#1
As we all know, one of the most important components of being able to play fast is being able to minimize our movements, to play with efficient, economic motions. This means moving the hands as little as possible.

And, as we all know, the right amount of "hammer-on power" and "pull-off strength" in the left hand fingers is essential to having consistently smooth legato playing.

My question is - where does the line come in between

A) Moving your left hand fingers as little as possible, while
B) Raising them high enough to get a good hammer-on sound and pulling them far enough off the string to get a good pull-off sound?


Basically, the predicament is that we don't want our fingers flying all over the place, but at the same time, we don't want our blazing legato runs to sound wimpy.

which leads me to the other question...
What is the best way to develop independence and strength (so you can get the same volume for a hammer on with a fraction of the starting height) for the left hand fingers?

Quote by Roc8995
Thin necks make you play faster because guitars with thin necks sound thin and bad, and you play fast to distract people from the bad tone.
#2
i wouldn't worry about flying fingers.
from experience i've seen that at higher speeds, because needed, the fingers wont go as far from the strings as in playing slower. i've never worried about it.

exercises for legato are just chromatic stuff up and down, with plenty of stretches in the middle.
and string skipping too of course.

but don't neglect training your picking. it's very important that you train your picking for at least 75% of the time you're practicing.
#3
There is no one all encompassing answer for that sort of stuff.
It all just takes time to develop and everyone's experiences are going to vary slightly, if not dramatically.

You'll find that much like lifting weights, running or any other activity where the body gets stronger and more adapted to the motions that it is performing, it will feel like it takes less and less "effort" to accomplish the same task. In the beginning, it may feel like you have to hammer the crap out of the string to get the notes to sound loudly, but as you build strength and become more adept and efficient at the motions, it will seem easier and easier.
And in reality, it is really much less about strength per say, than it is about the proper and effiicient application of it. I've shook hands with many excellent guitar players who have very whimpy grips. It's not about raw strength at all. The problem is, that we need to learn how to execute the movements properly and that's where the endless hours of practice come in. People can offer you their timelines and their opinions as to what is the ultimate way to execute the moves "properly"...but again, in reality as humans we can't typically just take that sort of data and upload it to our systems. We need to put in the time to build the techniques for ourselves...so no one can really give you definitive answer to that sort of question, since that line that you speak of is not a static point. It is continually moving as you play more and build your skill.

As far as best practice methods....there are millions upon millions of "exercises" and programs for building technique out there....Some of the extensive training examples by Vai, Petrucci and Satch being some of the more notable ones.
Whatever route you go...putting in some good practice time with a clean tone...No effects, distortion or compression is one of the best ways to build smooth even sounding tech...be it legato or picking or whatever. Nothing to hide behind and no crutches or training wheels. If you can get good, smooth and even sounding with a plain jane, clean tone....it will all come together easier as you add in the other elements. Actually an acoustic can be a great tool as well for building raw tech, with no crutches.



Don
#4
A) Moving your left hand fingers as little as possible, while
B) Raising them high enough to get a good hammer-on sound and pulling them far enough off the string to get a good pull-off sound?


There shouldn't need to be a compromise here. The trick is to develop strong, flexible, independant fingers, capable of creating enough force in a negligible distance. To do that, take anything that requires all 4 fingers in odd combinations, and then play through them using the smallest possible motions and focusing on finger independance as a top priority.
That's it.
#5
Odd legato exercises as mentioned above, and +100000 to the suggestion of an acoustic. Don't be wimpy about the strings either, heavier strings will help build your legato technique and make bending easier when you play on your electric. I'd recommend at least a set of 12s. The acoustic will also force you to play cleaner, since there's no distortion to hide mistakes.
EDIT: Oh yeah - practice, practice, practice. It takes time. Don't get discouraged, though.
Last edited by Nightfyre at Sep 8, 2008,
#6
Quote by thefoldarsoldar

A) Moving your left hand fingers as little as possible, while
B) Raising them high enough to get a good hammer-on sound and pulling them far enough off the string to get a good pull-off sound?


I have the perfect example for this.
Think of the movie Kill Bill, where she had to punch a block of wood at close range and have the impact as strong, if not stronger than her full arm punch. Its the same with your fingers, if you train them to be strong in a small motion, they will be just as strong if not stronger (because you don't waste energy on the large movement) than flapping fingers.
Originally posted by TapMaster
If you break a JEM you know your going to go to hell when you die

Only member of the 'This is too immature for me' club.
#7
Quote by public property
I have the perfect example for this.
Think of the movie Kill Bill, where she had to punch a block of wood at close range and have the impact as strong, if not stronger than her full arm punch. Its the same with your fingers, if you train them to be strong in a small motion, they will be just as strong if not stronger (because you don't waste energy on the large movement) than flapping fingers.
The perfect example would have been Bruce Lee's one inch punch as opposed to a fictional character in a movie who regularly performs impossible feats that are a key part of the movies magic.
Si
#8
Not everyone knows bruce lee does that. Most people have seen kill bill. The technique works just the same as it does in the movie, so why does it matter?
Especially since you haven't really contributed to the thread.
Originally posted by TapMaster
If you break a JEM you know your going to go to hell when you die

Only member of the 'This is too immature for me' club.
#9
Neither hammer on or pull off requires any excessive amount of finger strength.
It's accuracy and coordination. If you lack in the those areas, the tendency will
be to pound your way through them and think you need a lot of strength.
Simply trying to build strength won't get you that far.
#10
Quote by edg
Neither hammer on or pull off requires any excessive amount of finger strength.
It's accuracy and coordination. If you lack in the those areas, the tendency will
be to pound your way through them and think you need a lot of strength.
Simply trying to build strength won't get you that far.


Totally. Thatsone of the reasons I hate when I hear people talk about using those finger grip things to strengthen their fingers. Sure it may or may not help. But the point is being accurate and efficent not having fingers that could shatter the fretbaord..
Andy