Guitar Technique 3 – Pull Offs

Hi all,

Earlier in the series we looked at a couple of useful guitar techniques for moving between notes, mainly slides and hammer ons.  This lesson we will be looking at the opposite of the hammer-on, which is the ‘pull off’.


How to pull off the ‘pull off’…
The video below shows a pull off from the 7th fret to the 5th fret on the B string.

Start by keeping your index finger held down on the note we are about to pull off to (our destination) which is the 5th fret on the B string – this lowers the action of the string, making it easier for us to execute the technique.  Now add the third finger onto the 7th fret of the B string and play as normal.  Once the note is ringing you need to pull the finger slightly downwards off the string, flicking it off as opposed to lifting it off.  This action slightly plucks the string meaning that you get a nice clear sounding note.

  • TIP – If you lift your finger off the string instead of pulling it off then the note will die away (known as decay) very quickly.

On TAB it looks like this:

Screen shot 2013-03-23 at 13.53.45

Note the curved line over the notes – this indicates a pull off.
Sometimes there will be an ‘p’ written above it, but in my opinion it’s unneeded as you can only pull off from a higher number to a lower number!

It is possible to play pull offs with any combination of fingers, not just the index and ring finger. Practice playing hammer ons with different combinations of fingers for thorough practice – maybe the index and little or the middle and ring finger…!

TIP – Make sure that the finger playing the destination note is held down prior to doing the pull off.

Study Piece

I have written a short piece for you to practice your pull offs.  Take your time and work on getting the technique right, not fast.

[Pull Offs_TAB]

See you next week for technique number 3…

Happy playing!

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