‘Ukulele Chord Shapes eBook
“If you have questions about ukulele chords, Chord Shapes has the answers.” ~ James Hill

Open String Pull-Offs On The ‘Ukulele

If you have read the Hammer-ons and Pull-offs lesson and have normal ‘ukulele pull-offs nailed down, some other things to try are open-string pull-offs. These open-string pull-offs are fun because you double the amount of notes you can play very easily. It can get obnoxious, but for a machine-gun firing of notes every once in a while it’s a blast!

What you do is pick a note in a scale and then pull-off to an open string. It might make sense to start with the major scale that the string is named after (A major on the A string). This will make it sound a little more cohesive and awesome right off the get go. To get more mileage out of that same pull-off movement, you can pick the open string a second time. Because of this second pick it might be a good idea to use your index finger, though I’m sure you can find a work-around if you like.

So the concept is:

Pick down, pull-off [whatever] fret to open string, pick up on the open string. Repeat.

I’ll use an A major scale on the ‘ukulele’s A string as an example.

  • Start by placing your finger (pick one!) on the 12th fret of the A string.
  • Pick the note (down-stroke) and pull-off to open A. (The only pull-off you will be doing is to the open A string, so if you see “pull-off” it means pull-off to the open A note).
  • Pick the open A note again (up-stroke).
  • Then pick the 11th fret (down-stroke – the fretted-note pick is always a down-stroke) and pull-off.
  • Pick the open A note (up-stroke – the open string pick is always an up-stroke).
  • Pick the 9th fret and pull-off.
  • Pick the open A note.
  • Pick the 11th fret and pull-off.
  • Pick the open A note.
  • Pick the 9th fret and pull-off.
  • Pick the open A note. (You see where this is going yet?).
  • Pick the 7th fret and pull-off.
  • Pick the open A note.
  • Pick the 9th fret and pull-off.
  • Pick the open A note.
  • Pick the 7th fret and pull-off.
  • Pick the open A note.
  • Pick the 5th fret and pull-off.
  • Pick the open A note.
  • Pick the 4th fret and pull-off.
  • Pick the open A note.
  • Pick the 5th fret and pull-off.
  • Pick the open A note.
  • Pick the 2nd fret and pull-off.
  • Pick the open A note.

Practice speeding this up until your pull-offs are consistent and you will be playing the intro to Manoa DNA’s “Follow Me”. Here it is in full: Follow Me tab.

Another great song to practice this technique in is the Glass Ball Slack Key.

Use other scales and different starting points to add something new to the songs you already know. Practice one scale up and down a string, then go on to the next one.