Hello there. I've been playing guitar for 2 years now. I play mostly lead. I have most the techniques down now to a pretty decent speed and standard, yet my legato i would say is on a much weaker level than all my other techniques.

I feel like it's almost as though i don't completely understand legato or something. For lack of a better definition, i believe it's just like fluent playing with use of almost completely hammerons and pulloffs, so assuming legato is done right you wouldn't need your strumming hand at all.

I feel i'm incredibly inconsistant and inaccurate when it comes to anything more than triplets. I think i'm quite fantastic at triplets infact and anything less, but when it comes to using more than 2 fingers in a legato sort of lick my ability just plummets. Like i said before, i think sometimes i might not even understand what exactly i'm supposed to do.

This lick for example:

--------------- -17-p15------------------------------17-p15-p12----|

It's part of the 3rd solo in Sanitarium by Metallica. For the life of me i cannot do it. even at a tempo of like 20% i struggle to play it.

I ended up just improvising a little and creating a sweeping lick somewhat similar because i can play it quite easy up to tempo.

I realise i'm not making the best of sense here because i'm having difficulty explaining what exactly my problem is, but if anyone can understand the concept i'm trying to grasp here or understand my problem, any sort of help would be appreciated. And if anyone knows a good sort of exercise to help me out that'd great.

Thank you (:
Not got any advice, but I need to watch this thread as I have the same problem.
I have faced problem on this exact lick cause it is a little wide and it needs some stretching. I solved it by changing the fingering to this

It is the same notes as the original but different fingering and picking pattern. It seems a LOT easier to me. Try this out
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For the 17p15p12 bit or whatever it is have your fingers on all 3 frets before you pick. I.e. 1st on 12th fret 3rd on 15th fret and 4th finger on 17th fret. So then pull off each finger. It's always more difficult to do pull offs or whatever with your little finger when you start.

I don't know if that helps. This is why I don't give advice.
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Quote by vayne92
And if anyone knows a good sort of exercise to help me out that'd great.

Thank you (:

I would start working on your basic hammer/pull techniques by practice.
Start off slow and easy - tackle the basic mechanics first and then build on top of that as you become more skilled.

To start, practice trills of all finger combinations all over the neck. (that is repeated hammer/pull using any 2 fingers) for a period of time like 30 seconds each.
(Go longer if you're comfortable doing that)
I would keep it at one finger per fret right now, until you have developed the correct form to handle more advanced stuff.

What is good form? Keep your arm relaxed, and make sure you practice slow enough to be accurate and clean with every single note. That is vitally important from the start. If you're finger is flailing about and missing notes or hitting them sloppily... you're not helping yourself very much... slow down and make it sound really great. How you develop slow is how you will sound when you get really fast.

I repeat, the main thing that will really make the difference is consistent accuracy. Learn how to hammer any note with the correct part of your fingertip every time, because it requires the least effort. Therefore, will give you maximum results in the future.
Try to hammer notes in the center of the fingertip, so the bone underneath is used for optimal striking power with the least muscle force.

Once you have a good handle on the basic mechanics, then I would start branching out. Try legato patterns like 1-3-2-4 or 4-1-3-2 etc., or scale fragments, up and down the neck across strings. Also some stretched patterns as well. (such as your example above).
Then just keep going... It really takes time to become advanced... but you will definitely get better and better with the right approach and a bit of dedication. good luck.
So i've been practising my legato since this post, and am already starting to notice some slight improvements, but improvements regardless.

For lets say just a basic lick like:


Is it necessary to have every all 4 fingers on the fretboard before starting that lick?
I say this because literally up until about 10minutes ago i always thought that was the case, but then i starting practising that particular chromatic all over the neck and i started to find myself being able to do it without requiring all 4 fingers on the guitar at once.
I realise what i'm saying now probably doesn't make too much sense as i'm having difficulty explaining this, but what i'm starting to do now, would that be the right thing to do and what i should have been aiming for initially?
Now i do a simple lick like that and only require my finger on the first fret obviously.
I think what i'm doing now would be correct?
If that's the case that's great for me. I feel like something so small like that has been holding me back with my legato, and for that reason i've always tried to ignore it, but i really don't want to ignore my weaknesses anymore.

If anyone could help out that would be great and inform me about whether or not i'm doing legato right now? :p
the answer is no you don't have to keep more than one finger down at a time.
in fact a good practice drill is to purposely hammer one and only one finger at a time and do it slow enough to conciously relax your whole hand in between notes.
This helps individual finger strength and also reinforces hand relaxation into your technique.

At the same time, there will be licks most easily played with one finger planted on a note. So it's best to get comfortable with both. Trilling is good for that.
Especially when you get into fast repetitive patterns like:
12-8-10-8 or 15-14-12 for example.

There are tons of exercises for legato. Pretty much any pattern you can imagine makes for good practice, as long as you can keep it clean and you're not overly straining - all of it helps.