#1
As the thread name says, is your attack very important when playing legato?
I notice when i try and incorporate legato and alternate picking together sometimes it sounds sort of... not fluent / unbalanced.
Is this something that changing my attack on the string should be able to correct? I like having a sort of strong attack when i play. Should i try and change this when playing legato etc or should i try and make my hammerons and pulloffs stronger?

Any sort of feedback would be appreciated.

Thank you (:
#2
Yes, you should try to balance the level of your pick attack with the level of your hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Hammer-ons are the limiting factor. Eventually, there will be a point where hammering harder or faster really doesn't result in any more volume. You should be able to get more volume from a pull-off than from a hammer-on. You should be able to get more volume from a pickstroke than from a pull-off. If you want to achieve a true, legato sound, then you should try to match the level of your pull-offs and the level of your pickstrokes to the level of your hammer-ons.
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#3
Are you making your hammer-ons and pull-offs as loud as the note that was originally picked? If your hammers and pull-offs are quiet, then you'd have an imbalance: your picked notes have a steady volume, but your hammer-ons and pull-offs are quieter/duller.

You should be able to get equal volume pretty easily with distortion/overdrive; it's a little bit harder on the clean channel, you just have to work at it.
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#4
Quote by Prophet of Page
Yes, you should try to balance the level of your pick attack with the level of your hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Hammer-ons are the limiting factor. Eventually, there will be a point where hammering harder or faster really doesn't result in any more volume. You should be able to get more volume from a pull-off than from a hammer-on. You should be able to get more volume from a pickstroke than from a pull-off. If you want to achieve a true, legato sound, then you should try to match the level of your pull-offs and the level of your pickstrokes to the level of your hammer-ons.


TS, listen to this man, he knows what he's talking about.

It's also worth noting that a well aimed accented pickstroke in an otherwise legato line can add a very nice sense of rhythm or a well placed change of tone, so that's definitely something to consider.
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#5
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
TS, listen to this man, he knows what he's talking about.

It's also worth noting that a well aimed accented pickstroke in an otherwise legato line can add a very nice sense of rhythm or a well placed change of tone, so that's definitely something to consider.


How can a pull off be louder than the hammer on that preceded it? My understanding of physics is that a pull off can only have a percentage of the sound that was provided it by the hammer on that preceded it?

I'll note that I'm not a very good guitar player and that my pull offs are way too quiet.

Is someone going to tell me my technique of simply lifting off my finger for a pull off is wrong and that I should add a lateral strum motion with my finger as I pull off?
#6
Quote by cbara
Is someone going to tell me my technique of simply lifting off my finger for a pull off is wrong and that I should add a lateral strum motion with my finger as I pull off?


Yes, actually; that's a proper pull-off. Try to slide your finger off the string towards the ground.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#7
Quote by cbara
How can a pull off be louder than the hammer on that preceded it? My understanding of physics is that a pull off can only have a percentage of the sound that was provided it by the hammer on that preceded it?

I'll note that I'm not a very good guitar player and that my pull offs are way too quiet.

Is someone going to tell me my technique of simply lifting off my finger for a pull off is wrong and that I should add a lateral strum motion with my finger as I pull off?


Basically yes, if you don't have the little strumming motion from your fingers then you won't be able to make the technique work for very long and a lot of legato lines will be physically impossible.

If you're not going to do the pull off and want to go with the lift off then to make it work you're going to have to go with the Holdsworth style of "all hammers" as it's sometimes called. I don't know anywhere near enough about that to really teach it but my basic understanding is that instead of pulling off you lift off one finger and hammer with the one behind it at the exact same time. If you want to know any more than that you'll have to wait for someone who knows it better than me to turn up, I really can't help you beyond that.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
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#8
Quote by cbara
Is someone going to tell me my technique of simply lifting off my finger for a pull off is wrong and that I should add a lateral strum motion with my finger as I pull off?


As a beginner i used to just lift it off, it took me a good year or so before i realised i was doing it wrong. If you just lift it off, you wont be able to play legato correctly, trill or anything like that.
To test if you're wrong, try playing some chromatics or a lick without using your pick once. If you can't make all your notes produce a loud enough sound and they quickly sort of fade out, you're probably not doing it right.

They are called PULL off not LIFT offs after all :P
Last edited by vayne92 at Aug 11, 2011,
#10
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
TS, listen to this man, he knows what he's talking about.




Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand. For most guitarists, "legato" refers to a set of guitar techniques, in particular hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides (some might add tapping to that list, but tapping technique essentially consists of picking hand hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides, so I personally don't feel the need to include it as a separate technique). While on a given string, most guitarists would hammer-on to higher notes, pull-offs to lower notes and use slides while shifting position. When moving to another string, I would also imagine that most guitarists would pick the first note on that string and then use hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides to play the subsequent notes on that string (Paul Gilbert and John Petrucci come immediately to my mind as examples of players who use this approach). Other guitarists might prefer to hammer-on the first note on a new string where possible, only picking when this is difficult or if they wish to accent the first note (Joe Satriani and Steve Vai come immediately to my mind as examples of players who use this approach). When playing tapping lines accross multiple strings, the first note on a new string is usually hammered-on by either the fretting hand or the picking hand.

I once heard Paul Gilbert describe picked notes as being analagous to consonants in language and the notes that aren't picked as being analagous to vowels. I thought it was a good analogy. He went on to mention that he liked how the hard pick attack of the few notes he picks when playing legato contrast with the softer attack of the notes he doesn't pick. If that's the effect you want, then that's what you should do.

The problem is that "legato" technically refers to a musical effect where the notes are played smoothly, with consistent tone and volume. In classical legato, the notes should actually overlap slightly, however in most cases this isn't possible on a guitar (and not a bad thing either, since any distortion would result in the overlapping of the notes sounding absolutely terrible). The closest you could get to true legato on a guitar (excluding something like a swept arpeggio) would be a seamless effect, where the end of one note corresponds as close as possible to the beginning of the next note.

If you want to get something closer to a true legato sound from a guitar, things get much more difficult. Firstly, a pickstroke, a pull-off and a hammer-on will all separate on note from the next, with hammer-ons giving the least possible separation. Also, they all sound different, making uniform tone difficult to achieve. A pull-off will result in a slight "meowing" in the EQ of the note which you pull-off to, which isn't present in the tone of a hammered or lightly picked note. If you like the effect (or don't notice it), then pull-off as much as you like. The problem is that if you do notice it and don't want that effect, you have to try to remove as many pull-offs as possible to achieve the most uniform tone possible.

Essentially, it all comes down to trying to keep your hammer-ons, pickstrokes (probably more pickstrokes than people might like to think) and the few pull-offs you'll still need consistent in both tone and volume. It's not something you can do instead of the style of legato most guitarists use either. You need a solid foundation in the more common style of legato before you can achieve anything significant in the truer legato style.
My name is Tom, feel free to use it.