Three-Note Chromatic Pull-Off | Hub Guitar

Three-Note Chromatic Pull-Off

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Three-Note Chromatic Pull Off Hi, I'm Grey and this is Hub Guitar. Here's a great little technique I like to use sometimes to get three notes for the price of one. This works by taking advantage of the relative easiness of the pull-off technique. We'll start by fretting four notes on the same string. Of course, it'd be easiest to use four adjacent frets, but any combination of four notes on one string is possible, as long as you can reach with your fingers to fret all four notes at the same time. I'm going to prepare frets V, VI, VII and VIII with all four fingers on the high E string. Then we'll pluck the string, which will result in the highest note ringing out. Now we'll slowly pull-off from the high notes down to the lower notes. We'll repeat this motion continually, slowly building up speed. When you're practicing this it may not sound great. In fact, due to the chromatic nature of the four adjacent half-steps, it might not even sound very musical. But something interesting happens as we approach higher speeds. The four notes begin to blend into one. Instead of acting as four discrete notes, they start to sound as single note, decorated by three ultra-fast "extra" notes. Although this chromatic example will definitely use notes that are "out of the key", it's best to make sure that the final note you land on is actually a good one, because it's just not going to sound right if you land on a sour note. It would also be great if the first note you played was in the key. And if one of the in-between notes is in the key as well, then there will only be a single sour out-of-key note. And it really won't be heard as an individual note, but only as a decoration. So try this out. This is a really great way to "decorate" the final note with its 3 upper neighbors. It will sound great in your improvisation, or as an embellishment to a melody. For example, if the melody note was "A", here at the Vth fret, I could embellish it by first playing these 3 notes.

Three-Note Chromatic Pulloff

  1. Fret four adjacent frets. (Pictured: V, VI, VII, VIII)
  2. Pull off in consecutive order from highest to lowest
  3. Pull slightly to the side to ensure the strings ring again
  4. Practice slowly and take care to ensure the pull-offs are clean and even

This simple technique will help you to decorate any diatonic melody where the starting and ending note are both within the scale, and there are two chromatic notes in between. In other words, you can use this technique to descend a minor third chromatically.

When playing chromatic melodies, it’s probably best that the starting note and ending note are both diatonic notes. Otherwise, extra attention is drawn to dark and discordant tones.

The Technique, By Itself

The technique is a series of pull-offs. The first, second, third and fourth fingers each press notes on four different consecutive frets, then they pull off in reverse order to the first finger.

Three-note chromatic pulloff for guitar..

The Technique, in Context

Here is a short lick you can practice to see how this technique might be applied to “real” guitar playing.

Practicing the three-note chromatic pull-off in context..
As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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