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Banjo Lessons: Pull-Off Etude 1

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gonna start talking about pull-offs right
We've already discussed pull-offs in the
beginning section, but
I just wanted to get into pull-offs in a
little more depth.
I'll be repeating a little bit of the
material, material that you've already
covered, but I want to just get into some
new areas with some etudes.
Some little musical examples that feature
So just to begin again, and you should be
doing this with a metronome.
gonna do pull-offs on the first string,
second, third and fourth strings.
And why don't we do this, just pull-off of
the ring for the first string.
And just pull down like this so
you have a nice snap.
And then pull-off with the index on the
second string, and get under the string so
it really snaps.
You can do the same with the middle finger
on the third string.
Get under it so it snaps, and
I'm pulling down all of these.
In real life, I might push up sometimes,
but for these exercises,
I'm pulling down for everything.
And then on the fourth string,
Like that.
So let's just try that.
And you can use any right hand finger you
I'm using the middle on the first string.
Index on the second,
thumb on the third, thumb on the fourth.
But it doesn't make a big difference.
You can vary that a little bit if you'd
And again, two notes per click so click,
click, click.
The metronome will really help you.
Cuz we talk about right-hand time so much
and we don't talk a lot about left-hand
time, but there is timing in all these
And even though you don't have as much
pull-off action in bluegrass as you do in
old-time music, there's still a need to
really get those.
Earl does a lot of that kind of pull-off,
et cetera, et cetera.
So work on that.
Four notes-
On each of the strings and so on and
so forth with the metronome.
Then we can do things like this.
Actually, before we move on-
You could actually do,
let's do it on the fifth fret of the first
Try this where you use different fingers.
And you want to use as many different
fingers as you can in the left hand so
you build up strength in each one.
Do a five to zero pull-up on the first
Four times.
then do the same thing with the ring
Then the middle.
Then the index.
They give it just a slightly different
sound with each one,
the pull-off may feel a little different
with each one.
So it's just a way to build up strength in
each one with the fingers, and
then you could do-
>> The pinky there, ring, you know,
anything like that, but you can kind of
even make up your own exercises.
Okay, now let's lead into the pull offs
that give us this lick.
So let's pull off on the first string.
Three to two.
Middle to index.
And I'm pulling down, and then do it on
the second string.
Third string, middle to index.
And you can push up,
on the third string if that gives you a
stronger pull-off.
Just try not to activate that, fourth
string very much.
And then on the fourth string.
I tend to pull down on the fourth string
that way.
Middle, all middle to index.
So, you got.
you can do this for a while with the
metronome, two notes per click.
Then you can just focus on the three to
two on the third string.
And again,
you can push up or pull down, either is
Or you could go back and forth, up, down.
Just, just a little experiment, see how
that works.
And you can just isolate any one of these
and do it for a minute or two.
Now we're gonna do the three to two pull
off, either down or up,
either way you wanna do it.
you'll do it as 2/16 notes anticipating
the second string.
I have it written out four times.
[SOUND] Here you have to do it eight or 16
Make sure, try to get that snap, out of
Some people will use the ring finger to do
that' cuz they find it easier.
I'm such an Earlite, that I, and he uses
middle to index.
I'm sort of sold on that.
But I've seen Jimmy Martin, I've seen J.D.
Krauss sometimes do that sort of thing
going ring to middle.
For me, the middle to index is the
strongest, but there's so
many of you out there that here and there
maybe there'll be one or
two of you that wanna go ringed index or
ring to middle, and that's okay.
So, so, so you're doing that and hitting
the second string.
One and two and one and two and, and
then we can open it up to the full lick.
Putting it into an alternating thumb roll,
three to two pull-off to the second, open
third, open first.
Don't slow down for the pull-off.
Sometimes there's a tendency, because
you're dealing with a pull-off
element do something like the
There's a little pause.
You don't want that.
You want pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,
pop, pop, again,
working with the metronome will help you
with this.
you can do it very slowly to get it really
You want every note nice and clean.
Then you can combine this with
the alternating thumb roll.
So two to three slide, to the second,
to the fifth to the first as you do with
Boiling Cabbage Town, Cripple Creek,
those kind of tunes.
And here's the three to two pull-off lick.
And Earl does this in Shuckin' the Corn.
He does that thing twice.
Here's the first time.
Then, and then.
It gives a second time.
It's in the Scruggs book if
you want to pick that up, and I think you
all should.
So there are those pull-offs.
Very important for bluegrass.