Legato Exercises

How did the trills and stretches go? If the exercises were practiced properly then you should tackle today's information without any trouble.

If you take a look at the tab/standard notation you'll realize that this is a very 'fast' lesson using 32nd notes! And you're right, but hang in there because this can take your playing somewhere else. Legato playing involves a lot of work from the fretting hand as opposed to the picking that's required. But the picking hand will still have an important role, as it should stop unwanted noise (even though some of this is done by the fretting hand's side of the 1st finger!) To take things even further, I would say that the less you pick, the better your legato will sound! That's why trills exercises are so important before you can tackle what's ahead of us today, because the stronger and clearer your hammers/pulls/slides are the better your overall legato will be.

Some of the performance notes I can give you are these...

* Be sure your fretting hand thumb is lightly touching at the back, parallel with the second finger.

* The thumb should at no time press hard, or be seen from the front.

* These exercises/runs use the 1st, 2nd and 4th fingers exclusively when 3 notes are used together.

* Use only down strokes to pick. Ascend only were indicated.

* Use the inside heel of the arm just under the thumb to mute the lower string as you downpick the higher pitched note.

* Lift up a little the heel when you're hammering the lower pitched note in the descend to avoid dampening the note.

* Move in between frets by using slides.

* Descend always with a hammer with your 4th finger which pulls to the 1st finger. Do not pick!

* Move around on all groups of strings. Be sure to move through all keys.

* When skipping strings be sure to keep very 'quiet'.

* Use a distorted tone and mute unwanted sound(s) accordingly.

* These are advanced exercises so don't lose heart if at first they seem impossible to execute.

* Remember that a 1000 step journey starts with the first step.

Do pay close attention to the hammer/pulls/slides so that your legato sound and effect will be 'perfect'. Pick only were indicated. In the descend you should never pick so get those hammers and pulls up to standard if you want to succeed in this type of playing. Remember that legato playing is used by some of the best guitar players on this planet so join the 'elite' club today!

Keep up the hard work.



Jean-Pierre Zammit is a guitarist and instructor from Malta who has been playing guitar since the age of 14.

Zammit uses complex techniques, time shifts and scales in his writing, and always puts the song and the message he wants to portray first.

His is endorsed by Music Man guitars to use their Axis BFR models and Ernie Ball strings.

Jean-Pierre Zammit

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