Just like a hammer-on, a pull-off is way of sounding a note without having to pick at it, which can speed up your riff.

Pull offs are carried out on strings that are already vibrating (giving off sound). As it’s the opposite of the hammer on, the pull off will sound a note lower on the given string, either a fretted note, or the open string itself.

Check out our video guitar lesson on how to do pull-offs correctly, it’ll be very helpful, since this is a technique that has to be observed and heard.

How to Do a Pull-Off

  1. Fret any given note and pluck it.
  2. Pull down on the string slightly, and rapidly pull your finger off the string.
  3. Since you pulled the string down slightly before you let it go, the string will pop back into place, which is sort of a mini pluck with your fretting hand finger if you think about it.
  4. You’ll need to be able to do pull-offs with all of your fretting fingers.

When you first practice this technique, pull-off to the open string. Once you are comfortable with pull-offs using all your fingers, try fretting a string with your index finger, and doing pull-offs to it with your other fingers.

A good way to practice it is by playing the pentatonic scale going backwards, and instead of plucking the lower notes on a given string, pull-off to it.

Consecutive pull-offs

You can create great riffs using consecutive pull-offs. If you feel up to it, try fretting any string with at least 3 fretting fingers, and doing pull-offs with each, to sound a lower note.

You’ll need to repeat that a few thousand times to really get the hang of it 🙂

I recommend you watch the video lesson on pull-offs, it’s really helpful.