Help with pull-offs

Guitar Tricks Forum > Technique and Style > Help with pull-offs

amark16

Registered User

Joined: 09/02/11

Posts: 4

Hey guys,
I've been working on my lead technique lately as i want to build up speed and precision in my playing. Im having great difficulty getting the hang of pull offs. the internet is full of trills and simple exercises but the actual technique is killing me. I know you have to "pluck" the string with the pulling-off finger, no problems with that. my problem is that in many licks, especially when descending (on a pentatonic scale for example), i have no time placing both my fingers in time to perform the pull off, if you know what i mean. How do u suggest i tackle that?

#1

Hey guys,
I've been working on my lead technique lately as i want to build up speed and precision in my playing. Im having great difficulty getting the hang of pull offs. the internet is full of trills and simple exercises but the actual technique is killing me. I know you have to "pluck" the string with the pulling-off finger, no problems with that. my problem is that in many licks, especially when descending (on a pentatonic scale for example), i have no time placing both my fingers in time to perform the pull off, if you know what i mean. How do u suggest i tackle that?

SebastBerg

Full Access

Joined: 02/01/10

Posts: 421

Well there's no trick in speed. Practice practice practice will make you faster.

But here's one simple thing you can do, if your not already doing it.
It wont work in every case but when you get to a point in the scale where the upcoming note on the adjacent string is on the same fret as the one your holding right now, you bar both strings. That way you will only have to move the finger doing the pull off.

Ex. with the "most famous" minor pentatonic scale pattern : Every first note of every string is on the same fret. So you bar them all with your index and you do the pull offs with the others.
- Seb
www.sebastienberger.com

#2

Well there's no trick in speed. Practice practice practice will make you faster.

But here's one simple thing you can do, if your not already doing it.
It wont work in every case but when you get to a point in the scale where the upcoming note on the adjacent string is on the same fret as the one your holding right now, you bar both strings. That way you will only have to move the finger doing the pull off.

Ex. with the "most famous" minor pentatonic scale pattern : Every first note of every string is on the same fret. So you bar them all with your index and you do the pull offs with the others.
- Seb
www.sebastienberger.com

hunter1801

Registered User

Joined: 01/26/05

Posts: 1331

Ya but if you just bar everything, it's harder to control excess noise coming from the strings. If you go down the scale pulling off every note with a bar, the top strings ring out easier than they would if you just played them individually.

#3

Ya but if you just bar everything, it's harder to control excess noise coming from the strings. If you go down the scale pulling off every note with a bar, the top strings ring out easier than they would if you just played them individually.

SebastBerg

Full Access

Joined: 02/01/10

Posts: 421

Ya good point hunter. So I'll adjust myself. If you bar everything without pressure, except where you are at the moment in the scale, youl have your finger ready for every other string + you will block out any noise from the surrounding strings you are not playing. Should have been clearer Smilie
- Seb
www.sebastienberger.com

#4

Ya good point hunter. So I'll adjust myself. If you bar everything without pressure, except where you are at the moment in the scale, youl have your finger ready for every other string + you will block out any noise from the surrounding strings you are not playing. Should have been clearer Smilie
- Seb
www.sebastienberger.com

CSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 4464

Originally Posted by: amark16
I've been working on my lead technique lately as i want to build up speed and precision in my playing. Im having great difficulty getting the hang of pull offs.

Hunter & Sebastian have pointed you in the right direction. You have to mute or make some contact with the next string(s) you will play ahead of time, before you get there so your fingers will be in place. But you have to mute them before you need them to ring, then press down to make them ring, then mute them again right after they've rung!

When you start attempting faster lines, this means you have to get used to moving, rolling, tilting & wiggling your fingers (especially your index) around quite a bit to find that perfect amount of movement, pressure & micro-placement required to keep a string from ringing until needed. Once you find that right amount of placement & pressure, you will see it's not much movement at all! After all, in order to play fast you don't have the time for wasted motion.

But it can take time to find just the right amount & kind of micro-motion & placement necessary.

Keep in mind that the picking hand is a big part of this equation also. The palm and free fingers of your picking hand can help catch a lot of the muting that your freting hand misses.

I have a couple of tutorials on doing hammer-on & pull-off licks with the pentatonic scale. In some of the lessons I demonstrate closeups that might help you get a better visual on how to solve this problem.

http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=914
http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=737
http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=843

Above all, remember to practice slowly & precisely in order to get the technique right. Otherwise you are just teaching your hands to play sloppy! Speed will come with repetition, practice & patience.

Hope this helps. Ask more if necessary! Have fun. Smilie
Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#5

Originally Posted by: amark16
I've been working on my lead technique lately as i want to build up speed and precision in my playing. Im having great difficulty getting the hang of pull offs.

Hunter & Sebastian have pointed you in the right direction. You have to mute or make some contact with the next string(s) you will play ahead of time, before you get there so your fingers will be in place. But you have to mute them before you need them to ring, then press down to make them ring, then mute them again right after they've rung!

When you start attempting faster lines, this means you have to get used to moving, rolling, tilting & wiggling your fingers (especially your index) around quite a bit to find that perfect amount of movement, pressure & micro-placement required to keep a string from ringing until needed. Once you find that right amount of placement & pressure, you will see it's not much movement at all! After all, in order to play fast you don't have the time for wasted motion.

But it can take time to find just the right amount & kind of micro-motion & placement necessary.

Keep in mind that the picking hand is a big part of this equation also. The palm and free fingers of your picking hand can help catch a lot of the muting that your freting hand misses.

I have a couple of tutorials on doing hammer-on & pull-off licks with the pentatonic scale. In some of the lessons I demonstrate closeups that might help you get a better visual on how to solve this problem.

http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=914
http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=737
http://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=843

Above all, remember to practice slowly & precisely in order to get the technique right. Otherwise you are just teaching your hands to play sloppy! Speed will come with repetition, practice & patience.

Hope this helps. Ask more if necessary! Have fun. Smilie
Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

Daew

Registered User

Joined: 12/02/06

Posts: 8

Originally Posted by: SebastBerg
Ya good point hunter. So I'll adjust myself. If you bar everything without pressure, except where you are at the moment in the scale, youl have your finger ready for every other string + you will block out any noise from the surrounding strings you are not playing. Should have been clearer Smilie


This. Playing pulloffs with bar is harder but it is still worth learning it.
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#6

Originally Posted by: SebastBerg
Ya good point hunter. So I'll adjust myself. If you bar everything without pressure, except where you are at the moment in the scale, youl have your finger ready for every other string + you will block out any noise from the surrounding strings you are not playing. Should have been clearer Smilie


This. Playing pulloffs with bar is harder but it is still worth learning it.
Stratocaster vs. Les Paul Comparison
Stratocaster vs. Telecaster Comparison

James.Erickson

Registered User

Joined: 04/06/09

Posts: 19

Originally Posted by: amark16
Hey guys,
I've been working on my lead technique lately as i want to build up speed and precision in my playing. Im having great difficulty getting the hang of pull offs. the internet is full of trills and simple exercises but the actual technique is killing me. I know you have to "pluck" the string with the pulling-off finger, no problems with that. my problem is that in many licks, especially when descending (on a pentatonic scale for example), i have no time placing both my fingers in time to perform the pull off, if you know what i mean. How do u suggest i tackle that?


Part of the problem is the "pluck," even though this is the most common method of pull-off it is certainly not fully explained in terms of speed and execution, because when doing descending scales, your fingers which are plucking are generally moving in the opposite direction as the motion in the scale. The pluck does not necessarily have to be this giant downward pull. As your speed develops, the downward pluck should be strong enough to carry an even-sound but as small as possible (which CSegel alluded to). This can be achieved through almost a "circular motion" whereas the finger once it plucks the string almost immediate heads in the direction of where it needs to be next.

www.jamesericksonmusic.com

#7

Originally Posted by: amark16
Hey guys,
I've been working on my lead technique lately as i want to build up speed and precision in my playing. Im having great difficulty getting the hang of pull offs. the internet is full of trills and simple exercises but the actual technique is killing me. I know you have to "pluck" the string with the pulling-off finger, no problems with that. my problem is that in many licks, especially when descending (on a pentatonic scale for example), i have no time placing both my fingers in time to perform the pull off, if you know what i mean. How do u suggest i tackle that?


Part of the problem is the "pluck," even though this is the most common method of pull-off it is certainly not fully explained in terms of speed and execution, because when doing descending scales, your fingers which are plucking are generally moving in the opposite direction as the motion in the scale. The pluck does not necessarily have to be this giant downward pull. As your speed develops, the downward pluck should be strong enough to carry an even-sound but as small as possible (which CSegel alluded to). This can be achieved through almost a "circular motion" whereas the finger once it plucks the string almost immediate heads in the direction of where it needs to be next.

www.jamesericksonmusic.com

Chayakorn

Registered User

Joined: 11/21/11

Posts: 51

Find some exercises for practicing each left and right hand as well as 2 hand sync.

Rock On \m/

#8

Find some exercises for practicing each left and right hand as well as 2 hand sync.

Rock On \m/

gdengelbrecht

Registered User

Joined: 07/07/09

Posts: 34

Originally Posted by: amark16
Hey guys,
I've been working on my lead technique lately as i want to build up speed and precision in my playing. Im having great difficulty getting the hang of pull offs. the internet is full of trills and simple exercises but the actual technique is killing me. I know you have to "pluck" the string with the pulling-off finger, no problems with that. my problem is that in many licks, especially when descending (on a pentatonic scale for example), i have no time placing both my fingers in time to perform the pull off, if you know what i mean. How do u suggest i tackle that?

I suggest you try that exact same lick but use only hammer on's even while descending. I know the problem is with pull off's but when one focus on doing only hammer on's while descending one really trains finger independence and precision like never before.

There is a You Tube legato video by a guy named Marshall Harrison, that will be very beneficial because he explains this hammer on thing I described.

I took it further and used that to build my legato technique to get the pull off's down etc.

Hope this helps Smilie
http://www.georgeshredking.com/

http://guitarlessonsinvredenburg.com/

#9

Originally Posted by: amark16
Hey guys,
I've been working on my lead technique lately as i want to build up speed and precision in my playing. Im having great difficulty getting the hang of pull offs. the internet is full of trills and simple exercises but the actual technique is killing me. I know you have to "pluck" the string with the pulling-off finger, no problems with that. my problem is that in many licks, especially when descending (on a pentatonic scale for example), i have no time placing both my fingers in time to perform the pull off, if you know what i mean. How do u suggest i tackle that?

I suggest you try that exact same lick but use only hammer on's even while descending. I know the problem is with pull off's but when one focus on doing only hammer on's while descending one really trains finger independence and precision like never before.

There is a You Tube legato video by a guy named Marshall Harrison, that will be very beneficial because he explains this hammer on thing I described.

I took it further and used that to build my legato technique to get the pull off's down etc.

Hope this helps Smilie
http://www.georgeshredking.com/

http://guitarlessonsinvredenburg.com/

James.Erickson

Registered User

Joined: 04/06/09

Posts: 19

Originally Posted by: gdengelbrecht
I suggest you try that exact same lick but use only hammer on's even while descending. I know the problem is with pull off's but when one focus on doing only hammer on's while descending one really trains finger independence and precision like never before.

There is a You Tube legato video by a guy named Marshall Harrison, that will be very beneficial because he explains this hammer on thing I described.

I took it further and used that to build my legato technique to get the pull off's down etc.

Hope this helps Smilie


George,

I understand where you are going with that idea, and I was actually debating whether or not to recommend the all-hammer-on approach. It is the direction that legato is heading for the 21st century guitarist in large part due to Allan Holdsworth (and Marshall Harrison who helps explain it). What have you found with when to start students on this concept?

Personally, I feel that it depends on the student and if they show an interest in developing in that direction, but is that something you teach all your students?

#10

Originally Posted by: gdengelbrecht
I suggest you try that exact same lick but use only hammer on's even while descending. I know the problem is with pull off's but when one focus on doing only hammer on's while descending one really trains finger independence and precision like never before.

There is a You Tube legato video by a guy named Marshall Harrison, that will be very beneficial because he explains this hammer on thing I described.

I took it further and used that to build my legato technique to get the pull off's down etc.

Hope this helps Smilie


George,

I understand where you are going with that idea, and I was actually debating whether or not to recommend the all-hammer-on approach. It is the direction that legato is heading for the 21st century guitarist in large part due to Allan Holdsworth (and Marshall Harrison who helps explain it). What have you found with when to start students on this concept?

Personally, I feel that it depends on the student and if they show an interest in developing in that direction, but is that something you teach all your students?