Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Pull off (left hand pizzicato)

I’ve been practicing the Mandolin lesson Wayfaring Stranger and I have a question about the pull offs. I’ve noticed that @banjoben and others actually push the finger upward to pluck the string, and I’ve noticed lots of people do that on the banjo as well. I also play violin, and that’s called left hand pizzicato and is usually done by pulling down rather than pushing up. I have always pulled down on the violin and guitar, and now on the banjo and mandolin, so I’m wondering if I should switch to the up motion, or is it ok to do it either way?

Thanks; Steve


Hi Steve

It depends on where you are going next, and if you can get a clean sound either way…(most people can push off much easier than pull off)
If you need to play a lower sounding string next it is most efficient to push off…if you’re headed toward a string higher in note a pull=of might work best…that way you’re already headed the direction you need to go

I’d suggest doing what works the best for you and what you’re playing at the moment…



Hi Steve Great question and I agree with all that Dave said.

I push as well as pull and I try to follow @BanjoBen ’ s advice where possible but a lot of the time I will lapse into using what’s most comfortable to me. I would encourage you to learn both way’s as it’ll add another string to your bow or another arrow in your quiver.