E|-------------- A|---9p5-------- D|-------------- G|-------------- B|-------------- e|--------------
It shows a pull-off.... A pull-off is a guitar playing fretting hand (right) technique that is used to sound a note without picking the string. The fret of the note to be played is played as follows - The already vibrating string, from playing another note is pressed down at the other (target) fret and the first finger is removed with a slight forward sliding movement. This rapidly to changes the sound.
In tab notation, pull offs are written using "p" as the symbol; the syntax is "x p y," where x is the staring note while y is the note sounded by pulling off.
It works as a "pull-off" only when the pitch is to go down. That is, a string may be pulled off upto a fret that is lower (further forwards) than the fret that was sounding already. The reverse process may also be employed (hammer-on).
In the above example, first the 5th string that was vibrating while being held at fret #9 was pulled off upto fret #5.
Here's a free Youtube lesson on this:
This is one of the most basic techniques for fast and fluent guitar playing. It works best with an electric guitar - there you can play a series of hammer's on and pull offs.
To see this technique in action, see this the video of Van Halen - Eruption:
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