Lesson #025, The Choke & the Pull off

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #025, The Choke & the Pull off

Hi Everyone,

There are two more left hand techniques I would like to discuss and teach you before we get into Train 45. They are the pull-off.... which is basically the opposite of the push-off except you pull and release the string you are using as opposed to pushing off on the string. These two techniques... the push-off and the pull-off sound pretty much identical except that you "push" a string towards yourself and "pull" a string away from you. You can use either of these techniques for an identical lick. I feel more comfortable using either of these techniques on different strings and you will see what I mean when you start experimenting with these techniques on different licks for yourself. For example... It would feel more comfortable for me to use a push-off on the fourth string than perhaps a pull-off. Likewise it may feel more comfortable to me to play pull-off on the first string as opposed to using a push-off. Both techniques can be used, but one or the other may feel more comfortable or natural to you when you are playing some of these licks.

The choke is another left hand technique used alot in playing the Bluegrass Banjo. It consists of bending a string without releasing your left hand fingering. You can see and hear what the choke sounds like in the video. I love the technique of choking.....it can really add alot of spark to your playing. It can also be used to great effect in playing bluesy sounding licks or lines.

Rock On All,


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In 2009, at the age of 60, I decided to learn to play the 5-string banjo. I searched the internet for lessons and struck gold when I found David Cavage's free banjo lessons at Musicmoose.org. His video hosting site revver.com was having some serious problems at the time so I downloaded as many of the lessons as I could whenever they became available. Revver.com stopped operating shortly afterwards and, sadly, Musicmoose.org is no more. I contacted David early 2020 and he told me he no longer had the original master videos and feared they may have been lost forever. This amazing course of free banjo lessons, from absolute beginner to advanced player, is too good to be forgotten, so this is my attempt to get David's work back out there again so that he can teach, inspire and spread the joy of banjo pickin' to more generations of budding musicians, just like he did with me. I've rounded up all the Moose stuff I could find and put it here, so start pickin' and enjoy!-------MooseHerder.