Writing Tips 3

author: Colohue date: 12/10/2008 category: guitar techniques
rating: 8.1 / votes: 10 
Hey again. Welcome to writing tips three. This time around we're going to take a brief look at the technical side of guitar work with example licks of no more than a bar. Hopefully it will give you some ideas and some inspiration for writing your own licks and solos. The techniques covered in this lesson are as follows: Legato Vibrato Bends Slides Legato Legato is a technique which uses hammer-ons and pull-offs to create the sound of all the notes rolling fluidly together. It can be useful when playing fast because you do not have to pick a hammer-on or a pull-off. It is a fairly versatile technique, allowing you to use from one to four fingers anywhere across the fretboard. A legato lick tends to be fast and smooth. It is good for builds or quick runs from point A to point B. All of the examples that follow are in F Major.
Example - Legato
e|---------------------------------|
B|-------------1h3p1-----3p1-------|
G|-------0h2h3-------3p2-----3p2---|
D|-0h2h3-------------------------3-|
A|---------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------|
Open strings can be useful for fast legato runs because it gives you that brief moment when your hand is released from the fretboard. This gives you the chance to move your hand into a new position.
Example - Legato 2
e|---------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------|
G|-3p2p0---------------------------|
D|---------3p2p0-----------3p2p0---|
A|-----------------3p1p0-----------|
E|---------------------------------|
Legato doesn't have to come on so strong though. If, for example, you wanted a quick burst of speed to delay a resolution:
Example - Legato 3
e|---------------------------------|
B|-------------------------3-------|
G|-------------------0h2p0---------|
D|---2-----------0h2---------------|
A|-------3---1h3-------------------|
E|---------------------------------|
A hammer-on or pull-off does not have to follow a played string. You can simply hammer on to a string at a certain fret and, if done hard enough, that string will play. This also works with pull-offs, though obviously the note plays when you remove your finger rather than hit the fret with it. Legato can be used anywhere and it isn't just limited to two fingers so give it a try and see what you can come up with. Vibrato Everybody's vibrato technique is different. This means it can be used to create some truly unique licks. Vibrato is also a vocal technique. It is the act of altering the pitch of a note upwards and downwards. This can be done very slightly or quite a lot. It can be done by moving your finger up and down the fret after picking the note or by dragging the string back and forth across the fret. It can be done either fast or slow and can be sustained as long as the vibration of the string. In the following examples how wide the vibrato and how long you sustain it is up to you.
Example - Vibrato
e|-------3v---------1v------3p1p0-|
B|---3----------1-----------------|
G|--------------------------------|
D|--------------------------------|
A|--------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------|
Or perhaps we could try something even more simple:
Example - Vibrato 2
e|---------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------|
G|-----------3v--------------------|
D|---2v--------------3v------------|
A|---------------------------3v----|
E|---------------------------------|
Keeping it simple we're going to do a simple vibrato run through the chord tones of Fmaj7 (F,A,C,E).
Example - Vibrato 3
e|---------------------------0v----|
B|-------------------1v------------|
G|-----------2v--------------------|
D|---3v----------------------------|
A|---------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------|
If you're not sure how to vibrate an open string simple pick the note and push down on the string above the nut. The more extreme the action when performing the vibrato the more the note will fluxuate, so be sure to experiment yourself. Bends Bends and Vibrato are closely related, but bends tend to be more extravagant and often they are only used to raise the pitch. To bend you play a note and pull the string across the fretboard, staying within the confines of the fret played. The further you pull the string, the higher the pitch is raised. Bends are a particular favourite amongst soloists across the world. They can be very versatile. The bend itself can go wherever you want it. You can bend and then return should you wish, you can also pre-bend or bend multiple strings at once. There are many options. Unfortunately I only have a few examples, so be sure to try out a few things yourself and see what fun noises come out.
Example - Bends
e|---------------------------------|
B|-----------3p1p0h3b--------------|
G|---3b---------------------2b-----|
D|---------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------|
Another example, only this time instead of legato I've put some vibrato in.
Example - Bends 2
e|---------------------------1v----|
B|-------------------1---3---------|
G|-----------2b--------------------|
D|---3b--2b------------------------|
A|---------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------|
Finally I'll have a look at bending multiple strings at once in this last example.
Example - Bends 3
e|-----------3p1p0-----------------|
B|---3b--------------1---3b--------|
G|-----------------------2b--------|
D|---------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------|
When bending multiple strings at once be advised to choose your notes carefully. The ones I've chosen make up an inverted D5. Obviously there are still a ton of possibilities to examine so go for it and see what you can come up with. Slides Slides are another technique useful in getting from point A to point B. They are done by playing a note on one fret, then sliding your finger up the frets to another one, all the while holding down the string to maintain it's vibrations. They can be large or small, subtle or blatantly obvious. You can slide out of a lick and you can even slide into a lick. Lets have a play with slides shall we?
Example - Slides
e|---------------------------------|
B|---------------1/5v--------------|
G|-----------2/3-----------3\2v----|
D|---3v----------------------------|
A|---------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------|
A simple little lick that doesn't go very far, but introduces the sound of slides. Let's try something a little bigger now.
Example - Slides 2
e|---------------------------------|
B|-------------------------1///8---|
G|-------------------3p2p0---------|
D|-----------8\\\3v----------------|
A|---1/7h8p7-----------------------|
E|---------------------------------|
This lick has much bigger slides and I've also added legato in alongside the previous vibrato. Quick, short slides can sound very similar to legato, but when practising technique it is important to practise the correct one.
Example - Slides 3
e|----------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------|
G|------------------5h7p5-----------|
D|--------------7\5---------7\------|
A|--/8p7v---------------------------|
E|----------------------------------|
This example introduces sliding in and sliding out. To slide in fret a note without picking it and then slide up from it. To slide out pick the note and slide down as normal, but instead of having a destination note to slide to slide all the way down instead and gradually withdraw your finger as you go. Unfortunately these examples are just to give you an idea of and feel for the techniques in question. To be comfortable with any technique a lot of practise is required, but give it a try. Throw some techniques into a solo or just write a lick around one. See what works for you. Thanks for reading. Tom Colohue
More Colohue lessons:
+ Outright Writing. Part Two Songwriting & Lyrics 01/15/2010
+ Outright Writing. Part One Songwriting & Lyrics 01/08/2010
+ Writing Tips 2 Guitar Techniques 11/27/2008
+ Writing Tips Songwriting & Lyrics 09/23/2008
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