do you use Hammer-on's/Pull-off's on the bass?
    What tells you to play Hammer-On/Pull-Off instead of playing each note normally - with your right hand?

    I don't have questions when you play written notes with the hammer-on sign, but what about when you create a new bassline?

    Do you have your own rules about it or it comes naturally to you?
  2. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    Personal preference and the sound you're going for? I don't hammer on particularly hard, so I tend to use them more as a grace note or passing tone with economy of motion so that I don't have to move my plucking hand twice as fast for notes that are more flavour.

    However, I do love the sound of making chords with hammerons, especially in jazz.
  3. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    All the time. Here's one I just did with a lot of hard hammer ons to force a sustain without the pluck of the attack...

    I use it whenever it feels right, which as I get older seems to be more and more.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  4. Never use them, but, that is just me.
  5. cjmodulus


    Jul 15, 2010
    Depends on the feel I'm going for with the line. If its in unison with a guitarist, ill play it how they play it with regards to articulation. If I'm making up a bass line it really just depends on how it feels I guess. I find that most of the time I don't really think about it actually.
  6. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    No rules; it just happens naturally. The longer you've been playing, the less you'll have to think about these things.
  7. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008

    The more you play, the less you think about what you're doing and you just do what comes naturally. I use them, but I use a good bit of everything in my playing.
  8. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Constantly but yeah I barely ever think about it, prefering to concentrate on what I play rather than how.
    I often use hammers with octaves to avoid string skipping.
    When I go from a fretted note to an open string, i do it with a pull off which avoid the open string sounding too obnoxious.
    Basically I do it when I find it easier or better sounding than plucking.
  9. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    This is a Technique question, so I'll move it there.
  10. passing notes ...... and page turns, no option if it's play through.
  11. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    When I play the slap bass, usually I don't have any issues with Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs.
    I'm talking about H' and P's without slapping.

    Almost all my exercises include 2, 3, or even 2-string-4-fret Hammer-On's and Pull-Off's, that interact with open strings. (One of my personal advice for any beginner bass player, “Befriend the Open Strings”)
    I fully understand and advocate the importance of Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs for any bass players, (it helps develop your rhythmic dexterity, left/fretted hand/finger muscles, etc...)

    All those beautiful H's and P's (especially Pull-Offs) tend to disappear in the live band “noise”, unless you are playing solo with the volume up. Also, while performing live, the chances of properly articulated/heard H's and P's depend a lot on your bass' string “freshness”, tone, EQ and effects.

    When recording in the studio, I have some kind of mental block of playing Hammer-Ons/Pull-Offs.
    I can hear that dynamic difference of the notes involved in H's or P's; therefore, if it's not a solo part, I “must” play each and every note with both my hands.
  12. Batmensch


    Jul 4, 2010
    Media, PA.
    Indeed. I don't know any bassist in any genre you can name doesn't use them regularly. I do them about as much as anybody, but I don't think "I should do a hammer-on/pull-off here" It just happens naturally. Don't sweat it, you can overthink this kind of stuff, and that will stifle fluidity.
  13. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    perhaps but I think virtuoso guitarist Al Di Meola say he doesn't use them or sweep picking among other techniques he is just such a physical freak that he can cleanly pick every note he puts out.
  14. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    I like to think of them as slurs... :p
  15. Metaldood19


    Apr 9, 2011
    Quite a bit actually. When playing technical lines, they are a godsend to me
  16. marko138


    May 24, 2013
    Perry County PA
    As often as necessary. Comes naturally.
  17. funnyfingers


    Nov 27, 2005
    I make it a habit to avoid doing the hammer-ons even when the material has it as a hammer-on. For example the main riff to Black Dog, I play with no hammer-ons.
  18. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    +1 quite often as connecting notes
  19. remainthesame


    Sep 24, 2008
    In the words of Clutch; Whenever it feels right.
  20. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    As much as I do pull-offs, slide-ins, or just straight plucking. Articulation is everything.