Lesson 11 – Pull-Offs

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Historical Comment Archive:
  • Margie Landis May 22, 2022

    What great pull off exercises. I really like them.

    • Susan Murry Aug 8, 2023

      I heartily agree!
      They are fun to do.

  • Susan Murry Aug 8, 2023

    Is the pull-off done at the same speed and volume as the other notes
    being played?
    How does a pull-off relate to the beats per measure?
    Are they always written in the music?
    Can it be done lighter as an echo?
    Louder as an accent?

    I hold my right hand in a cupped position with my thumb sticking out.
    My thumb plays in a circular motion.
    My fingers play more cupped and pull inward lifting a bit from the knuckles.
    My fingers sort of look like their walking when picking different strings.
    Is this odd?
    Your right hand looks much more relaxed and loose.

    • Brad Bordessa Aug 8, 2023

      Great observations, Susan!

      Think of the pull-off as just another note. It can be played fast, slow, loud, quiet as any other would. The only difference is how the notes are articulated, or connected. You can always play without a pull-off or hammer-on by picking every note. The articulation should capture the same intent, it just saves you some plucking motions.

      So musically, a pull-off is exactly the same as any other note. The difference is the tone and texture and facility. I think that covers your first few questions.

      As for your picking motions, it really depends on the hand, but I like to think of the tendons in my arm as puppeteering my fingers from the base of my palm. As if the fingers were controlled by strings inside your arm that come out of your palm. (This is kind of how the hand works already: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbroTkmBT2k.)

      Without seeing your motions it’s hard to give good critique. If you want to upload a private video to somewhere so I can see you play I can give a better answer.