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Minimizing noise with pull off technique

Feb 27, 2024 - 7:33:48 AM
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Tim M


11 posts since 11/15/2023

When you do a pull off, do you block the string behind and run into it, or lift up slightly as the bar releases from the plucked string so that you don't hit any other strings?

I just watched the Rob Ickes homespun lesson on pull offs and it looks like his bar runs into the string behind. However, I don't see that he's blocking anything, and he didn't say anything about it. It's mysteriously noiseless when his bar runs into the next string. I find that I need to block the string behind to prevent an unpleasant overtone when I run into it. I'm not sure what to do when I pluck with my thumb and then pull off as I can't pick block the string above in this case.

In this Shane Akers video, he teaches a slightly different technique and pulls up a little so that he doesn't hit any other strings:

I guess I just need to mix and match techniques depending on the situation, but curious what others do.

Feb 27, 2024 - 9:31:22 AM
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2518 posts since 8/3/2008

You may be using too much of the bar for the hammer-on. It should be just the tip as the bar is angled upward. I tell people it's like snapping your fingers. When executing the hammer-on/pull off the bar should be as close to the string as possible during the pull-off. The higher you lift the bar the more time it takes to get to the next string.

Time= lack of speed.

You should still be blocking with the trailing fingers on the left hand, behind the bar.

I'm talking generalities because I'm not watching you play.


Feb 27, 2024 - 11:25:37 AM



513 posts since 11/27/2014

Think of a pull-off rather as plucking the string with the tip of the bar by pushing it down on the string then pulling it back. Land on the next string with your bar, but with your fingers behind the bar at the same time. Using your fingers for damping is important and it will become more natural with time as long as you have the sound in your head that you're trying to create. As Howard suggests, don't really lift the bar unless your hammering on, and then only enough to come down on the string. If you watch the pros, there is very little up and down movement in the bar as they hammer-on and pull-off...

Edited by - docslyd on 02/27/2024 11:26:24

Feb 27, 2024 - 11:30:49 AM

Tim M


11 posts since 11/15/2023

Thank you for the replies. It sounds like the piece I'm missing is blocking with my left hand. I will have to take a closer look at Rob's left hand in the video tonight.

Feb 28, 2024 - 7:37:38 AM
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4 posts since 7/26/2022

This video posted by another of a terrific SPBGMA 2024 jam shows what I think is a proper technique to get clean pull offs by damping with the left hand. David Norton doing it on the Reso according to the video. I wasn’t there but I'm trying to get that clean sound. Working on this

Feb 28, 2024 - 7:41:40 AM

4 posts since 7/26/2022

Daniel Norton on Reso.

Feb 28, 2024 - 11:58:50 AM

Tim M


11 posts since 11/15/2023

This Lessons with Troy video illustrates the problem I was trying to describe:

His suggestion is to lift off very slightly after performing the pull back motion so that you can mute with the trailing left hand ring finger.

Feb 29, 2024 - 4:38:34 AM



8 posts since 2/7/2024

I joined Peghead Nation for Mike Witcher's Beginning Dobro course and he uses his ring finger for blocking with great affect.

Mar 1, 2024 - 8:43:12 AM

208 posts since 3/8/2014

I think I usually land on the next-nearer-to-me string. Like, pull off on a B, land on the G.

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