How to Play a Pull-Off on Country Guitar

Learn how to play a pull-off on country guitar from musician Boo Reiners in this Howcast video.

We talked earlier about hammer-ons which is where we play a note and we place a finger on top of the ringing note. Here’s the opposite of that. We call it a pull-off, and basically we’re kind of rolling off of a fretted note. So, say I was playing a C chord and I took that chord tone that I have on the fourth string and I pull my finger off. So I’m picking the note and then I pull it off and part of doing a nice clean pull-off is you’re actually sort of picking the note or picking the string, I should say, with your fretting finger.

So to practice this you don’t even need to strike the string with your pick. You can just use one of your fretting fingers and see how much sound you can get out by just pulling off of a fretted note. Eventually you’re going to start using this when you play melody. You might use it while strumming chords. Okay? But to use it in a melody. So it’s kind of a like I’m getting an extra note for what I’m picking. So I’m picking. So I pick the string one time but I get two different pitches. It goes a long way towards when we try to play a melody and we want it to sound nice and easy. We want it to have kind of a vocal sound to the melody, and this is one of those techniques where we can get a nice legato sort of quality to the melody that we’re playing.

You can also use a double pull-off where I’ll fret two notes on the same string. I’ll hit the string, pull off, and then pull off one more time. So that gives us three notes for the price of one and this is another technique that gives us options when we’re playing a melody. Might want to incorporate some of these things just to kind of change up playing a simple melody, giving it some sort of vocal quality or some sort of inflection that makes it not quite so plain. So here’s how I might use it. We’ll go to the key of G here.

So I use single hammer-ons, single pull-offs, double pull-offs. All those things go into playing melody on the guitar and making it sound a little more inspired. So, have fun with that. Just practice it as much as you can. The more you do it the easier it gets.