Descending Slurs

In another post I covered ascending slurs, so I figured it would be good to cover the opposite.

Descending slurs, or pull offs, can be a bit tricky as well. Unlike ascending slurs, pull offs require control to make sure the second note does not stick out.

A good way to think about pull offs is that they are rest strokes with the left hand. The finger does not just lift up off the string, that produces a weak sound if any happens to come out. Instead it’s about pulling the finger down off the string–really it’s like plucking the string with a left hand finger. To complete the motion, the left hand finger should come to rest against the next string.

Some other general tips:

  • All fingers of a pull off group must be down at the start of the slur, so if you’re slurring from 2 to 1, both fingers must be on the string. Don’t try to synchronize so 1 comes down right as 2 pulls off.
  • Try different hand positions. Some work better than others. For my pull offs to sound good, I have to be in a position with the palm of the hand more parallel to the neck.
  • Relax! these are easy, it should feel effortless.
  • Avoid pulling the string down too far. The finger should just glide right off, don’t do a bend.
  • Watch the string on which you come to rest. It’s really easy to get some stray noise and cause that string to sound.

Posted on in Classical Guitar Technique