Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: How to Play Pull-Offs

https://banjobenclark.com/lessons/how-to-play-pull-offs-banjo

Pull-offs are rad. You should know how to do them. Now you can.

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Nice lesson. I never considered pulling off downward with the exception of the d string where there isn’t anything to get in the way. Pulling off downward always seemed like it increased the possibility of touching and muting the next string in the roll. Anyway, I’ve got some work to do to polish up that technique.

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So for closed pull offs, are you always putting down both finger to start? Such as in the ending lick when you are coming from another open string, are you placing down your L hand index and middle finger simultaneously, or the middle finger on the 3rd fret slightly before the index, picking, then pulling off as you place the index down on the second fret?

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Hey Patrick! Welcome to the board!

If you’re just starting out, it might be best to place both fingers down at the same time. As you progress, you’ll think about it less and less, and the timing of the finger placement may naturally adjust.

This is a skill you really want to nail down before moving on too much more. Kick-offs are an integral part of pretty much every type of banjo playing, and really good pickers get 2 distinctive notes out of each one. I sometimes still struggle and will practice a kick off roll over and over until I can get it sounding right again.

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So over time it will not be completely at the same time, but a slight separation?

I learned elsewhere to not put two down at once, and it led to me hitting road block on this technique so I like this approach better, as it creates a better anchor for that distinct two notes which I wasn’t getting prior.

And yes, such a fundamental move! Hence my question so I can nail it down! Thank you

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For me, I just don’t even think about it any more. I’d have to pay attention to my playing to even tell you how I do it. You’ll eventually get to the same place by doing whatever works best for you.

Looking forward to seeing your progress.

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Ben, I love the way you teach! Pull offs are my bane, but a bit at a time, you make it simple then you add a bit, add a bit, add a bit! Thanks for all the effort to put the site together - the lessons are excellent. My calluses are getting stronger too! Many thanks.

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Could string height make closed pull-offs harder

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If the strings are too high then pull offs will be very hard

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That’s what I thought might have to lower mine a little thx

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I am of the opinion that higher strings make pull-offs pop better. That’s the reason I decided to buy a Stelling Banjo. I noticed that Alan Munde had a particularly high bridge on his Stelling banjo, From the pictures I have seen It looks to me to be about 1 inch ( Standard bridge height on a Stelling is 11/16" ) My Fender FB 58 had a pretty low bridge when I bought it 3/8" and I replaced it with a 5/8 Original Snuffy Smith Bridge. However I don’t recommend you do this because it put my action out since the neck really needs to be adjusted to compensate for the extra height. Over the years I have learned to live with this, but it’s not ideal as I have to adjust my fingering when I swap between the Fender and the Stelling

I would like to hear @BanjoBen 's thoughts on this topic Especially if he has ever had an opportunity to play Alan’s Banjo

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Ok thanks for the information it’s appreciated

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Yesterday I lowered the action on Dennis Parker’s Ode. It had been set up by his bandmate, Russ “High Action” Carson. I actually tried to see if the pull-offs were easier at that high and they were not. However, I think that too low an action would make them difficult, too!

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Should it be an 1/8 of an inch on last two frets like mr Huber says

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In my opinion Steve sets up his banjos higher than I like. I think that pickers who are banjo players “only” like a higher action, and guitar/mando pickers like myself prefer it lower. It’s all about what you love and no buzzes!

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I also play guitar so do you think 1/8 is a good starting place right now I’m over 3/16 and it feels too high

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I also play guitar, but banjo pull offs are more difficult. The strings are looser, if that makes sense. The sticky flick off really helped me figure it out.

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