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ukulele pull off

How to Play a Ukulele Pull-Off: Improve Your Skills

The pull-off is what i would call the sibling of the hammer-on. Mastering how to perform one will take your playing to the next level. It allows us the blend notes smoothly.

Performing a pull-off involves placing two fingers (often the first and ring finger) on the fretboard. Then plucking the string and dragging your finger (ring) off the higher note. This will reveal the note behind and change the pitch of the sound.

Getting the hang of playing the pull-off can take a few attempts. Lets take a closer look at how to do it.

How to Play A ukulele Pull-Off

The concept behind the pull-off is pretty simple and involves just 3 steps.

How fast you pull-off really depends on the speed of the song. Its important to pull-off quickly though. Thats so the note does not lose any of the juice. When we pluck a string, its only going to make a sound for so long. We dont want to pull off after the note has stopped ringing otherwise we wont hear the next note.

I use the term drag a lot. Dragging the string down a little bit when you pull off increases the volume a little bit. If you just lift your finger off, it won't sound as loud.

Lets Give It Go

So you know the fundamentals of the ukulele pull-off. Pick up your ukulele and let’s get practising.

We are gong to use the bottom A string. Place your first finger on the 6th fret and your ring finger on the 8th fret. 

pull off ukulele both frets

The bedrock of ukulele playing, pluck the string.

pull off pluck the string

This is the key part. We are going to drag your ring finger off the 8th fret. Thats going to reveal the 6th fret. Only pluck the string once.

pull off 6th fret ukulele
Did you only pluck the string once but heard two notes? Congratulations, you just performed your first ukulele pull-off.
Don’t worry if the second note sounded a lot quieter than the first one. That’s completely natural and normal when you first start getting to grips with pull-offs
It’s just going to take lots of practice. As you build up strength in your fingers. The dragging aspect of this technique will get better. Youll find that your second note gets a lot louder over time.

What Do They Look Like On Ukulele Tabs?

The pull if always representing by a “p” sat between two numbers on ukulele tab. That means you need to perform it with those two notes. 

Lets Play Some Examples

We are going to take a look at some ukulele riffs and licks that include pull-offs. If you are unfamiliar with ukulele tabs, it’s worth checking out this guide to get up to speed.

Black Sabbath - Iron Man

The pull-offs in this riff are towards the end and Its all played on the C string. Use just your first finger for all the notes except the 8th fret notes. For that we are going to use our middle finger for the pull-offs.

black sabbath iron man ukulele pull-off 2

Smashing Pumpkins - Today

Lets step things up a notch now and stretch our fingers a bit more. We are going to be using our pinky finger to perform the pull-off. We are also going to be bringing another string into the mix.

Place your first finger across the bottom two strings on the 5th fret. Pluck the first two notes then use your ring finger to hit that 7th fret. Repeat yourself, then stretch your pinky to reach the 9th fret on the A string. Give that a pluck and then drag it off to reveal to the 5th fret.

AC/DC - Thunderstruck

We are about to turn everything on its head now. A pull can be performed with just one finger. If the note you are pulling-off to is an open string, there’s no need to fret anything.
Start by placing your first finger on the 4th fret, give it a pluck. Drag your first off to reveal the open A string. Using your ring finger, quickly fret the 7th. Pluck the string and then drag off to reveal the open A string again. Repeat the same principle for the next part of the riff on the 5th and 8th fret.
acdc thunderstruck ukulele tab pull-off 2
Slowed down.
Normal speed.
Try your best to get to grips with the pull-off and its sibling technique the hammer-on. Make them part of your practice routine and within a few months, you will be blasting them out left, right and centre.