How To Sound Smoother In Simple Steps. Part 2

author: LeoKisomma date: 01/17/2011 category: guitar techniques

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Right, then. As I explained in the first part of this lesson, most "sharp" sounds coming from your guitar are implemented by your plucking hand. This is because the volume produced is always going to be slightly higher with this hand as you have your whole hand behind the movements, even when you're finger or hybrid picking your hand adds some amount of force to you're plucking. When you're fretting the notes(hammering-on or pulling-off) you're only able to use the muscles in your fingers which produces slightly less volume. Don't think this means you're quieter if you're smoother, the pickups in your guitar take care of that and the muscles in your fingers can get to produce just as much volume in time. The important thing to remember is that when plucking, the string is momentarily silenced before a note sounds. Using legato makes this gap much less noticeable, and thereby making you sound smoother. Right, that's the boring bit over with, now lets get onto some techniques shall we? The first techniques I'll go into are hammer-ons and pull offs, below should be some exercises on various strings of you guitar involving hammer-ons and pull-offs. A hammer on is where you literally hammer-on your finger(s) onto a particular fret on a particular string to get a particular note. This can be done with or without sounding a note with your plucking hand first. A pull off is where you remove your finger from a string to sound a note on a lower fret(this can be either a fretted note or an open string). Ideally you should be able to sound a note produced by a pull-off without having to pluck the string first, otherwise the note may sound muffled or quiet. This does take practice so don't get disheartened, the main thing to focus on is sort of twanging the sting with your finger as you pull it off the string. Tab key: 1,2,3,4,etc = pluck the guitar string while your finger on the fret numbered h9 = hammer on your finger onto the fret numbered p7 = pull off your finger to sound a note while your other finger(which is presumably further down the fretboard unless you're sounding an open string) frets the string on the fret numbered.
The left side of this exercise I've written where timing doesn't matter. Just follow the notes on each individual string one at a time. It's also not written as a big chord, each string should have the notes on it played one at a time. These are exercises and not actually a full song so don't think that this applies to all tabs, just this one. The right hand side shows some more advanced legato runs/licks. Same story there. Also, don't be afraid to try out the notes I've written on different strings if you think they sound better. I've just given you some suggestions. It's your fingers that are doing the work. Now I'll explain slides. A slide is where you pluck a note/hammer-on a note/pull-off a note/sound a chord then slide your finger(s) up or down the fretboard until you reach the desired fret(s). This generally gives a sort of "whoosh" sound whether over driven or not, and is a brilliant way to make you guitar playing sound much more liquid as it is a method of ignoring the "one note at a time" concept. It lets you forget that your guitar is fretted. A slide is generally shown by a / meaning slide up or a \ meaning slide down.
Here is a simple run that musicians will recognize as part of the e minor pentatonic scale, but more importantly it's an easy to remember pattern for beginners to learn when trying out a new technique. Have a go to see if sliding works for you. Now I would go into "true legato" and "right hand muted legato" but they are advanced techniques and I'll put them in the next lesson so that people can at least get a feel for legato before getting frightened by all the fireworks. Hope it goes smoothly guys!
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