Hammers & Hammering
By Matthew Dickerson, for Hammered Dulcimer Players

Video 1

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VideoAbout the Lessons

1. Introduction Hammers are like a pair of shoes ... one size does not fit all. In this series, Matthew will point out differences between hammers, and how to pick a set of hammers that will feel comfortable in your hands, play accurately, and swings well.
2. Non-Flexible Hammers In this video, Mattthew explains in depth about the head of the hammer, and why some are round while others are elongated.
3. Hammer Heads & Shafts First Matthew points out the advantage of using a two-sided head vs. a one-sided head. The shaft determines the weight and the length of the hammer, and can also affect your playing.
4. Hammer Balance & Weight The balance of your hammers is determined by the balancing point. That determines how the swing feels in the hammer, and your choice again depends on your personal preference. Weight affect volume.
5. Hammer Grip The grip is found at the end of the hammer. Some are quite narrow while others are much thicker, which can impact fatigue if you play for a long period of time.
6. Bottom Lobe The bottom lobe of the hammer prevents movement back and forth, so your fingers stay in place. It also provides leverage.
7. Gripping the Hammers First Matthew demonstrates the French timpani Grip, with the index finger on the bottom. Then he shows us his personal favoriteway to hold his hammers.
8. Posture Keep your shoulders relaxed, and don't bend over the instrument. Stand up straight but comfortably, and step back and forth to more easily access the higher vs. lower notes.
9. Arm Motion The only arm motion we should have is to actually access the notes, not to hit the string. In other words, arm motion should be back and forth across the instrument, but not up and down.
10. Hammering First Matthew explains why he sets his dulcimer stand to position the dulcimer slightly elevated. Then, when he hammers, there is actually very little wrist movement. He encourages us to learn to use our finger tips to get the hammers swinging.
11. Review Finally, Matthew runs through the main points he brought out in this lesson.

Music GlobeExtras

  • This is our first lesson from Matthew Dickerson. Be sure to watch Matthew's introductory video, if you haven't seen it yet.

  • In our Absolute Beginner's Series called String-Side UP by Steve Eulberg, Steve discusses single-sided hammers, double-sided hammers, flexible hammers, proper hammer grip, and hammer control.

  • In this video, Bill Robinson gives a detailed explaination of how to hold flexible hammers.

  • In his video called "Oh, what a difference a hammer makes!",¬†hammered dulcimer builder Russell Cook of Master Works demonstrates the different sounds you can get from your hammer dulcimer with a variety of hammers.

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