Real Guitar Adventure for Grownups

Pull-Off Guitar Lesson And Exercise

in Guitar Basics | 2 comments

Video Transcript And Relevant Links:


Pull offs are an essential part of playing the acoustic guitar and they serve two purposes. One is it does add some character to both your melody and when you're doing these runs in between chords but they also like you to play a little bit faster. You actually get several notes sometimes one two with only one strike of the right hand. So here's an example of a simple pull off. There's two notes there but I'm only striking it once. And here's a more elaborate pull-off. I just played a lot of notes and I only struck a few of those notes with the right hand. So I'm going to show you a great exercise to practice but before I do I wanna give you a few tips. 

First of all when you do a pull off, you put your finger on the string and then you pull your finger off. Try to do it quickly. When you do it slow the finger in the left hand absorbs a lot of that sound from the string before you actually get to the second note and you're trying to get both notes about the same volume or as close as possible. So if I take my time that second note is very soft quickly there's still a lot of volume left in the note that leads me to the second tip. When you pull off give the left hand a little bit of a flick so I'm not pulling straight up. I'm actually pulling a little bit to the side and it kinda picks the string a little bit with my left hand. I call it a flick. Now it takes a little practice to do that. And one of the downfalls is sometimes when you're flicking the string like the second string you might hit that first string as well and doesn't sound so clean. So the trickier is when you pull the finger in the left hand you can actually go on to touch the other string to keep it from vibrating. Watch.

So the left hand finger here is actually going on to touch that first string and stopping the vibration. So if you find that difficult, another way to accomplish that which I often do also is just touch the other string with my right hand to stop it from vibrating. You can try both ways and see which works best for you. I wouldn't stress over. It's something you practice a little bit over time and it gets cleaner and cleaner. With that I want to show you a cool exercise that'll give you a chance to practice these pull offs with all three fingers in the left hand. The first finger, second finger and third finger. And unlike a lot of the exercise, this one sounds musical which makes it a little more fun. So here's what its gonna sound like. That's the first half. The second half is almost exactly the same. And that finishes up the exercise so let's go through it one note at a time.

First without the pull offs. So try that with me. Third finger on the third fret on the second string, here's the first phrase. So it's third finger, first, open, back to first and open. Do that much with me, ready. go.

Here's the second phrase. So start with the first finger. Together, ready go. First finger, open, second finger, back to open, back to second finger. 

Now the third phrase we're going to start with that second finger on the third string second fret. Open, pinky over to the fourth string fourth fret, back to the open third string, second finger down. Let's just do that together. Ready, hit it. Second finger, open, pinky, back to open, second finger. Now the last phrase. 

It's just a second string open, first finger down, and then open and hold that note. Do that with me. Ready, go. Open. Now the whole phrase. Let's do it. Start with the third finger. Ready, go. First finger down and then open. Now with the pull offs. The first note of every one of those phrases will be a pull off so here's what it looks like, pull off. So I'm only hitting one time with the right hand. Open, first finger down, open. Now the second phrase you pull off. Third phrase pull off with the second finger. Last phrase, no pull off. Okay, try that once with me nice and slow. It's just walk-through. Ready, go.

Pull off, open, first finger down, open. 

Now we're gonna put the first finger down pull off, open, back to the second finger. Now second finger pull off and open first finger down. Now the second phrase almost exactly the same. Go ahead. Do it with me. Third finger pull off, open, first, open. Now first finger pull off, second finger pull off and this is the only different part. Open second string second finger and open and that's the end of the exercise.

Tomas Michaud

Author - Tomas Michaud at Real Guitar Success
Tomas Michaud is an American born guitarist and music educator with a French Canadian heritage. He first developed the Starland Guitar System in 1982 when his 9 year old daughter asked him to teach her guitar. Since then he’s founded the Starland School of Music in the SF Bay Area, and RealguitarSuccess.com.

When he's not making guitar instruction videos or creating more music to record (currently 7 CDs including Beauty and Fire) he's riding his bike along the beach with his dog Marco Polo or traveling to interesting places with his lovely wife Pui.
Tomas Michaud

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    2 Comments

  1. Tomas, you are a great teacher.
    Thank You.

    Tommy Howe

    July 16, 2019

    • Thank you Tommy. I appreciate your kind words. – Tomas

      Tomas Michaud

      August 6, 2019

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