How to Improve Your Left Hand Guitar Technique
Part 6: 2 Note Per String Pull Offs
Have you mastered 2 note per string hammer ons and are ready for pull offs?
Have you read our last 5 posts on lead guitar technique?
This is the 6th and last post on how to improve your left hand guitar technique. If you’d like to re-read the previous posts (all of the examples build up to these), scroll to the bottom for the page for links to them. In this post, we will show lines that use 2 note per string pull offs. Famous guitarists such as Michael Romeo, Synyster Gates, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and many others are well known for using 2 note per string pull off licks. Using these, you should be able to play interesting licks, improve your left hand technique, and have a mental library of lines for improvisation for solo material in the future.
We begin with pull offs starting on the high E string. Like the previous examples, start off slowly until you gain the confidence to execute these lines cleanly.
To continue, we play pull offs starting on the B string, pull off from E to D, then, play C to D on the G string. To emphasize the line and the technique, try playing each pull off twice. This is an easy way to add variation to the examples shown.
The third example here (ex. 25), we move to the string groups G and D to play our pull off licks. To reemphasize, these lines are presented in G major, but can be applied to any scale or mode. Experiment with applying 2 note per string pull offs to a scale that has a unique flavor.
Similar to the previous examples, and following the same logic, we proceed to the D and A string. Pull off G to F# on the D string, then D to C on the A string. In measure 3, watch out for the open string pull offs that can add another level of complexity. Use open strings when possible to add another level of fun to your lines. They can make melodic material more unpredictable.
The 5th (27) example takes us to the A and E string. Pull off from D to C on the A string, then pull off from A to G on the low E string. As an added bonus, in measure 3 we a 4 note hammer on run that doubles back, running up the scale to end at the open G.
In this example, we are reiterating 2 note hammer ons. What this means is that we play 2 notes, then immediately repeat them for added emphasis. This lick goes through the entire 3 octave scale in 3rd position.
In the 7th example we reverse the melodic material presented in example 28. All the hammer ons are now converted to pull offs. Each time we play a line, we immediately repeat it for added intensity.
This is the final example. It’s a little bit longer also. In this one, we combine numerous ideas to create something a little more organic sounding. In the first measure, we use string skipping to jump from the E to the D string, then execute pull offs on the A string. Watch out for measures 5, 6, and 7. In these, we see 2 note hammer on figures, string skipping, and a position shift at the final note up to a high D.
What To Do Now:
- Play pull off lines in multiple positions, using any scale/mode you know
- Practice combining examples shown to create longer more flowing lines
- For added emphasis, repeat 2 note pull off hammer on licks
- Add hammer on and pull off playing to your scale memorization practice routine
- Be creative with using scale runs, open strings, and hammer on pull offs to come up with lots of variations!