In this article I am going to explain the technique that I often use in improvisations playing legato on one or more strings and adding tapped notes same as notes played with legato technique. You can achieve some great and speedy effects this way, but you can use it in slow solos it both sounds great, and it isn't so demanding technique!
2. Building the strenght of your left hand
Legato technique is a way of playing scales without actually picking strings or picking very few notes (for accentual purposes). This way the phrases played get more fluidity. To be able to play legato technique, you must have strong left hand fingers. I most often used following licks and shapes (fig. 1 fig. 5) and their improvised variations to build up the strenght.
Also play those licks on as much octaves as possible, focusing mostly on the clarity of notes and the flow of scales. Lowest notes are hardest to play on this technique because it takes wide strenching to make them sound clear. Also make sure your legato playing is well heard when you play without distortion.
When I was learning legato technique, I often felt pain in my left fist. Every guitarist who I've heard talking about legato playing told that you shouldn't do what hurts, which is worth for all other techniques, too. Therefore, I played legato without stopping for a few seconds or minutes (depends how strong or warmed up my hand already was) until it started to hurt, and then I stopped for a few seconds. After my hand got 'refreshed' I repeated the process again and again. Practicing for just few hours a day will let you overcome this technique within few weeks, and the pain will probably not appear again if you practice regularly.
4. Building the strenght of your right hand
In this section I'll show a few ways to make tapped notes sound clear and their tone full.
First examples (fig. 6 and fig. 7) is tapping the notes on the same string, but an octave higher than the notes you play with your left hand. If you do this properly, you will hear a tapping harmonic slightly appearing if you tap with your middle finger. You probably won't be able to fully induce tap harmonic this way. You can do it if you hit a higher note with your index finger of your right hand.
In second example (fig. 8) you play a tone (in this case it is A) with your left hand, and then you play it with your tapping finger. It should have same sustain. If you want to add vibrato to your tapping version of this exercise, do the vibrato with your left hand finger added somewhere lower than the note you play with your tapping finger on the same string.
In third example (fig. 9) you hold your left hand finger on B note and tap and slide with your tapping finger. This kind of exercises will enstrenghten your tapping finger hammer-off a lot!
5. Tapping with legato
Finally, here I'll show you combinations of legato and tapping.
In first exercises (fig. 10-fig. 13) you have A minor scale and you tap same notes you play legato. Listen to examples to hear the differences. This is a great thing to incorporate in improvisations.
In second exercise (fig. 13) we've got linear one-string A minor descending lick and in third exercise (fig. 14) we've got a F# minor lick from my song 'Shine', which is good example of mixing slides, legato and tapping into one-string runs.
In fourth exercise (fig. 15) we've got a 2 string A minor lick.
In fifth and sixth exercises (fig. 16 - 17) I play A minor legato along with sliding with tapping finger.
Before I actually started to work on that technique, I always somehow avoided playing same notes in a row. But as you can now see, there are many options that lie within repeating certain notes in certain place, to get some different rythmic pattern in tapping technique.
Try to see those examples not only as a way to improve your technique, but a 'base' where you could build your own soloing ideas on. Improvise with those techniques and try to play them in all keys and modes. If you will take those exercises only as they are, you won't be able to get the most out of them. So turn on your sense for experimentation and your imagination!
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