#1
So I'm getting down and dirty on the precision in my technique. I am learning to move each finger individually with no sympathetic tension in the other fingers and apply minimum pressure. My goal is to keep my each finger within a centimeter of the string regardless of whether it is fretting or not. But here's my delimma:

What is perfect legato technique that doesn't allow the finger to fly too far from the strings? I am stuck between two roads to take here. Do I pull off with a "down towards the floor" motion and use the string below it to "catch" my finger so it doesn't fly too far? Or do I refuse the lower string safety net method and learn to stop my finger on my own through extreme focus?
#2
You pull off "down towards the floor" just as if your finger was your pick. You should also be aware of your fingers movement though, that is why you practice slowly at first.

One tip of advice that i have used through out the years is to use the 3 week method when wanting to correct something in your technical playing. For example i realized not long ago that i could apply less pressure with my fingers on my fretting hand and still get a good tone (and i already play with low pressure with my fretting hand) so i have been practicing that with quarter notes at 60bpm, but you can go slower than that if you want.

3 weeks is the time to form a habit, or break a habit too in some cases. And a big part of guitar is forming good habits, the 3 weeks method of extremely slow practice will help you with that. If you want perfect technique you must eradicate bad habits.
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#3
Quote by Sickz
You pull off "down towards the floor" just as if your finger was your pick. You should also be aware of your fingers movement though, that is why you practice slowly at first.

One tip of advice that i have used through out the years is to use the 3 week method when wanting to correct something in your technical playing. For example i realized not long ago that i could apply less pressure with my fingers on my fretting hand and still get a good tone (and i already play with low pressure with my fretting hand) so i have been practicing that with quarter notes at 60bpm, but you can go slower than that if you want.

3 weeks is the time to form a habit, or break a habit too in some cases. And a big part of guitar is forming good habits, the 3 weeks method of extremely slow practice will help you with that. If you want perfect technique you must eradicate bad habits.


That sounds about right. Been playing really slowly correcting a horrible habit in my right hand and it took about 3 weeks before it started feeling natural. But you didn't really answer my original question. Do I use the lower string as a "safety net" and catch my finger after I've done the pull off? Or do I avoid using the string and just use brute force of mind and extremely slow practice and learn to halt my finger from flying too far after a pull off?
#4
I've never heard of anyone using the lower string as a safety net (I assume you mean physically lower and not lower in pitch), it would require an almost vertical pulloff motion and you'd risk actually creating noise on the lower string. To me it seems the correct solution is relax the finger once the pull off is finished. (don't HALT it, just relax it and return it to a ready position)
#5
Quote by Freepower
I've never heard of anyone using the lower string as a safety net (I assume you mean physically lower and not lower in pitch), it would require an almost vertical pulloff motion and you'd risk actually creating noise on the lower string. To me it seems the correct solution is relax the finger once the pull off is finished. (don't HALT it, just relax it and return it to a ready position)


Alright, that's what I really wanted to know. I suppose one more question though: Is it possible to get a good pull off (plenty of volume) and still not let the finger move further than a centimeter from the string? I find that my fingers tend to fly about 3-4 cm from the string minimum in order to get a good pluck.
#6
It's reallllllllly hard, the reason being that the extensors (muscles that "open" the hand) are really weak compared to the tensors. If you're still "pressing" at all you'll be fighting against that, and even if you're very relaxed pulloffs are still tricky.

I think you can definitely get it smaller than 3cm! It's not worth worrying too much about exact values, keep practising until you're happy.

(disclaimer : you may end up practising forever, this isn't a bad thing )
#7
I agree don’t worry too much about the 1cm rule you have. Just try to keep your hand and wrist relaxed and avoid tensing up.

You’ll find that through practise, your fingers will naturally end up staying closer to the fretboard. I remember my third and fourth fingers especially used to fly off all over the place but you develop control over time.
#8
Don't forget, you can make a tunnel with your picking hand (even when not picking) that mutes all but one string, so this can catch the potential string noise from legato pull-off. When I play legato, the pull-off doesn't bump into the treble-string next to the target string. There's enough energy in the pull-off, even though the movement is minimal and very slightly towards the treble-string (I stop a fraction past the string being pulled off).

You can also loosely tie a piece of material around the neck (around 1st ; 2nd fret) to give you an idea how smooth the legato can be, and spur you on. But not good ultimately.

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Nov 25, 2014,