An Introduction To Electric Guitar:
Where To Start With Legato
The transition from strumming chords on an acoustic guitar to rocking out on an electric is actually a very simple one, yet it is made to seem more daunting then it is form the overwhelming amount of musical information found online regarding what new electric guitar players should be practicing.
I hear things like this all the time from new students; “there is so much information out there, and most of it contradicts itself, all I want to know is what am I supposed to practice to improve at the style of playing I like?”
If your a new, or improving electric guitar player and you can relate to the above statement then these series of FREE blog lessons are for you!
In this FREE blog lesson we will be taking a look at where new electric guitar players should be starting with legato.
Legato is an Italian word that means tied together, it means that notes are to be played smoothly in a connected manner, this is the sound that hammer-ons and pull-offs create.
Legato is an iconic technique that is every in guitar playing, so it’s important to get it right. Developing great legato technique will improve your intonation, accuracy, endurance and very importantly, tension control.
Hand Position For Legato
Hand and finger positioning is the starting point for executing any technique successfully.
You should have your thumb in the back of the neck inline with the second finger with a good healthy curve to your knuckle and distal joint (the curve above your finger nail), this allows your finger tips to effectively access the strings resulting in far more accurate and easy legato.
If you have never attempted to play this way then you may find this hand position to be uncomfortable at first, but if you persist it will become more and more natural.
You will also find that your legato (and other techniques) become more and more accurate and easier to execute.
Lets put this concept into context with these legato practice licks demonstrating the importance of hand positioning.
Keeping Fingers Close To The Fretboard
Keeping your fingers close to the fret board is a crucial technique for accurate, efficient guitar playing.
Playing with your fingers close to the fret board when executing legato passages will help with your speed, intonation and tone.
To execute effective legato you must train your fingers to apply hammer on’s and pull off’s with small movements, this is a skill that even good guitar players miss.
When you hammer on you want to do so keeping your finger at a close distance from the strings, and when you pull off you want to pull straight down towards the string underneath the one you are pulling off from only allowing your finger to travel a very small distance.
Aspire For An Even Tone
It takes time to execute legato with consistent volume but the true sign of competent legato technique is the volume of each legato note being the same as if you picked it. Keep this in mind when you execute legato, listen to the volume and tone of each note.
Now that you are aware of what you need to understand to start developing great legato, lets look at some legato exercises to help you with this crucial guitar playing technique.
Hammer On Exercises
We are going to start with a hammer on exercise using the 1st position of A natural minor.
We will be starting by picking the 5th fret on the B string played with your 1st finger, next hammer on to the 6th fret on the B with your 2nd finger, then hammer on to the 8th fret on the B with your 4th finger.
Then pick the 5th fret on the high e played with your 1st finger, then hammer on to the 7th fret on the high e with your 3rd finger, then hammer on to the 8th fret on the high e with your 4th finger.
Remember to maintain correct hand and finger position through out this exercise and keep your fingers close to the strings when you are hammering on.
Pull Off Exercises
Now we are going to look at a pull off exercise using the 1st position of A natural minor.
We will be starting by picking the 8th fret on the high e played with your 4th finger, next pull off to the 7th fret on the high e played with your 3rd finger, then pull off to the 5th fret on the high e played with your 1st finger.
Next pick the 8th fret on the B played with your 4th finger, next pull off to the 6th fret on the B played with your 3rd finger, then pull off to the 5th fret on the B played with your 1st finger.
Remember to maintain correct hand and finger position through out this exercise and pull straight down with your pull offs only allowing them to travel a very small distance.
Next we will be taking a look at how to use correct vibrato when soloing.
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