#1
I've noticed that my legato technique starts to fall apart when I do pull off runs from one string to the next, so I've started practicing using some exercises from a lesson here on UG (Legato Lesson).

Where I get caught up is mostly when the finger pattern changes between strings. For example in a G Major run, this segment catches me up:

b--8p7p5--------------
g--------------7p5p4--

cause I'm going from fingers 1, 3 and 4 to 1, 2 and 4. What I'd like to know is, for something as specific as this, how long in practice time should it take to see an improvement? Before I get flooded with responses like "it's different for everybody", what I'm getting at is, how long would you practice something with minimal improvement before you'd start to question your method of practice.

For example, if you practiced just that piece for 15 minutes per day for 2 weeks, and saw little to no improvement, would you think you were doing something wrong, or just that it'll take more time?
#2
Quote by Legion6789

For example, if you practiced just that piece for 15 minutes per day for 2 weeks, and saw little to no improvement, would you think you were doing something wrong, or just that it'll take more time?

15 min/day for 2 weeks is not a lot of time.

However... if I we're strictly talking about that 6-note isolated pattern... I would think it should get at least a bit easier after a few weeks of good slow repetition.

If there is no difference whatsoever... I might question the practice effectiveness.
#3
Just to clarify, I don't mean 15 minutes of total guitar practice per day, I mean 15 minutes on that six note pattern.
#4
It still depends on lots of things...

For something that short and simple, I would say if I don't see any improvement at all at the end of the first 15 minute session I'm doing it wrong.
#5
That is a tricky pattern. Work on it, but don't obsess over how long it takes. I have been practicing that pattern for more than half a year and in some places on the fretboard I can pull it off (barely), but I don't feel comfortable doing it.
Yeah
#6
Quote by Freepower
It still depends on lots of things...

For something that short and simple, I would say if I don't see any improvement at all at the end of the first 15 minute session I'm doing it wrong.

This. Usually when I'm practicing something complicated that uses techniques I'm proficient with, I could spend as little as 20 minutes practicing it or as much as 4 hours. For example, a brief passage in a Protest the Hero song took me upwards of 3 hours to learn at full tempo today. However, an earlier passage in the song took only a couple of minutes to get to full speed.

For something like that, when you're just starting to play legato, shapes like that are going to take a while. But once you're proficient at those easier runs, more difficult ones become more doable, since you're familiar with the technique.

Now, 15 minutes for 2 weeks totals 210 minutes of practice, which is 3.5 hours. If you can't do that little run cleanly after close to four hours of practice, something is going very wrong. Since you're just building technique, I won't apply my standards to that run, because I count myself to be very proficient with legato whereas you are by your own admission just starting to learn legato runs over multiple strings.

What I will tell you is this: learning a new technique or becoming proficient in one that you are not skilled with isn't a matter of minutes or weeks. Depending on how fast you want to play that, it could take a while to learn to play that rapidly and fluidly without excess string noise or unnecessary tension. However, you should be able to commit that run to muscle memory and play it comfortably at low speed without even thinking about it relatively quickly, especially if you've already achieved some degree of finger independence.

[GELDIT]
If I was playing that passage at higher speeds (10 nps or more), I would play it as follows:
e-8p7p5------------
b-------8p7p5-------
g-------------7p5/4
d-------------------
a-------------------
E-------------------

I would find it a lot more convenient to slide to B from C rather than move my whole hand down while moving to the next string. If you're playing at or around that speed, you will not hear a whole lot of difference between sliding that not and pulling off. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't practice the run you posted, but be aware that there is more than one way to skin a cat.
Last edited by Geldin at Jun 24, 2011,
#7
if it's really givin you trouble, You might try to break it into separate more focused isolations, and then combine them together. This approach can be very effective sometimes.

so for example I might do something like this... (5 minutes each)

practice this to get used to the finger alternation.
b--8p7p5---8p6p5--
Then to get comfortable with the string switch
b--8p5-------
g------8p5--
next the position switch
b--8p5------
g------7p4--
Lastly, pull it all together..
b--8p7p5---------
g--------7p5p4---

20 minutes total. Go slow enough to make each note perfect and stay relaxed.
If one gives you more trouble than others - that's good, means you found a weak point to give it some extra attention.
good luck.
#9
Here's a little tip for playing this kind of stuff: when you're placing your fourth finger down on the B string after pulling off everything on the E string, place your fourth, second, and first fingers down at the same time on the B string. I've found that this makes things incredibly smoother than placing your fingers down right as you pull off. It's all about making sure that your fingers are in place BEFORE you start to pull off and that your pull offs are nice and loud (but you're not straining too hard). There should be no effort in this kind off stuff whatsoever. Also, practice these kinds of patterns on an acoustic.
#10
WalkinDude91: That's how I've been doing it. It's good to hear I'm not the only one. And although it does produce a smoother sound, it's also the reason why 3 note per string pull offs are harder for me than hammer ons. Hammer ons by definition require you to put down one finger after the other. Whereas with pull offs, it's almost like learning a new chord shape, as you're placing 2, 3 or 4 fingers down at the same time.
#12
Freepower: I don't understand how you can do pull offs then. Assuming you're not pulling off to an open string you have to have at least two fingers down at the same time to start. If you're doing three notes on one string and no open string, it would seem to me to be quite a feat of dexterity to pull off from fourth finger to third and then put down your second or first finger. I also don't understand why you would characterize placing all three fingers down at the same time as a bad habit.
#13
Quote by Legion6789
I also don't understand why you would characterize placing all three fingers down at the same time as a bad habit.


which is probably why you're having trouble with your legato.

the key to good technique is finger independence -- the idea is NOT to move more than one finger at a time when unnecessary. it takes longer to shift the entire hand position than it does to move individual fingers -- so at faster speeds, even if you were to practice rigorously, you would eventually encounter a speed wall, because there's a break in your legato technique.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#14
AeolianWolf: I agree, moving fingers unnecessarily is not good. However, in the example that I posted originally:
b--8p7p5--------------
g--------------7p5p4--

I don't understand how you would do that only moving some fingers but not all. Are you suggesting that at the start of the movement I should only have my 3rd and 4th fingers on the fretboard and my index hanging out in the air somewhere. Because that's not efficient. Now I have to bring my index down just in time before I pull off my 3rd finger. And on the g string, not only do I need to shift position, but I also have to go from using fingers 1, 3 and 4 to 1, 2 and 4. How would you execute the movement?

As it is now, I start with my 1st, 3rd and 4th fingers on the fretboard, execute the first set of pull offs and then shift position down 1 fret and place my 1st, 2nd and 4th fingers down at the same time and begin the second set of pull offs. I don't really see how placing only my 2nd and 4th fingers down and then later putting down my 1st finger speeds anything up. If anything, it feels much more awkward.

Since you imply that my method is flawed, I'd like to know the right way, cause I'm tired of playing slow.
#15
Quote by Legion6789
I don't understand how you would do that only moving some fingers but not all. Are you suggesting that at the start of the movement I should only have my 3rd and 4th fingers on the fretboard and my index hanging out in the air somewhere. Because that's not efficient. Now I have to bring my index down just in time before I pull off my 3rd finger. And on the g string, not only do I need to shift position, but I also have to go from using fingers 1, 3 and 4 to 1, 2 and 4. How would you execute the movement?


no, that's not what i'm suggesting -- i'm suggesting that by the time you hit that last note on the B string, the other fingers are already on the frets necessary on the G string. by the time you're playing the E, your fourth finger should already be on the D, and your second finger should be in immediate motion to the C.

you should start on the first string with all three fingers in position -- after that, you only need 2 fingers to be in position at a time (if you're doing hammer-ons, you only need 1 in position at a time, but we're dealing with pull-offs, and using 1 finger in position this way wouldn't really be a pull-off -- just a reverse hammer-on).

i don't see how you're doing what you're doing without getting a break. maybe you can do it slowly, but you will eventually hit a speed wall doing it as you are. as you start to play faster and faster, the break that results from your entire hand shifting will become more and more noticeable.

placing all three fingers down at the same time is a bad habit because there's a clear break. however, if you shift your position finger by finger -- you can get your position ready without impacting the rhythm of what you're playing.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#16
^ there's a big distinction between fingers being "in position" and "fretting", ideally your fingers should always moving towards being "in position", but that's very different to starting a line with 3 fingers fretting...

Freepower: I don't understand how you can do pull offs then. Assuming you're not pulling off to an open string you have to have at least two fingers down at the same time to start. If you're doing three notes on one string and no open string, it would seem to me to be quite a feat of dexterity to pull off from fourth finger to third and then put down your second or first finger. I also don't understand why you would characterize placing all three fingers down at the same time as a bad habit.


Quite simply, it does take dexterity, but it's better.

If you put all three fingers down at once, you make it harder to move to the next position, and you are doing three times the necessary work at that point in time.

Let me give you a guideline for the fretting hand, if you are playing single notes, only one finger exerts pressure. It's true you need two fingers down for a pull off, but only at the split second you pull off.

I suspect your fingers fly off the fingerboard a bit and that's why this seems so impossible - because for you to pull off from 4->3 means you have to actually bring three down, but with training you can get it so that three is relaxed but actually just a millimetre or so from the string as your fourth finger frets.

Of course, as you get faster the boundaries blur a little as each finger needs to be moving to it's destination ahead of time, and some legato co-ordinations are a little easier with certain unused fingers continuing to fret.
#17
AeolianWolf: Thanks for the explanation. I started trying it your way last night and I've already noticed a difference. I feel like I went through the seven stages of grief in changing though.

Stage 1: Shock and denial: I can't be doing this wrong, everyone else is wrong. Their suggestions are ridiculous!

Stage 2: Pain and guilt: My god! I've been wasting all this practice time doing it wrong! I'm the worst guitarist ever! And my hand hurts!

Stage 3: Anger and bargaining: I hate guitar! I hate it! Maybe I can just keep playing this way, it'll get better, yeah, and then I'll have my own unique playing style. It'll sound stiff and forced, but it'll be mine... yeah...

Stage 4: Depression: I'll never get better... this is the end, my only friend the end... shit, I probably couldn't even play that song.

Stage 5: Upward Turn: This sucks, but I guess I'll just have to start over. Man this sucks.

Stage 6: Reconstruction: Alright, better find some legato exercises and practice correctly.

Stage 7: Acceptance: This is sooo much better. Good technique is yes.
#19
Thanks for this thread and the great replies. I have a question though about the correct technique for pull-offs. In the 3- note example when switching to the next string should I place 2 fingers down at once or try to only place 1 finger and a split second later place the second?
Quote by AeolianSeventh
Maybe there are gnomes in your air conditioning vents using out-of-phase parabolic speakers to deaden vibrations from a distance.
#21
Quote by Freepower
^
Let me give you a guideline for the fretting hand, if you are playing single notes, only one finger exerts pressure. It's true you need two fingers down for a pull off, but only at the split second you pull off.


If I read this correctly only 1 finger goes down at a time right?
Quote by AeolianSeventh
Maybe there are gnomes in your air conditioning vents using out-of-phase parabolic speakers to deaden vibrations from a distance.
#23
Ok-thanks man, yet another technique problem of mine you resloved.
Quote by AeolianSeventh
Maybe there are gnomes in your air conditioning vents using out-of-phase parabolic speakers to deaden vibrations from a distance.