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Thread: How do recommend learning legato? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-08-2010 09:42 AM
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

Do basic
--------3--5--7 (repeat on E and A)
------------------------4--5--7 (repeat on D and G)
------------------5--7--8 (repeat on B and E)

repetition at approximately 60-70bpm thirds, make sure that you

a) only pick first note
b) mute the string above (ie. low E when you play A) with the tip of your index finger
c) mute all strings below using fleshy inner part of your index finger (you should be able to play legato with no noise without using any right hand muting). Use other fingers as well.
d) Make sure notes sound evenly and are in time, there is no need to use a lot of distortion for that one as well.
e) if there is any tension in your left hand, shake it off immediately. The goal is to have no tension at all, in any part of your body. You should be able to play first pattern (on E and A) totally clean (no noise) for around 5-10 minutes non stop without getting tired.
f) do not lift your fingers (esp pinky) more than an inch from the fretboard.

If you are a beginner/intermediate, it's recommended that these exercises are repeated every day, starting from 5-10 minutes a day up to an hour for at least 3-5 months, to train strength and muscle memory and lay down a solid foundation for your technique for the future.

Do not attempt to play more complicated patterns like 3-5-7-5-3 or to change the tempo to higher one (you can try different scales tho) it will only give you bad habits (which I can see in 95% of players who try to play Satriani's and other legato heavy songs - very unclean, no sense of timing, masked with tons of distortion bad legato technique).

After you've done it (and done it properly) you can move to 3-5-7-5-3 and slightly up the tempo - and also it will be much easier to expand the technique to other patterns, slides, string skipping etc.

If you skip that initial routine (or in other words, try to play complex things without mastering fundamentals first), you will most likely sound like crap and have to use tons of distortion to imitate legato till the rest of your life, except if you are a some sort of dexterity/manual genius.
05-04-2010 12:52 AM
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

One thing that helped me with speed and strength, which you need to do legato, is practicing trills with all fingers especially your pinky. Doing trills with your 3rd and 4th fingers will build so much strength in your hand that when you decend from one string to another with legato it will soon be much easier. Left hand strenth is essential for legato to be smooth and flow.
05-04-2010 12:37 AM
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

Originally Posted by PickAxeBro View Post
Richie Kotzen Rock Chops.
Oh yeah, that will will get you going VERY quickly. He'll do entire runs across all strings without picking the first note of each string like most people do. Takes much practice and determination to build up the hand strength and ability to mute/muffle the other strings.
05-03-2010 02:26 AM
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

Nice posts Tom.

Legato is quite an ambiguous area it seems, especially with guitar.
Plainly, legato is smooth and connected.
Legato does not necessarily mean you need lots of hammer ons and pull offs.
You can pick all the notes and still be playing legato, in a strict musical sense.

Guitarists tend to refer to anything articulated with HO's and PO's as legato, which is true and I don't wish to argue with that, but more strictly speaking the notes are slurred

True legato is where the notes are played to their full values with no silence between one note and the next.

However, as guitarists we call those typical 'rolling' scalic runs like Satriani plays 'legato' playing and work our 'legato' technique by working on our hammer ons and pull offs.

So to try to answer the origanal post, I would say a good place to start is to practice your scales using hammers and pulls rather than picking. Perhaps begin with picking the first note on each string and hammering/pulling the rest each string.
05-02-2010 02:51 PM
Tom Gilroy
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

Originally Posted by Magical Muffin View Post
wtf I'm calling BS on that. And if you can't do pull offs how in the world are you supposed to descend, and what in the world is HE doing when he descends if it isn't pull offs?
You lift the finger that is fretting the higher note, and lightly hammer the lower note. It doesn't work for everything, but you can more certainly play a descending lick without hammers.

Originally Posted by Magical Muffin View Post
All that lesson did for me is confuse me and make me feel bad about my technique.
I agree, it is confusing, and doesn't really help you understand Holdsworth's legato style.

Also, Garsed doesn't tell to stop using pull-offs completely in his Rock Fusion video, rather he tells you that to achieve a more legato sound, you minimise the pull-off movement where pull-offs are necessary.

The hammer-on/lift-off approach to legato is very valid, but you can't use it for everything. Funnily enough, one of the easiest licks to play with pull-offs, a simple roll on a single string like -3-5-7-5- repeating (using index, middle and pinky) or -3-5-6-5- repeating (using index, ring and pinky) are actually among the most difficult licks to play without pull-offs. The Kotzen-ish rolling phrases tend not to be very common in Garsed's of Holdsworth's playing, but that's more because they prefer wider intervals and less linear patterns than the difficulty of playing without the pull-offs.

The "metal" style of legato that Marshall Harrison plays in the beginning is generally characterised by alot of rolling motions and heavy pull-offs, and it most certainly isn't "legato" in the true sense of the word (while the Holdsworth/Garsed style is closer, it's still not quite there either). I think the different passages were mostly because the two techniques are generally used to play vastly different passages.
05-02-2010 01:20 PM
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

Yea, it's so funny that he doesn't even play the same notes when he's supposed to be showing different *techniques*. That talk about no pull offs is just BS. Garsed says the same thing in one of his videos. I guess he got it from there.
05-02-2010 12:19 PM
Magical Muffin
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

Originally Posted by corey j grieve View Post

One of the best true Legato lessons.
*Plays really fast legato scales*
"K that's like John Petrucci, so as you can see it totally sucks and is staccato and not legato."
*Plays exact same thing but Jazzier + sweeps*
"K now that's real legato"

wtf I'm calling BS on that. And if you can't do pull offs how in the world are you supposed to descend, and what in the world is HE doing when he descends if it isn't pull offs? All that lesson did for me is confuse me and make me feel bad about my technique.
05-01-2010 09:31 PM
Tom Gilroy
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

Originally Posted by corey j grieve View Post

One of the best true Legato lessons.
I'm not too fond of that lesson at all actually, his technique is great but it leaves alot of questions unanswered.

Also, it's not "true" legato, that would entail a slight overlapping of notes, which isn't possible when playing multiple notes on the same string. Swept arpeggios are to my knowledge the only passages you can play on guitar that are really "true" legato.

The "no pull-offs" and "all hammers" statements are also flatly wrong. Even Holdsworth has to use pull-offs in different situations and he picks quite alot in order to control the accents. He just has such good control of his attack that he can blend it with his left hand technique that most don't even notice.

In any case, you should be able to play "legato" in the sense most guitarists mean (ie, hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides and maybe some right hand taps) before even beginning with the Holdsworth/Garsed style.

Inzane, your last post with the tabbed G major scale is precisely what was meant by laying out the "modes" as three note per string scales. Keep in mind, those patterns are really just different positions we can play the G major scale in, rather than modes in the true sense. Modality requires a tonal centre (don't worry about what this means yet if I'm confusing you).

As for getting things up to speed, start slow, keep your movements economical and stay relaxed.
04-28-2010 06:27 PM
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

Originally Posted by Inzane View Post
I have to confess.... I'm really struggling with learning legato (HOs/POs). I understand the mechanics of it. But how do you go about building speed?

Unfortunately most of the music that I'm interested in is way way above my level of skill at the moment. I realize that. From Joe Satriani to the lead parts in most Megadeth songs, the legato passages just seem overwhelmingly fast.

Any tips on building legato skill would be greatly appreciated. (eg. Any particular exercises you recommend, or suitable "easy" passages to start with and progress up to something more challenging?)

Yeah Dude Get Anything from "Lick Library" Which Are Video/DVD/Etc Guitar Lessons.

Real Up Close & Understanable, and Really Great Teachers Who Absolutely Shred!

The Lick Library Satriani one with Instructor Andy James Is Really Great at Teaching Excellent Examples of Ton's of Legato Techniques with the King of Legato Lead Guitar, Joe Satriani.

The Only Reason Is Mention Lick Library Instructor Andy James, Is that there Is Another Lick Library Satriani Lesson DVD with Instructor Danny Gill, who's Great, but the Andy James one Is Just Better and A Better Guitarist Andy James, Just Slighty!
04-28-2010 06:04 PM
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

For those of you guys suggesting laying out the modes and doing 3-note-per-string scales, is this what you're talking about?
(for example)

04-24-2010 01:48 AM
corey j grieve
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

One of the best true Legato lessons.
04-23-2010 01:27 PM
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

Richie Kotzen Rock Chops.
04-21-2010 10:37 PM
Magical Muffin
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

Some relatively long-winded videos, but you can probably pick up a few tips here and there.

Just practice your scales in a way similar to the way you practice alternate picking, except pick less of the notes. The only difference is you have to pay a little more attention to the evenness of the notes, slop/extra noise and of course making sure all the notes sound. You could be sadistic and not pick anything but the first note of ascending strings, but I personally just pick however notes feels natural, whether it is 1 or 0 or 2 if its a slide or 3 if its an extended pattern once every beat or 3 notes or whatever.

Hammer ons are really easy. Pull offs are little harder particularly in the upper registers. The real difficulty comes with combining the two in a phrase or even on the same string, as after you play more than 3 notes on a single string the sound will no doubt lose all it's original force. What makes this silly is that it is even harder to practice it really slow, as then the notes will die out even faster. It's just a thing you have to work on, not really any magical advice to really help out here, other than to make sure you fingers hit/pull off the strings with lots of force BUT NOT pressing stupidly hard on the strings. If you do that you'll tire your hand out instantly and worse yet, you'll bend the string sharp, which is something you really want to avoid.

Practicing without piles of compression/ridiculous amounts of gain beyond a sane man's preference as well as having slighter tighter strings can also help in aiding you practice, even though this all makes legato much harder, it'll make your left hand rock solid compared to if you didn't. Also practice trills like crazy. You can never go wrong with trills. Reworking any old melody line so that it uses more legato works well too, and is a lot harder than you may think.

And I personally find Paul Gilbert vids a lot more helpful than Satch vids that I've found, which I haven't found anything useful in them (apart from that chord warm up excersize that is more or less an easier version of John Petrucci's crazy warm up stretching thing). Not gonna link any right now but they're pretty easy to find. Even if you think of him first for alternate picking he really does tons of legato, and string skipping legato stuff, and its all tons of fun to try out.
04-21-2010 06:14 PM
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

Great stuff guys. Thank you.
04-21-2010 05:09 PM
Re: How do recommend learning legato?

Good basics:
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