LOL. Well it's A diagram anyway:

I think the pulloff is very misunderstood. The top sequence(A) shows how I used to
(try) doing them and how I imagine most people do it. Even A1-2 is somewhat idealized
showing the finger (oval) contacting the string on the tip. A lot of people probably
hit more on the pad of the finger. If you do that, pulloffs are damn near impossible
to control. This brings up a key point:

Once your finger makes contact with the string, you are COMMITTED. Very often this
initial contact is in such a bad state, the pulloff is doomed from the start. That's why
ACCURACY in the pulloff is extremely important.

The A sequence I call "up & away", the B sequence "down & in". Up & away has its
place, but it still is very dependent on accuracy. Up & away basically requires too much
energy and movement to ever being able to do fast and accurately. Down & In requires
EXTREMELY little energy, but it has a MUCH higher demand on initial accuracy of the
contact point.

Note the diff between A2 and B2. B2 is somewhat exaggerated to highlight the contact
point difference -- it's more to edge of the string.

If you want to practice this, I'd advise to start slowly and give it time. Find the point
where the finger only has to move slightly to B3 with very little energy that still gives
a good snap to the string. It's almost like "pushing a button". Give this slow working
plenty of time (many months perhaps). It requires only a light touch and it will take
some time before your awareness expands into the sensitivity of the motion. Give it
about 1/2 hr/day for a few days, then come back to it in a couple of weeks. Over that
time, your brain will have rewired your sensitivity and you'll find it easier to do.
hmmm im lost here, your diagram appears to be more of a pictograph from the mesozoic era..... im just playing, seriously though im not quite sure how to interpret your diagram and i question if im doing your pull-offs like in a or b.
LOL.

Well, I probably should have marked the "detailed" diagram better.

It's a sort of cutaway view. The bottom line is the fretboard. The 2 small circles
are the cross sections of 2 adjacent strings. The oval is the finger tip.

As the finger is moving down to push the string on the fret, it's nearly a continuous
motion. The down movement continues slightly to the side and that snaps the string.
The finger ends up pushing the adjacent string slightly to the side (which also is a
muting benefit) resting on the fretboard.

As I said, it kind of feels like "pushing a button", more than "pulling" anything, and
it's highly dependent on an accurate placement of the fingertip when it contacts the
string.
oh ok, gotcha. i actually use both then, i use the "push a button" way on more classical type stuff and the "pulling" motion on bluesier stuff. it adds little touches to both.
But wouldn't the pull off motion shown in Diagram B give less volume than Diagram A?
If you play guitar, please don't waste your time in The Pit, and please instead educate yourself in the Musician Talk forum, where you can be missing out on valuable info.
Quote by DiminishedFifth
It's like you read my mind!

I got meself a self-approving sig. Kick. Ass.
Hes talking when you pull off you go down hard and straight, off the the side hard, and it lets the notes ring better. I take it the o's are the string, and the BIG O is your finger.
|GP5 Compositions|
V Classical and Jazz centric Tech Death V

Quote by SilverDark
But wouldn't the pull off motion shown in Diagram B give less volume than Diagram A?

It's relatively the same. The most important thing is to get a good "snap".

This isn't done "hard" with a lot of pressure or force. It's very light. That's the
whole point of it being efficient.
Thanks for the advice. I'd just tried it and think I see what you're getting at. To confirm, suppose you are playing on the G string. You would fret the G slightly closer to the B string than with method A. Then push your finger into the gap between the G and B string?

I currently do method A, though I am able to get good speed with it. My biggest problem is when I'm going very fast, and moving around from string to string a lot, the notes sometimes bunch together - i.e. if I am playing in 16th notes triplets, they will become two pairs of 3 32nd notes and a 32nd note rest. I think that problem is more down to not hopping from string to string fast enough, than the pull-offs themselves.

From playing around with it a little bit, I noticed one initial difficulty (other than needing to practice it), and I want to know how you approach it with method B. When using method A, I do something like this - suppose I am about to play a 4-2-1 pattern, I will place all 4 fingers down to sound the first note, then remove fingers 3 and 4 at the same time to sound the 2nd note, then remove finger 2 to sound the last one. That seems awkward with method B. Do you have to keep finger 3 off the fretboard using method B?
Last edited by se012101 at Dec 26, 2008,
that's all fine and dandy, but the motion in diagram a allows you to play another note afterwards with much more speed and ease, it's not about just getting a note right, it's about doing it with everything else, and making it easy to get to the next note, it's actually relatively a pain in the ass to go to another note using this technique, as you spend time moving your finger up again, which you could just do in one motion... plus the down motion has a greater chance of accidently sounding the other string your finger is going into.
Dread to say this, but I think you're overanalysing. You can basically explain the most important points of this with "use the tip of the finger" without drawing pictures or confusing anyone.
Quote by se012101

To confirm, suppose you are playing on the G string. You would fret the G slightly closer to the B string than with method A. Then push your finger into the gap between the G and B string?

Yes, that's right. It's kind of like a "rest stroke" when using a pick. If I were to do
it slowly using a 4-3-2-1 chromatic pulloff, my 4-3-2 would be lightly resting on the
fretboard touching the B string at the end of the movement.

I don't think it's an over-analysis. Maybe the diagram wasn't too good. I don't think
this basic motion is what people would be practicing when they're doing pulloffs. B has
a completely different feeling to me than A.

Also, the description is somewhat exaggerated for slow practice. It's a VERY light
touch. When the fingers are in contact right, a 4-3-2-1 pulloff will go snap-snap-snap
with almost just a slight shifting of the weight of the hand, but there's still a slight
pulling motion that gets more pronounced with speed. Since the hand and fingers
are kept very relaxed, and the fingers barely need to move to get a SNAP, they'll
ALWAYS be in a better position and ready for the next note as opposed to A.

I think the best way to practice this is strict legato (all H's and P's) on 1 string, like
4-3-2-1 going up and down the neck or diatonic up and down the neck.

I'd also say, I started practicing this more than a year ago. It's NOT easy. The motions
tend to be so small it seems like it would be impossible to sequence the notes at any
kind of speed. But, that's just a matter of increasing sensitivity. I think you'll only
get so far with it in a short timeframe. That's why I suggest just practice it for a few
days, then come back to it in a few weeks. Your sensitivity will be just a bit better.
use the tip of the finger...pull down...make the strokes light and nimble (retract the finger quickly after the pulloff so the whole thing's a relatively fluid, quick yet smallish motion).

lol @ down n in... like i used to say to some chicks..."if i see skin...i'm goin in!"
Yes edg, that's the way I was trained (classically) to achieve maximum volume and definition. Down basically vertically and whack the finger into the f-board (and not lightly either!) certainly delivers snappy legatos and is now the default action I use. However there are musical situations where alternative approaches are also valid.
My teacher trained under R Sainz de la Maza, Yepes and (masterclasses) with Segovia so your observation would probably have some credible endorsement.
I suppose I must reconsider my previous comment then. I'll give this a much more detailed look later.
Quote by R.Christie
However there are musical situations where alternative approaches are also valid.

Absolutely, and I did allude to that it in my first post.

I'm by no means proficient at it myself. It's just GREAT practice that will help you
minimize your pulloff motions and help increase awareness of where the speed
sweet spot is.
hmmm, i do admire the thought, alot has been put into it but if were going to take efficiency to its locical extreme then you should also only economy pick etc, sometimes inefficiency just sounds cooler

im not saying this is one of those cases, i hate pulloffs, they sound horrible as you make the string vibrate in an unnatural way, almost lick picking right next to the bridge (i would draw diagrams, but i have a life...jokes)

im from the holdsworth school of legato, i prefer to lift off, no pull required, and sound the lower note with a hammer on, the old, "lift off hammer down"

one of the other things that has just sprung into my mind is the reason we pull off with such an exaggerated movement, we often half or full roll when in legato mode, and this requires hammer ons, these need to really hammer down, from a distance im sure efficiency would help in a lick that rapidly decends strings and tackles upwards of 4 notes per string

(im not discrediting you however, definitely a worthwhile discussion that all serious guitarists should experiment with)
I've always pulled off downwards to sort of play the string with the left hand finger for maximum volume. However, I've always lifted the finger immediately, to be able to quickly and efficiently continue playing.
Quote by jackblsdaniels

im from the holdsworth school of legato, i prefer to lift off, no pull required, and sound the lower note with a hammer on, the old, "lift off hammer down"

I do this occaisionly.

But efficiency wise, is the holds(we're un)worthian technique or the edg super pulloff technique better?

excuse me for the bad pun.
^ very different tone, so I would focus on that. For me, personally, I'd say that in the hands of a master the Holdsworth technique is better. However, in the hands of a klutz like me, I like to be able to do both, just like eco "vs" alt picking.
Still pretty klutzy, tbh.

Btw, today I figured out how to play a 3 octave Dmadd9 arp with just one finger. That'll go into the cool licks thread sometime.
start on the open d, hammer on the e and slide up to the C, then roll over the rest of the chord and slide up and repeat?
Originally posted by TapMaster
If you break a JEM you know your going to go to hell when you die

Only member of the 'This is too immature for me' club.
Quote by jackblsdaniels
hmmm, i do admire the thought, alot has been put into it but if were going to take efficiency to its locical extreme then you should also only economy pick etc, sometimes inefficiency just sounds cooler

No, I wasn't saying that at all. If you NEED the speed, for a fast run with maximum
articulation of the snap in the pulloff, this is probably the way to go. I'd wager most people
use a TON of excess movement for almost no gain, and if they need to go fast probably
"cheat" the pulloff by not even pulling. That's OK with the right amplification, but clean
or acoustic it will sound weak.

The alternate vs economy debates just wind up being total drivel. 2 different options.
end of story.