Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Hop, Skip and a Jump exercise

I have dedicated my week to learning the Hop,Skip and a Jump exercise. I am proud to say that I have virtually nailed it verbatim and I can vary that speed effortlessly if desired… But…as it turns out the one lick I have the most trouble with is the 3-2 pull off on the G. Not sure why that one is so difficult. I think it’s it’s because it’s a closed string pull-off and I haven’t practiced those enough so getting my fingers in place in time is a sticking point. Open string pull offs or no problem but this little bugger is being a pest. I am going to get it however because this appears to be one of the most commonly used licks of all. Had to put the "jo up for the night and give my fingers a little rest. What are you guys working on this week?

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I love hop skip and jump, but I’m working on Old Joe Clark. There’s three part to that song that totally hook me. It’s just a blast to play… I praise God I’m gaining a little confidence, and I’m starting to recognize when I tense up . Banjo is just a phenominal instrument…Jack

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Hi Keith, Next to the G Tag Lick the 3-2 Pull-off Is perhaps the next important lick to learn. When I am struggling to learn something new I always break things down. to something I can manage. If you are still learning you should not be thinking about speed. Speed comes after, when you have nail it.

Let me just say this is not really a closed chord position.

Try this, split the measure in half and only work on the second half of the lick. Play that over and over about 20 times. You have got to get the timing right on the pull-off for the lick to sound right. So listening to yourself is important.

Then add the pinch without fretting the first string again practice that about 20.times. Don’t rush it.

Once you get comfortable with that fret the first string with your index finger Remember you have to let go of the first string to set up your other fingers to do the pull off. In that space (timing wise you have a quarter note to gather your thoughts to position your fingers for the pull-off which is ample times) as you play the two open strings ahead of the pull off. Hope this helps

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I still work on and critique that pull-off and mine has evolved even over the last year…hang in there!

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I also have trouble with that lick. If I’m not very intentional, I will play the pull off too fast if I’m going slow. If I’m trying to play it fast, it is sloppy lots of times. I am getting better at it though, which is proof that perfect practice makes perfect. Sloppy practice just make sure me continue to play it sloppy.

If you DARE… go ahead and just record yourself… no matter the performance- and post on video swap. Then Ben and others can offer suggestions - if they can see…

I know it takes some bravery as I just posted my first video - trusting that those here want to help… and I am glad I took the plunge. Ben and everyone was sooo supportive.

Just a thought…

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Perhaps you might like to share some of your favorite lessons?

In no particular order…boil dem cabbage, forward roll study. Old Joe Clark, amazing Grace, and practicing slides hammeron and pulloffs. Banjo is a blast! I’m having fun learning like nobody’s business!

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Thanks for replying - and I imagine your nick may be influenced by Pitch Perfect? I enjoyed all 3 - but first was best…

Actually, I saw it on a bumper sticker several years ago. :+1:

Well, if you haven’t seen the movies (as I said, I enjoyed the first one best but all had “moments”

Can anyone speak to pull off’s vs. string weight? Are they easier with lighter weight strings?

Should really try to create new threads with each new topic Keith.

I started out using lights, string bends and pull offs were not so tough on the finger muscles but as I recall I used to break a lot more strings back then. When I bought my Stelling I moved to Medium Heavy gauge and I like them so much better.

I think it’s easier, yes. I use GHS PF135 and 140 strings now.

Thanks for the info all. Archie, I understand what you are saying but since the question was related to pull-off’s and the post is about pull off exercises, I felt the question was on topic.