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Oct 12, 2022 - 5:10:45 PM
17 posts since 1/14/2021

Hi all
Really struggling with getting pull offs (and speed) down.
Any suggestions for exercises to build this skill would be greatly appreciated!

Oct 12, 2022 - 6:27:22 PM
like this

2386 posts since 8/3/2008

Without actually watching you:

1. Tilt the bar only enough apply adequate downward pressure on the string.

2. With the string depressed pull the bar back or even slightly down. Like snapping your finger.

3. You only have to pull the bar back JUST ENOUGH to clear the string because distance = speed.

4. Mute with trailing fingers of your bar hand or pick block.

Very often the "pull-off" is preceded by a "hammer-on".

Easier to demonstrate than it is to describe.


Oct 13, 2022 - 7:34:39 AM
like this



16 posts since 4/15/2022

Howard is correct.
There are several demonstrations / lessons on YouTube (for free) that might help too. I purchased Jimmy Heffernan's Dobro Handbook lessons that helped me solve several of my "self taught bad habits".

Oct 17, 2022 - 2:14:09 PM



291 posts since 6/4/2012

I have trying unsuccessfully to do pull-offs for years, and I’ve watched so many instructors demonstrate. I eventually gave up and figured I would just dazzle myself with my playing in other areas. After reading Howard’s answer to Mike, I decided to give it one more try, because he made it sound so easy and natural. I figured out what I’ve been doing wrong. I’ve been leaning the bar toward me, basically making it not so tall (Charlie’s bars are tall for small female hands), so I’ve been trying to pull off with rounded corners instead of the end of the bar. I can’t blame it on Charlie’s bars, though, because I had no success with any bars. Well I’m excited!!

Oct 17, 2022 - 6:28:17 PM
Players Union Member



182 posts since 4/14/2010

I do find that the Charley’s bar does a great job for me doing pull offs. Any bar with a good sharp edge should work well for you though. Keep working at it, when you get that first one done nice and clean you will say to yourself, “Oh yeah”, that’s how it works.


Oct 17, 2022 - 7:39:36 PM

17 posts since 1/14/2021

Thanks for the help y'all. Ours is a somewhat mystical art!

Oct 18, 2022 - 5:45:57 AM

219 posts since 1/7/2019

The problem I had with pull-offs for quite a while was hitting the next string with the bar after the pull-off. The result was that string would ring out slightly creating a clash with the rest of the music. For the longest time I could not do a pull off without also striking the next string.

I don't do that now, but for the life of me, I have no idea what I changed to stop doing it. Such is the problem with passing on these techniques to others.

Oct 18, 2022 - 9:23:50 AM

17 posts since 1/14/2021

I have been trying to block the next string with my bar fingers, but it will take a lot of practice to get the speed

Oct 18, 2022 - 11:33:42 AM

219 posts since 1/7/2019

Originally posted by Mkoolhof

I have been trying to block the next string with my bar fingers, but it will take a lot of practice to get the speed

If I understand you right, I don't think muting with your left hand will work since your fingers will be behind the point where the bar strikes the unintended string. I think the only option in that regard would be to mute with your thumb in front of the bar.

My main point, thought, was to say that now when I do a pull-off, I don't hit the next string. But I don't know what I did to stop.

Oct 18, 2022 - 1:05:05 PM



449 posts since 11/27/2014

When the bar is "in motion", blocking is more effective with the right (picking) hand. Check out some pedal steel player techniques. Frequently a combination of pick blocking and left hand muting are used in combination. This is hard to describe and perform "intentionally" as it's a slow process to integrate. However, if you watch and hear the technique it will slowly and subliminally creep into your playing....hopefully.

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