Pull-offs are one of the basic guitar techniques. They are widely used in almost every possible piece of guitar music. That’s why you need to focus on mastering them as soon as possible. Here’s how.
What’s a pull-off?
A pull-off is the opposite of a hammer-on. Both pull-offs and hammer-ons allow you to play two or more notes with just one pick/pluck. The difference is that when you’re pulling-off you’re playing a note that’s higher in pitch first and then another one that’s lower in pitch. Hammering-on works the other way around – lower note first then higher note.
How to perform a pull-off?
In essence, pull-off is a simple technique. In order to execute it properly you just have to hold down your string of choice simultaneously on two different frets and then do as follows:
1. Strum the string with your plucking hand.
2. Pull off one of the fingers (the one holding the string on the higher fret) – so what you’re actually doing is plucking the string with your fretting finger. What’s important is you’re not just removing your finger; you have to pull it off. Otherwise you won’t get a nice, loud sound.
That’s basically it when it comes to the technique itself. Now how to recognize pull-offs while reading tablature.
The truth to be told is that there’s no official tablature representation of this technique. However, in most cases pull-offs are indicated by the letter “p” like this:
The example above tells you to:
1. Press down on both the 5th fret and the 7th fret.
2. Pick the 2nd string (B).
3. Pull off your finger which essentially plucks the string.
Important! Remember, you’re doing this with just one pluck.
Playing a series of pull-offs
Check out this example:
This is a more advanced technique – playing three notes with just one pluck. In order to do this you have to press down the string on three frets at the same time, pluck the string, pull-off 7th fret to 5th, and then 5th to 3rd. This way of playing is really handy in all kinds of solos and improves your speed by a country mile.
Now a set of helpful video tutorials.
Don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments.