Legato

This week we'll do a technique/style that's covered a lot on the Internet, but is always touched on very lightly. The technique we're going to be covering is a favourite of musicians such as Hendrix and Satriani. This technique is legato.

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This week we'll do a technique/style that's covered a lot on the Internet, but is always touched on very lightly. Full of musical terms and breif explanations with hardly any practical excercises in sight. The technique we're going to be covering is a favourite of musicians such as Hendrix and Satriani. This technique is legato. For those unfamiliar with the term, learn your theory! Alright alright we'll define it here. Legato means to play smoothly, so that each note contains no pause between them. This is accomplished on a string instrument using slurs (wich we defined last week as being hammer ons and pull offs) and slides. One of the best examples of heavy use of legato on guitar is the song "Flying In a Blue Dream" by Joe Satriani. We'll start of extremely simple for the first example. We'll play the C major scale in legato.
D|-----------------9/10--
A|---------8h10h12-------
E|-8h10h12---------------


The we can go back

D|-10p9p7-------------------
A|--------10p8p7------------
E|---------------10p8p7/8---
As with any excersise play it slow and work your way up. You want each note to be smooth and clear. That's the basic idea behind legato on the guitar right there. We'll do several more excercises to get the feel of some of the things we can do. We don't have to do triplets. Here's an example of quadruplets and quintuplets:
E|--10h12p13p12p10--12h13h15h17----
- Garett Spencley (http://www.mp3.com/garett_spencley)

35 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    The_New_Slash
    Dam!! my fingers arent long enough to play 1h3h5 and 3h5h7 fast enough!! gotta do some serious growing till tomorrow
    TwistedLogic
    Too short for me. It would have been nice to have a couple more exercises and examples of when it is good to use legato as a good effect in songs.
    Vincentcrow
    I read this and I found it great, but I differ with you in one thing... (I just did the copy-paste thing, for I had already written this before): Everything in this lesson seems fine enough, except for one little thingy... "LEGATO" doesnt mean "smooth" dude... Legato is the italian word for "linking" or "bounding", and as the word meaning says, Legato is nothing else but linking/bounding notes within themselves. This actually makes the notes sound "smooth" as you say, so youre not quite THAT lost, but its not exactly the purpose. One can learn a lot of little things like this by actually studying in a music conservatory... But as I just said, everything else, Im fine with! Rock on =)
    I_Dont_Know
    you know whats really cool? you know fingertapping and how you're supposed to use your finger and play along the fret board? play that thing up there but pick anynote on e across the fret board and taht note isn't heard at all really but it just accents the sound, as if it's not taking control and adding a note just adding a high pitch to the note it's really cool
    dethmetalord
    M3TALMADNE55 wrote: great lesson but why is the second excersise strech so bloody far
    keep on stretching then!!!
    Izzy_Bryce
    StuartR wrote: I also need to work on my legato but im not really a fan of it, i like to pick.
    see im the opposite lol. id love to do this. i saw a legato on Mr. Fastfinger, my jaw dropped.
    DieYouBastard
    For that first riff... Should I be using my first, third, and fourth fingers, or my first, second and fourth fingers?
    Gord@k
    This is one of those techniques that seem realy easy at first but is a pain to really master.
    hendrixjam
    gd lesson. make sure you practise hammer-ons with all your fingers, and if you wanna be flashy, with your hand over the top of the neck!
    ManoDelDiablo
    If you need a song to practice legato, "Always with me, Always with you" by Satch has some really great lines in it.
    les_paul_man
    to thesimo, hammer on and pull off is a different lesson, read that one to get this sh*t down
    Spanner
    Cool stuff, check out this exercise E|1h2h3h4p3p2p1-s-2h3h4h5p4p3p2-s etc.. Shift that pattern down to the twelfth fret and back with only one pick (the first note) the rest is all legato
    ZePPeHead666
    ***in right on! its midnihgt and ive discovered this sight for the first time. Ive been playin guitar for about 4 years off and on but in the past year ive gotten fairly serious and this sight litterally is a god sent. who ever keeps this site free diserves a ***in guitar humanatarian award!
    insanity101
    Great lesson, but for the new slash, u might want to get some foam hands to play faster and have bigger hands!lol!!!..
    MuchoPasta
    I learned bout legato in my guitar classes and I had forgotten what it was....hehehe, this cleared it up great.
    chunkychewie
    I need to work on my legato playing. Lately, I've just been alternate picking everything. Slurs sound great, especially if your playing a solo entirely with slurs. It sounds almost like an effect when you listen to someone doing it really fast. You can hear players like Satriani and Dimebad Darell do them all of the time.
    StuartR
    I also need to work on my legato but im not really a fan of it, i like to pick.
    DK-Guitarist
    lol... nice quote
    you realize since your screen name does have greenday in it you really have no place to be calling anyone gay
    Nice article btw...
    heartbreaker13
    I can do all of the actuall techniques i just cant find a nice long bit of legato to practice on as in some thing that sounds good not just 1h2h3h4p3p2p1 that kinda thing, any suggestions??
    ironkai666
    Nice lesson. Im a newbie and i understood and was able to do them all. Its looks pretty hard but its quite easy aslong as u hammer on and over with speed. Its kinda like tapping it when u hammer on that lets the legato continue to flow.
    thesimo
    i dont think he explained it very well, i still duno how to actually play this. pick the first note and hammer on the rest? :/ shoulda explained that i think
    Aaron120
    legato is a great way to quicken your fingers and strengthen the ones you don't normally use. thanks for the great examples.
    deadside666
    yeah this is a cool lesson im not rele into sheddin when i play and make my own songs in my band but im gonna learn it neway