#1
Hello, I just joined the site (been checking out for years, though) and I have one important question for you. I perform pull-offs not by pulling the string towards the floor, but by pushing/pulling it towards the ceiling. Is that wrong? Will it prevent me from getting faster at this particular technique? Does anyone else do it that way?
#2
This is unusual... it seems so counter intuitive to do it that way. While I have no specific reason as to why it would be bad I can't imagine it being a good thing..
Last edited by vayne92 at Jun 15, 2017,
#3
It seems to me that any technique practiced enough gets results, as there are a lot of different picking and plucking styles out there.

This is the first time I have heard of pulling off upwards, so it's hard to say.

Is it working for you?
#4
doctorjimmy1997 I think there is an argument to be made that doing it your way is slightly wrong, but it's not much of an argument, I don't think.  It would probably be something along the lines that the generally more powerful, more adapted movement of human fingers is towards the palm; we have more strength that way, and probably a little more control as well.

That's definitely invoking the appeal to nature fallacy though, so on its own it doesn't really mean much of anything.  I generally agree that anything practiced enough will probably get you at least some results, whether those are as good as or as easy as the conventional way... only time can tell, sadly.
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#5
You'll want to correct that technique. The pull-off should be like a left hand pluck, with the finger curling towards the palm. Doing it the other way engages the muscles on the "wrong" side of the forearm and puts a whole lot of unnecessary stress on your wrist. Think of your tendons as rubber bands trying to move over your wrist like the edge of a desk - if you keep stretching them around that corner, they're going to fray and break.

In fact there is hardly ever a time when it's appropriate to engage the muscles/tendons on the back of the hand. Any time your fingers leave the strings, they should be disengaging completely rather than being pulled away actively. The inside of the forearm, where your carpal tendons are, is where all the action is. 
#6
Now that I think about it can you "pull off" as fast pushing as pulling? 
I doubt that you could just due to the physics of the operation.

Ultimately it seems likely that you would be faster pulling down, which is a natural motion, rather than pushing up.
#7
Quote by 33db

Is it working for you?

So far, yes, I have developed it enough in order to play comfortably enough, but I want to improve my speed and I wondered whether it will be an obstacle. As cdgraves pointed out, it certainly puts unnecessary stress on my wrist, so I will start correcting my pull-off technique asap.
#8
Quote by cdgraves
You'll want to correct that technique. The pull-off should be like a left hand pluck, with the finger curling towards the palm. Doing it the other way engages the muscles on the "wrong" side of the forearm and puts a whole lot of unnecessary stress on your wrist. Think of your tendons as rubber bands trying to move over your wrist like the edge of a desk - if you keep stretching them around that corner, they're going to fray and break.

In fact there is hardly ever a time when it's appropriate to engage the muscles/tendons on the back of the hand. Any time your fingers leave the strings, they should be disengaging completely rather than being pulled away actively. The inside of the forearm, where your carpal tendons are, is where all the action is. 


This seems to make sense. Although I have no knowledge of people doing pull offs in this way I imagine it would hinder you eventually.
#9
Quote by doctorjimmy1997
So far, yes, I have developed it enough in order to play comfortably enough, but I want to improve my speed and I wondered whether it will be an obstacle. As cdgraves pointed out, it certainly puts unnecessary stress on my wrist, so I will start correcting my pull-off technique asap.

Yes I think speed wise you would be better off doing it as a pull rather than push, and always do your stretches and stuff before you practice you have to take care of your hands (and arms)
Last edited by 33db at Jun 15, 2017,
#11
Depending on guitar setup and sound, it is possible to play legato where the string energy comes from the hammer-on only.  If this is done along with only one finger being on the string at a time (which has implications for controlling string noise), then the mechanics for playing a repeated lick using say the 10th and 12th fret (10,12,10,12...)  becomes

Hammer on 10.  Relax 10 off string as 12 hammers on.  Relax 12 off string as 10 hammers on.  Relax 10 as 12 hammers on.  Etc.

This takes a bit of getting used to, especially at high speed.  The mental process is all concentrating on the relaxation of the finger off the string.  It makes more off a difference when changing strings, as the next hammer on can be prepared for the incoming string (whereas keeping more than one finger down on a string during legato can slow the string change down).  

From when I was first shown this, I got pretty good at over about 3-4 weeks (?). just before I had serious hand injuries (not from playing), and at the end of that period, my legato was topping 1/16ths at 250 bpm.   Never ever got anywhere near that before (best was around 190 bpm, when I was using a strongish pull-off).

I'm now working on technique again though (after 4 years).   It's more as a challenge to myself than how I want to be musically.  No rush though.  I'm enjoying the process. If I get my full technique back, that's great.  If I don't, doesn't matter ... it's only a small part of my musical journey.
#12
You're in good company, Jimi Hendrix used "up pull offs" on occasion.

Here is an example where the pull offs are "up" because he is on the G string and going to the B string.

What he wants to do is go:

- second or third finger on the G string
- to first finger on the B string
- to a hammer-on the B string three frets up

On the G string he hammers and bends just a little and pulls off "up"... but the G string is damped because he is "pulling off to the B string" where his first finger is waiting to immediately do a hammer-on, followed instantly by a repeat of the hammer and up pull off from the G string... in order to do a couple of cycles very quickly.

This gives three notes with one pick and makes a "bubbly" sound... once started the only note being picked is under his first finger on the B string - the B string hammer, G string hammer, and G string bend and pull off up are all just fingers on the strings (the B string hammer finger and the G string finger can't be the same finger, so either fourth and third, or third and second).

Start from about 6:30 and listen close to  7:11-13... it is hard to hear because he play three cycles, but the first is in reverse direction starting with a normal pull off on the B string, then he changes direction and does two cycles of up pull offs from the G string.

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Last edited by PlusPaul at Jun 15, 2017,
#15
I'm pretty good at guitar (not trying to boast but I've been playing like, 14 years now) and I think I've always pushed upwards to "push off", I've never thought I should be pulling them downwards.

I'm interested to try and concentrate on what I'm doing now to see if I can change my muscle memory and to see if it enhances, improves, or worsens, my playing.