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Tutorial - Legato

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Legato - Introduction and Hammer On Practice

Robert Mussatti 91 lessons

This lesson will cover one of my favorite techniques along side alternate picking, which is legato. This technique has been favored by a lot of different players, especially jazz/fusion players like Allan Holdsworth and Brett Garsed who use legato to emulate the sounds of famous horn players.

Now, the legato technique is composed of 3 different techniques: Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs and Legato Fret-Hand Slides and I will be going over each technique individually and then put them all together into different licks that you can use in your playing.

The first technique which we will go through is your Hammer-On playing. What you really want to focus on is not putting too much pressure on the fretboard. Ask yourself "Where is the most economical place on the fretboard I can put my fingers?" For most people, this is right along the edge of the fret wire. You don't want to keep your finger in the middle of the fret or keep it on the fret wire itself. Also, be sure that you are using the tips of your fingers and not the fleshy part of your fingers.

The below example is a good way to help with this technique. This is what is commonly called a "Nonsense Pattern" because with these, you don't have to think about what key you're in or what scale you are using. I have written it out in a triplet pattern below. Remember that you are only picking the first beat of every Triplet and hammering-on the 2nd and 3rd beats, which would be the "and uh" of this pattern. Make sure you play this pattern up to the 12th fret and back down the neck. I also have included some variations of this pattern that you can work on as well to strengthen all your fingers. Make sure that you are using your pinky as much as possible when using this and other exercises for this technique. Your pinky is the most neglected finger of your left hand, so I want you to start using it if you are just keeping it tucked in while you are playing.

In part 2, we will go over some Pull-Off exercises and some variations on that as well. See you then!

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