Speed Plucking

Speed Plucking

I pluck tunes quite often and a lot of the time the tunes i am plucking are very fast . I currently have D’addario helicore strings on my fiddle which I really like .They are a very lively sounding string (So good for Blazing reels and Jigs but not so good for those slow airs) and they are also very good for plucking .The way that I speed pluck is I just tap the string instead of plucking(It only works on certain sets of strings though) and that seems to work( It also works when playing triplets).I am just wondering how other people speed pluck there fiddles ?

Re: Speed Plucking

Jamie, so basically you are playing the tune without bowing at all? The words are a bit confusing here - it seems like you are ‘hammering-on’, as you would on a fretted instrument? Are you playing on a normal acoustic fiddle?

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If I’m understanding you correctly this is something I will do when my wife is asleep and I have a tune dying to get out of my head. Have you considered that it it might be a matter of whether or not you have enough rosin built up on the strings rather than the brand of the strings?

Re: Speed Plucking

post a video

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Re: Speed Plucking

Yes, I am playing a normal acoustic fiddle .My Helicore strings are brand new so they don’t have very much rosin on my strings at all. With my old strings(The ones that came on fiddle) it didn’t matter how much rosin I had on them I still couldn’t do The thing that you call " hammering".For me when I hammer it comes out quite loudly and it is almost as loud as plucking normally.Sorry leoj but I don’t know how to post a video.

Re: Speed Plucking

Oh, the initial possibilities here!


"If I’m understanding you correctly this is something I will do when my wife is asleep and I have a….."

Re: Speed Plucking

I don’t think I’d be alone in not understanding what you mean by this “speed plucking”. If you can’t post a video perhaps you could provide a link to some example of it. Just to be clear;- which hand are you doing the ‘plucking’ with? As you seem to differentiate between plucking and hammering (a term I wouldn’t personally apply to fiddling) I can’t imagine how you could pluck much more than open strings with the left hand, not with any real speed at least, and surely triplets of any sort would be impossible (?).
Finally, why would you want to do this “speed plucking”? Are you talking about Irish music? What tunes would you use it in, and where? Sorry, I just can’t grasp it!

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Re: Speed Plucking

I have been playing fiddle for decades and "speed plucking" is not a thing I know about. Are you talking about playing an entire tune by plucking the strings instead of by using the bow?

Re: Speed Plucking

"Are you talking about playing an entire tune by plucking the strings instead of by using the bow?"….
Or perhaps you mean like this:- http://youtu.be/Oo0TJr1nhm0


I know that this example may not be deemed speedy as such, but I reckon it’s about all you can expect from your left hand. And anyway, anybody who has watched Father Ted’s "Speed 3" realises that speed is a relative concept (and therefore quite a senseless one here). But if, as tdrury asked, you are talking about plucking out a tune with your right thumb and/or fingers, then it should make no difference what strings you have on your fiddle. And then why do it? That’s what they have mandolins for.

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Re: Speed Plucking

To be clear Jamie, you are being asked what the pluck is all about.

Re: Speed Plucking

captacoustic, would you like some assistance finding your coat?

Re: Speed Plucking

And with a name like Cheeky Elf, you certainly wouldn’t need assistance in finding your sense of humor?

Re: Speed Plucking

I guess that "hammering" is like hammering on, fingering the strings without bow or fingers and "plucking" is using the fingers of the bowing hand on the strings, I’d call it noodling.

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Re: Speed Plucking

"For me when I hammer it comes out quite loudly and it is almost as loud as plucking normally.Sorry leoj but I don’t know how to post a video…."

Do you ever use the bow?

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Re: Speed Plucking

It doesn’t make any sense at all.

"The way that I speed pluck is I just tap the string instead of plucking"…

That would be barely audible, even with no other noise around.

Re: Speed Plucking

Yeah, about as audible as playing only hammer-ons on mandolin. With some heavier attack (and an instrument with a more allowing body and sustain), it might work in quieter settings. Or of course, if you play a electric instrument (say, rakes on an electric guitar).

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I think the only way you’ll get any decent volume using left-hand only is if you used left-hand pizzicato (not easy to do).

Jamie, are you there? 🙂

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I do this late at night to practice fingering on the fret board. gives me jsut enough volume to hear if notes are right :D picked up fiddle again, guys. teacher basically corrected a few mistakes and I’m makign steady noise :D

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I use my left hand not my right hand for speed plucking.Most of the tunes that I pluck only part of the tune needs to be plucked and not the whole tune.I am learning to play mandolin right now but I still find it much easier to pluck the fiddle compared to the mandolin.To speed pluck well you have to press down very hard with your Left hand fingers.
Sorry if this conversation is a bit confusing but it really is very hard to explain

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Are you talking about the guitar term "pull off", where you might "hammer"down but its in the lift off that you pluck the string with your left hand?

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Yeah ,I think so.

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I’ve spent some pleasant evenings lately looking at past discussions on this site for little nuggets that would help me become a better player. I really struck gold when I opened this thread. Captacoustic’s link to Bulletproofmusician has helped get me off the plateau that I’ve been stuck on for several months. I had begun to doubt my ability to ever become a competent musician but it does not seem to so improbable anymore. Thank you Captacoustic, and to all who share their wisdom here.