Lesson 16 – Nine Pound Hacksaw

Nine Pound Hacksaw

As you can probably guess, this is a new arrangement of the classic ‘Nine Pound Hammer’ based on Merle Travis’s version and played in the key of E. It’s a simple three chord blues progressions with a strong melody on top. The challenge in this piece is to keep a tight, strong, snappy rhythm, while making sure the melody rings out loud and clear.

Note that the intro needs to be played only once, the final bar ends with the intro notes, taking you right back to the top.

Nine Pound Hacksaw

Nine Pound Hacksaw

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15 Responses »

  1. great stuff! Keep em coming

  2. I feel like I really have the syncopated bass down. I’ve practiced bare thumb (as I usually play) and with a thumbpick to get the more authentic sound for this style.

    I think I’m letting the melody ring too much though. The notes run together a bit more than I would like when there are quick melody tones in succession. Like when it goes to the A here. Any tips you can give to get more separation between the melody notes?

    Thanks for the great lesson. I’m learning a lot on your site and having fun doing it.

  3. Thanks a lot Mike, glad your getting some use out of the site. The syncopated bass is tough to get the swing of!
    A few things that might help are:
    -Playing it very slowly and trying to listen to what sounds off
    -Damping the bass strings with the heel of your hand so they don’t ring helps clean up the sound
    Finally, a little trick I use is to lightly touch the treble strings with the flat of my hand or pinky to stop excess ringing. Takes a little practice, but your hand is moving to the beat so it’s just a matter of syncopation.

  4. I think I’m doing better now but I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing differently if that makes any sense. I have been damping the bass strings for this lesson and the caravan lesson at least. I think I’m still too rigid with both hands because I’m not used to fingerpicking but also not used to playing so much within the chord.

    I’ve been anchoring my pinky and playing with thumb and 2 fingers sort of like a banjo player. I should probably try to break that habit as you suggested much earlier in the lessons but I anchor my pinky while doing anything but free strumming when playing with a pick though and I’ve done that for ages. It is just the most comfortable way for me.

  5. Lots of great player plant their fingers.
    That’s how I learned as well, it took me a while to ‘unlearn’ after I got the swing of things, even now I still find my pinky anchoring when I least expect it.
    I think once you start incorporating strumming along with your picking you’ll naturally find a balance.

  6. There has been problems lately. I cant access the lessons directly through the website (I have to use google) and the audio track for nine pount hacksaw wont work. Cant live without my fingerstyle lessons!

  7. Hi, I absolutely love your site. I have been having problems with it lately though. The audio file for this lesson (9 pound hacksaw) wont work. It says “file not found”. The other thing is that I cant access the individual lessons from the menu; I have to access it via a google search. Could you try to fix it? I just wanna learn this song so bad!

  8. Actually the audio files in all the lessons don’t work for me anymore.

    Note that these have all changed recently, like in the last week.

  9. Something about the WP engine.

  10. Thanks for pointing that out Stranget – we recently moved our site to a new server, that’s likely the cause.

    You can view the list of lessons from here: http://fingerstyleblues.com/lessons/

    Good luck with your practice, let us know if you have any questions and we’ll do our best to help!

  11. Thanks a lot!

  12. Thanks Sean! It’s all working great now. So glad to get back to learning the material. Christmas is comin, gotta get those jingle bell blues down. Again, great site that you got here.

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