Monday, March 29, 2010

Guitar Pull Offs

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Often Pull Offs are grouped together with Hammer Ons. However they are not exact opposites of each other.

What they do have in common is that they allow us to play two notes faster, form triplets easier, and add expression and fluency to our playing.

The tablature for a pull off is usually written to include a "P". The diagram below indicates that we are going to play the 7th fret note, and then do a pull off which will then play the 5th fret note:

|-------------| 1st String
|---7-p-5-----| 2nd String
|-------------| 3rd String
|-------------| 4th String
|-------------| 5th String
|-------------| 6th String

Here is step by step how to actually play the two notes:

  • Place 3rd finger on the 7th fret of the 2nd sting.
  • Place 1st finger on the 5th fret of the 2nd sting.
  • Pick the 2nd string to play the 7th fret note.
  • Pull your 3rd finger down (not bending the string) so it essentially plucks the 2nd string again.
  • This will play the 5th fret note, because our firstg finger is still pressing on that fret.
Eg. Our 3rd finger will be lifted up and the 5th fret note should now be playing.

The best thing to do is to watch some video tutorials on how to do Pull offs.

Here are some great videos from

Here is Part 2 of the previous Pull Offs video. This lesson moves from open string pull offs, into fret to fret pull offs. It also includes Alex Lifeson from the awesome Canadian band "Rush" showing a practical example of using pull offs in a guitar tune.

Here is Part 3 of Pull Offs that continues with fret to fret pull offs, and includes putting several pull offs together into a basic run.

Here is the fourth and final part of the Pull Offs lesson. This clip continues with doing the consecutive pull offs run of notes to form a descending scale.

Here is a great 10 minute lesson from one of my favorite online guitar teachers. The lesson goes all the way through from learning a pentatonic blues scale, through to playing hammer ons and pull offs.

Here is a good video clip that explains hammer ons and pull offs, and provides some exercises to do to practice these with all of your fingers:

Here is a really great video clip on how to use hammer ons combined with Pull offs for playing metal riffs: (At last we get to do something constructive !)

There are hundreds of other guitar lesson videos available for free at

Simply click on the left hand side menu on "Music" and then on the next page click on "Guitar" and start working your way through.

Or on the home page use the search boxes to do for example "guitar vibrato" in the first box, abnd click to select "in guitar" in the second right hand corner box, and then click the yellow "FIND" button. This will then bring up plenty of free video lessons that we can do.

So get busy on your own axe, and with strong plucky fingers see what you can pull off in the way of great rocking riffs.

Big Passy Wasabi

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