Get $50 off!
Christmas has Arrived.

$700+ in Guitarist Bundles... all 100% free with signup.

Return to Pull-Offs (Guitar Lesson)


What are you waiting for? Get your membership now!
David MacKenzie

Return to Pull-Offs

David returns to the world of pull-offs with a new exercise. David takes the hammer-on exercise from the previous lesson and adds pull-offs into the mix. This lesson includes a backing track.

Taught by David MacKenzie in Basic Electric Guitar seriesLength: 12:50Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:40) Lesson Introduction Dave begins lesson 20 with some rapid trills played within the A minor pentatonic scale. In the scenes that follow, he will demonstrate some exercises designed to improve your pull-off technique.
Chapter 2: (07:24) Pull-off Exercise Pull-off Guidelines

Remember these essential pull-off guidelines from lesson 16.

1. The plucked note and the subsequent pull-off must be equal in volume.

2. Pull the finger straight down towards the floor when playing a pull-off. This will create the best tone.

3. Be careful that you do not pull your finger down too far. This may cause one of the adjacent strings to vibrate.

Exercise

The exercise presented in this lesson is very similar to the hammer-on exercise that you learned in the previous lesson. The same two note groupings are used throughout the exercise. However, this time around you will play a pull-off between each group of two notes instead of a hammer-on. Start on the higher of the two notes and pick it. Then, pull the left-hand finger straight down off the string towards the floor. Stop this finger from traveling on the adjacent string below. Practice this exercise with a clean tone to ensure that you are playing cleanly and accurately. Then, if you want to, crank up the distortion.

You know you are performing your pull-offs properly if you are able to take your right hand out of the equation. Simply pulling down off the string with a left-hand finger will cause enough vibration to sound a note properly.

Follow the Backing Track

Once again, remember that the exercise changes when the chords change. Over the A5 chord, pull-off from A to G. Pull-off from D to C when the chord progression changes to C5. Over the D5 chord, pull-off from E to D.

You can also practice trills over these chords. A trill is a rapid alternating series of hammer-ons and pull-offs. Dave demonstrates a trill between the D and E notes on the 5th string at about 03:35. Start practicing trills very slowly. Strive for control, accuracy, and a loud clear tone. Then, gradually build up your speed.

Do not overexert your hands when working on fast left-hand trills such as trills. Contrary to popular belief, practicing technique is not like weight lifting. Pain does not equal gain. Stop immediately and take a break if you experience any pain. This can lead to injuries such as tendonitis. Always warm-up slowly.

Exercise Variation

Just like the last lesson, there are two ways to practice the exercise presented in this lesson. The second version is played one octave higher than the first version. The end of this version features some small changes. Make a note of these differences as Dave demonstrates the exercise variation.

When practicing this variation, make sure that you are slurring with just the tips of your fingers. Otherwise you will accidentally catch the string below and cause this string to vibrate. It is easiest to perform pull-offs on the first string for this reason. There is no possibility of accidentally causing other strings to vibrate.
Chapter 3: (03:16) Backing Track Time Practice playing pull-offs in various rhythms along with the JamTrack. First, practice through the exercise and its variation using eighth notes. Then, work on playing these exercises with sixteenth notes. Finally, working on mixing the two rhythms. Watch and listen carefully as Dave mixes these two rhythms as he plays through the JamTrack. He also trills in a rapid 32nd note rhythm. Mimic this approach when you feel ready.
Chapter 4: ( 01:28) Final Thoughts The exercise presented in this lesson is great for developing speed and endurance. Trills will help you play faster than any other left-hand exercise. Left-hand speed is not just about how fast you can move your fingers from one fret to the next. Speed is also determined by how quickly you can return a finger to the string once it has already left it. Trills specifically work this aspect of left-hand technique.


Video Subtitles / Captions





Supplemental Learning Material

Select

Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


the_ANTIDRUGthe_ANTIDRUG replied on January 31st, 2014

I like this guy; he's positive and inspires one to learn.

downunderdownunder replied on November 22nd, 2011

I've been struggling with pull offs, picked up my guitar today and there they were. My fingers have been too flat. Curl my fingers, use only the tips. Eureka!

hereticsound666hereticsound666 replied on April 9th, 2011

aww i wanted to take my clothes of lol.

jeroenvanderputjeroenvanderput replied on December 13th, 2010

Hey DMac, I've tried it and I get I pretty decent sound out of it. I don't have the speed yet, but it will go faster in time with enough practice. I feel that my fingers are getting tired within a minute or so. I have one problem though. I tend to bend the string downward with my index finger when I do pull offs. Should I push up a little bit to correct that? Or am I doing something wrong?

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on December 13th, 2010

it may just be that your wrist muscles and tendons and ligaments are not used to this yet. i usuall pull down as well on pull offs. i believe as you keep going you will build speed and power as you go. keep at it!

jeroenvanderputjeroenvanderput replied on December 13th, 2010

Thanks man, I'm really enjoying your lessons. I'm getting better every day. Check out this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5JmufOxv4Y

raoelraoel replied on April 22nd, 2010

hey DMac your really funny,and thanks it really helped my hammer an pull off techniques

korkkork replied on August 23rd, 2009

Great lesson, this was so much fun to play. I played till my fingers were almost bleeding :D Rock on DMAC, way to go...

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on August 24th, 2009

lol! okay you dont have to play that much....unless you just really enjoy that kinda thing....bleeding fingers!???

pneumapilotpneumapilot replied on August 6th, 2009

I feel the pain!

chodypthchodypth replied on August 2nd, 2009

You know your lessons work when I have to stop after 2 straight minutes of it, Man my forearm and fingers are soooooo sore. Great lesson as always.

htrel28htrel28 replied on July 7th, 2009

Hey I really appreciate the lesson. I was wondering if you attempt to flick your finger everytime you pull off when you are trilling? It seems that I have difficulty pulling off fast when I flick and of course this affects my ability to trill. My pull-offs when I don't flick don't seem to lose any volume; however, these are only simple 2 note pull-offs and I don't want to get into a bad habit of being technically incorrect.

adris8adris8 replied on April 17th, 2009

I've been stuck on this lesson for a few days now DMac. I seem not to be able to Ho and Po all the way like 3 5 3 5 3 5 3 5. Its killing my hand and i cant really pull off a really brights sound, any tips?

david.mackenziedavid.mackenzie replied on April 24th, 2009

some of it might just be hand strength which you are still developing. try unplugging the guitar(if your on an electric one) and just work on the pulls/hammer ons with a total clean sound first. then as that starts sounding better, plug back in to see the difference. i think it is just time and experience issue. please keep me informed though if you are making progress or not and i will continue to help you.

caseharr33caseharr33 replied on February 20th, 2009

You wasn't kidding about the forearm burn of a workout!!!!!!!! thanks big time for the great lesson!

jefferson_onejefferson_one replied on November 20th, 2008

That was a sweet workout ... I could Dave was feeling that one :) I thought he was about to take off and expand on the 5th & 6th strings! Good job ... that was fun :)

rockgod825rockgod825 replied on August 16th, 2008

it sounds like ice 9 by joe satriani

packetpacket replied on July 21st, 2008

Mute any string not being played. If im playing say the b string I can use my picking hand to mute all strings above and use your fretting hand index finger to just touch the hight e to deaden that one as well. Easier said then done I know. Just takes practice.

joffajoffa replied on June 8th, 2008

Good one DMac, that was a better intro to pull offs than the last one you did.

bwoodatstatebwoodatstate replied on May 26th, 2008

I dont know why but I am having such a hard time with this. Everytime I pull off my first finger kinda gets jerked down and it doesnt sound clear and sometimes I hit the other string. The highest string is easy but the other ones is just giving me a hard time. Any help would be great

Basic Electric Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

In his Phase 1 series, David MacKenzie will walk you through the basics of rock guitar.



Lesson 1

About the Guitar

David discusses the parts of the guitar. He also gives you some basic techniques to get you started.

Length: 31:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Power Chords

In this lesson, David introduces basic power chords. Great fun for beginners!

Length: 10:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Basic Chord Progressions

David introduces some basic chords and chord progressions.

Length: 14:15 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Notes, Chords and Arpeggios

David provides a brief explanation of what notes, chords, power chords, and arpeggios are.

Length: 8:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Speed and Coordination

This lesson is all about increasing your speed and coordination. David demonstrates basic picking exercises.

Length: 14:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Chord Exercises

David MacKenzie presents a mysterious sounding chord exercise. This exerices is designed to improve right hand technique.

Length: 9:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Practice and Discipline

In this short lesson David talks about practice, discipline, and how you should apply yourself when learning and mastering the guitar.

Length: 6:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Double Stops

Double stops can bring new life to your rhythm and lead playing. David provides a short tutorial on what double stops are and how they can be used.

Length: 7:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

The Major Chords

David covers the basic major chord shapes. Every guitarist must learn these basic chords.

Length: 18:29 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

The Minor Chords

David MacKenzie walks you through the basic minor chords. Expand your knowledge of chords with this fun-filled lesson.

Length: 8:15 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Major Scales

Major scales are an essential component of all styles of music. They can also be used as a great way to orient yourself with the fretboard.

Length: 32:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Major Scale Jam

David MacKenzie explains how to practice the major scales along with a fun backing track.

Length: 11:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

The Minor Scales

David MacKenzie proceeds to an in-depth discussion of the minor scales.

Length: 15:36 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Minor Scale Jam

David MacKenzie shows you how to play the natural minor scale over a rockin' JamTrack.

Length: 6:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

One String Exercise

David demonstrates an excellent one-string exercise in this lesson. This exercise will improve your dexterity and knowledge of the fretboard.

Length: 16:48 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs

Hammer-ons and pull-offs are techniques that enable you to play with a smooth, legato feel.

Length: 8:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Basic Bends

David MacKenzie gives a crash course on bending in this lesson. Bends can add a lot of soul to your playing.

Length: 16:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 18

Cool Rock Licks

David MacKenzie teaches two rock licks inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen and Kirk Hammett of Metallica.

Length: 12:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Hammer-On Exercise

David returns to the world of hammer-ons with a fun new exercise. This lesson includes a JamTrack.

Length: 13:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Return to Pull-Offs

David returns to the world of pull-offs with a new exercise. This lesson includes a backing track.

Length: 12:50 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Practicing Bends

David MacKenzie returns to bending technique in this lesson. This lesson features a backing track that is designed for bending practice.

Length: 12:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

Basic Vibrato

Integrating vibrato into your guitar playing is a great way to add emotion and soul. David MacKenzie explains the basics of vibrato in this lesson.

Length: 9:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

Pentatonic Scale

David MacKenzie introduces the pentatonic scale.

Length: 5:48 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

Minor Pentatonic Scale

David MacKenzie introduces the minor pentatonic scale in this lesson.

Length: 4:38 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 25

Full Major Scale

David MacKenzie explains a two octave pattern of the major scale.

Length: 11:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

Full Minor Scale

David MacKenzie introduces a two octave natural minor scale pattern.

Length: 12:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 27

Full Major Pentatonic Scale

David teaches a two octave pattern of the major pentatonic scale.

Length: 6:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Full Minor Pentatonic Scale

David MacKenzie teaches a two octave version of the minor pentatonic scale.

Length: 9:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

Cool Lick

David MacKenzie teaches several licks based on common arpeggio patterns. This lesson also includes a backing track to jam with.

Length: 20:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 30

Rhythm Basics

David MacKenzie introduces some important rhythm basics in this lesson. This lesson also includes a backing track exercise.

Length: 14:55 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Power Chord Variations

David MacKenzie explains various power chord voicings. By simply moving a finger or two, new power chords can be formed.

Length: 18:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

Cool Lick Exercise

David MacKenzie introduces some new amazing licks.

Length: 29:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 33

Tapping Exercise

David MacKenzie introduces the tapping technique and teaches a fun exercise. This lesson includes a backing track.

Length: 22:44 Difficulty: 2.5 FREE
Lesson 34

Tapping Exercise #2

David MacKenzie teaches another amazing tapping exercise.

Length: 13:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Tapping #3: Adding Open Strings

The third tapping lesson elaborates on the previous lesson by adding open strings.

Length: 12:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Tapping #4: Diminished Lick

The fourth lesson in Dave's tapping series deals with a monster diminished lick.

Length: 11:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 37

Tapping #5

In lesson five of his tapping mini-series, DMac provides backing tracks that you can tap over.

Length: 8:04 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 38

Tremolo Technique

In lesson 38, DMac demonstrates some tremolo techniques to add to your repertoire.

Length: 13:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 39

Tapping #6

DMac returns to his tapping instruction with more advanced techniques.

Length: 19:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

Chord Structures

In lesson 40, DMac teaches you how to play various D chords all the way up the neck.

Length: 9:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 41

Octaves

In lesson 41, David discusses the octave and its uses while playing.

Length: 17:09 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only

About David MacKenzie View Full Biography Dave MacKenzie has been playing guitar for 30 of his 45 years on this earth. Starting back when he was 14 years old, Dave picked up the guitar and started to learn from his oldest brother, who had played some guitar as well. Dave was hooked, and couldn't learn fast enough! Everything from the Beatles, Chicago, Ted Nugent, The Eagles, you name it, Dave was trying to play it.

Then as with a lot of players out there, Eddie Van Halen came along and changed the way guitar was played! Dave has been influenced by anyone he has heard play guitar, literally! Always keeping an open mind and a humbleness about him has helped him to keep learning new things on, and about the guitar.

Dave has mostly played in top 40 rock, country, and pop bands. He is most recently playing guitar and keyboards in a 80's metal band called Open Fire. They have opened for Warrant, Firehouse, Winger, and LA Guns within the 3 and a half years they have been together, and are now jumping into original music.

Dave believes you should have internal motivation, and passion to play guitar, and most definitely, it should be fun!

As with his playing, Dave will find new ways to show you how to get the most out of your time learning guitar!

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.


Danny Voris Danny Voris

Lesson 7 is all about arpeggios. Danny provides discussion and exercises designed to build your right hand skills.

Free LessonSeries Details
Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

Jessica kindly introduces herself, her background, and her approach to this series.

Free LessonSeries Details
Robbie Merrill Robbie Merrill

JamPlay welcomes bassist and founding member of Godsmack, Robbie Merrill. In this short introduction lesson, Robbie showcases...

Free LessonSeries Details
Nick Amodeo Nick Amodeo

Nick explains how to play some of the most commonly used chords in the bluegrass genre.

Free LessonSeries Details
Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

Free LessonSeries Details
Eve Goldberg Eve Goldberg

Eve talks about the boom-chuck strum pattern. This strum pattern will completely change the sound of your playing.

Free LessonSeries Details
Trace Bundy Trace Bundy

Trace Bundy talks about the different ways you can use multiple capos to enhance your playing.

Free LessonSeries Details
Rich Nibbe Rich Nibbe

Rich Nibbe takes a look at how you can apply the pentatonic scale in the style of John Mayer into your playing.

Free LessonSeries Details
Pamela Goldsmith Pamela Goldsmith

Pamela brings a cap to her first 13 JamPlay lessons with another original etude inspired by the great Leo Brouwer. This is...

Free LessonSeries Details

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Our electric guitar lessons are taught by instructors with an incredible amount of teaching experience.


Nick Greathouse Nick Greathouse

Nick starts his series with Alternate Picking part 1. Improve your timing, speed, and execution with this important lesson.

Free LessonSeries Details
Brendan Burns Brendan Burns

Brendan demonstrates the tiny triad shapes derived from the form 1 barre chord.

Free LessonSeries Details
Michael Mennell Michael Mennell

Mike introduces himself and his series.

Free LessonSeries Details
Will Ripley Will Ripley

Join Will Ripley as he gives us all the details of his series, "Rock Guitar for Beginners". You'll be playing cool rock riffs...

Free LessonSeries Details
Billy Sheehan Billy Sheehan

Billy starts his artist series off with a lesson on something he gets asked the most to explain: right hand 3 finger technique.

Free LessonSeries Details
Alex Scott Alex Scott

Find out what this series is all about.

Free LessonSeries Details
Joel Kosche Joel Kosche

Joel Kosche talks about creating and composing a guitar solo. He uses his original song "Sunrise" as an example.

Free LessonSeries Details
Mark Brennan Mark Brennan

Mark Brennan teaches this classic rock song by Jethro Tull. Released on the album of the same name in 1971, this song features...

Free LessonSeries Details
James Malone James Malone

James explains how to tap arpeggios for extended musical reach.

Free LessonSeries Details
Lisa Pursell Lisa Pursell

Lisa breaks into the very basics of the electric guitar. She starts by explaining the parts of the guitar. Then, she dives...

Free LessonSeries Details




Join over 490901 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

Signup today to enjoy access to our entire database of video lessons, along with our exclusive set of learning tools and features.



Unlimited Lesson Viewing

A JamPlay membership gives you access to every lesson, from every teacher on our staff. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many times you watch a lesson. Watch as many times as you need.

Live Lessons

Exclusive only to JamPlay, we currently broadcast 8-10 hours of steaming lesson services directly to you! Enjoy the benefits of in-person instructors and the conveniences of our community.

Interactive Community

Create your own profile, manage your friends list, and contact users with your own JamPlay Mailbox. JamPlay also features live chat with teachers and members, and an active Forum.

Chord Library

Each chord in our library contains a full chart, related tablature, and a photograph of how the chord is played. A comprehensive learning resource for any guitarist.

Scale Library

Our software allows you to document your progress for any lesson, including notes and percent of the lesson completed. This gives you the ability to document what you need to work on, and where you left off.

Custom Chord Sheets

At JamPlay, not only can you reference our Chord Library, but you can also select any variety of chords you need to work on, and generate your own printable chord sheet.

Backing Tracks

Jam-along backing tracks give the guitarist a platform for improvising and soloing. Our backing tracks provide a wide variety of tracks from different genres of music, and serves as a great learning tool.

Interactive Games

We have teachers covering beginner lessons, rock, classic rock, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slack key and more. Learn how to play the guitar from experienced players, in a casual environment.

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

Unlike a lot of guitar websites and DVDs, we start our Beginner Lessons at the VERY start of the learning process, as if you just picked up a guitar for the first time.Our teaching is structured for all players.

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 88 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Community
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00

Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"
 

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!


Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"
 

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


Bill

"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."
 

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on JamPlay.com. Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.



Join thousands of others that LIKE JamPlay!