Take the 2-minute tour ×
Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've taken great care to hold frets with my fingertips in a position that they don't come into contact with other strings. Every time I try and do a pulloff though, it stops the string below, kind of like an upside down rest stroke. Clearly this is because I am pulling in a direction directly parallel to the fretboard but any other angle fails to produce a clear, loud sound.

Am I doing this right?

share|improve this question
    
When you say you are pulling paralell to the fretboard do you mean you are pulling "down" towards the edge of the fretboard or "up" and away from the fretboard? –  Deryl Gallant Jan 17 '12 at 18:06
    
Towards the edge of the fretboard. –  enthdegree Jan 19 '12 at 15:25

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I try to sort of press enough to "hook" into a portion of my callus, and then I can pull at a more upward angle, maybe 50º or so. If done too hard, the string'll buzz against the fret for the first few vibrations, but that's the only negative I've found. However guitar's a secondary instrument for me, so I don't play as much as I wish; you may have much thicker calluses that won't allow this technique to work as well.

share|improve this answer
    
This is pretty much what I do too. It's almost a picking motion. –  Matthew Read Jan 17 '12 at 19:06
    
Neato! I had never done it like that before. –  enthdegree Jan 19 '12 at 15:23

You need to press and release as close to "straight down" as you can get.

Imagine a set of 3D graph axes, x, y and z:

enter image description here

The strings are parallel with the x axis. The frets are parallel with the z axis.

You should aim for your fingers to come down parallel with the Y axis.

When you pull off, you should lift them away from the fretboard, following the Y axis.

If this doesn't sound clear, you're not pulling off quickly or cleanly enough. Keep practising.

If you're holding the guitar properly, your fingers will naturally come down onto the fretboard in the right direction. The difficulty with holding the guitar properly, however, is that you can't see the fretboard clearly, since it's pretty much facing away from you.

share|improve this answer

When you perform a pulloff, the cleanest sound will come from pulling across the fretboard, so you should aim to move your finger in this direction at first (or close to it), however you need to rapidly change this into a movement away from the fretboard if you want to avoid the next string.

Things that can make this easier:

  • Keeping your fingers vertical to the fretboard, a more classical position than the generally slumped 'rock guitar' position - this will reduce the amount of finger near other strings

  • Practice a slightly more angled pulloff - increasing speed and 'sharpness' here can give you a note similar to a horizontal pulloff in clarity

  • 'Hooking' as @Josh mentioned can help with the attack

Also you could look at technological solutions - a compressor can bring hammer-ons and pull-offs to the same level, which is why they are used a lot when guitarists record long tapped/pulled runs

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.