What Is A Hammer Jammer? (and are they worth getting?)
There are a number of gadgets on the market for guitars that change the way you use your guitar. Some are just gimmicks and some are actually quite useful and we’d put the hammer jammer in the useful pile. Using the hammer jammer opens up ways to create interesting new sounds that have never been possible on a guitar before.
How Does The Hammer Jammer Work?
To describe how the hammer jammer works we need to ask you to use some imagination. The piano is a string instrument that is played using percussion. As you press a key, a link pushes a hammer-like object that strikes the string to create the sound. OK, we’ve simplified it a bit but that’s the basic principle of how a piano creates a note.
So the piano is a cross between a stringed instrument, and a percussion instrument. The hammer jammer works on a similar principle, when you tap the key of the hammer jammer it hammers the string connected to that key.
Six Strings, Six Keys, Six Hammers
As there are six strings on a standard guitar, the hammer jammer has six keys and six hammers. You attach the device to your guitar and then adjust the hammers to fit your string configuration. Then using a light tapping motion you strike the keys to create some amazing sounds.
The guitar will never sound as good as it can using the hammer jammer, and it works on both acoustic and electric guitars. The sound has been described as something like a hammer dulcimer on speed.
Where Is The Hammer Jammer Made?
The hammer jammer is made in the United States of America in Westerville, Ohio by a company called Big Walnut Productions. Invented and developed by Ken McCaw, a studio musician who plays guitar and keyboard. He imagined a device that would fit onto a guitar and allow the guitarist to hammer the strings (just like a piano).
The design has taken a few twists and turns before becoming the finished product it is today and it has had some help from some famous and influential guitarists. People like Chris Martin (of Martin Guitars), Ricky Skaggs (famous bluegrass artist) and support from such esteemed guitarists as Vince Gill, Eddie Van Halen and Chet Atkins to name a few.
Hammer Jammer Videos
This video now has more than 3 million views and was the original video Ken produced highlighting the hammer jammer.
Ken McCaw used the hammer jammer to create a piece of music which was used for the trailer for “stone of destiny” in Europe. In 2012 he put together a hammer jammer tune with orchestration which received more than 4,000 views without any promotion and Ken concluded that anyone watching a video about a guitar product is probably a guitarist. Now, 4,000 views on youtube isn’t that spectacular but 4,000 guitarists implied a viable product.
After he released a second youtube video, he sold hammer jammers to guitarists in more than 60 countries. What Ken never realised at the time was just how many hammer jammers were being bought by arthritic guitarists and disabled veterans.
How Much Does The Hammer Jammer Cost?
At this time, the hammer jammer appears to only be available to purchase directly from the Big Walnut Productions company (based in Ohio, USA). The cost is somewhere between $70.00 to $80.00 presumably plus shipping costs. Check their website as they sometimes have a 10% discount available if you sign up with your e-mail address etc.
Is It Worth Buying The Hammer Jammer?
If you’re looking to improve on your guitar sound, and want to create some unique sounding pieces, the hammer jammer is definitely for you. Also if you have any arthritic or rheumatic conditions that affect your hands or have some sort of disability that prevents you from strumming or picking the guitar strings, then the hammer jammer could well be the perfect way to get you back into the guitar again.
In our opinion, like many gadgets on the market today, the hammer jammer has its place in the creation of new types of musical sound. But unlike some of the more out there gadgets, the hammer jammer actually works, and with endorsements and support from some of the guitar world’s leading lights, it’s definitely worth trying. And for less than $100.00 it’s far cheaper than some of the studio type sound changing equipment in use today.
Frequently Asked Questions
The hammer jammer is the brainchild of Ken McCaw from Big Walnut Productions in Ohio, USA.
The hammer jammer works by hitting the strings of the guitar and turning the guitar into a cross between a stringed instrument and a percussion instrument in much the same way as a piano works.