Legato Technique For Guitar - Lesson 2

In this guitar lesson I'll show you a really useful practice strategy to get the most benefit from the legato exercise that we looked at in the previous legato technique lesson.

But before we do that, let's check out the exercise from the previous lesson again to refresh your memory…

Legato Technique - Exercise 1

OK. Now let's take a look at the practice strategy…

Legato Practice Strategy: Exaggerate The Difficulty

This practice strategy involves doing the following three steps…

  1. Finding out the hardest bit of the legato exercise.
  2. Creating a variation of the exercise to exaggerate that hardest bit. In other words, we want to create a new exercise that is even harder than the previous one. This means that when you go back to the easier version it will seem like a piece of cake!
  3. Practice the new variation of the exercise like a maniac.

So let's take a look at an example to see how this works…

For this example we are going to assume that the hardest bit of the exercise is anytime you have to do a pull-off with your 4th finger to another finger. (And to be honest, that's the hardest bit of the exercise for me!). If you check out the TAB below you can see that I've drawn boxes around the parts where this difficulty happens…

  • The first time this difficulty occurs is when you have to pull-off with your 4th finger to your 3rd finger.
  • The second time the difficulty happens is when you have to pull-off with your 4th finger to your 2nd finger.

Legato Exercise 1:

Legato Exercise 1 - Hard Bits Boxed

We've now highlighted the hardest bits of the exercise. So how do we exaggerate the difficulty?

Well, one very convenient way is to simply repeat the difficulty. And that's exactly what we'll do now…

Variation Of Legato Exercise 1: Difficulty Exaggerated

Legato Technique - Exercise 2

Notice in the TAB above that you now have to do the hard bit twice before moving on to the next bit of the exercise. And if you now play through the new version of the exercise a few times you'll probably notice that it makes the exercise significantly harder to play quickly. Well…at least it does for me! :-) 

Once you've invested some time practicing the new exercise, then what would be the next logical step?

If you just said "combine the two exercises" then you're on the same wavelength as me! That's what I often do. I combine the easier and harder versions of the exercise into one "mega-legato-exercise". Please check out the exercise below to see an example of how I might do this…

Mega-Legato-Exercise: Easy And Hard Versions of Exercise 1 Joined Together

Legato Technique - Ex 1 and Ex 2

You may notice by looking above that I've now joined the two exercises together. Also notice that I have suggested some timing to you (check out the music above the TAB). If you don't read music, then here's the timing you need to use…

  • Play the easy version of the exercise using eighth-note triplets. (This means that you need to play the exercise using three evenly spaced notes per click of your metronome).
  • Play the harder version of the exercise using sixteenth notes. (This means that you have to play this exercise using four evenly spaced notes per click of your metronome).

One of the huge advantages of joining the two versions of the exercise together in this way is that it will help your legato timing tremendously. It is very challenging for many guitarists to seamlessly change from eighth-note triplets to sixteenth notes. This means that mastering the rhythmic challenge of this exercise will help not only your legato technique but also your overall guitar playing.

Your Homework

Be sure to do the following before moving onto the next legato technique lesson…

  • Memorize and practice the harder variation of Legato Exercise 1. Once you can play this comfortably then move onto this…
  • Memorize and practice the Mega-Legato-Exercise. I recommend setting a speed goal that you work towards. Keep on practicing the exercise every day until you reach the speed goal. What speed goal should you choose? It all depends on your current level. Obviously the more advanced you are, the more challenging the speed goal needs to be.

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