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…
OK. Now let's take a look at the practice strategy…
Strategy: Exaggerate The Difficulty
This practice strategy involves doing the following three steps…
- Finding out the hardest bit of the legato exercise.
- 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!
- 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
- The first time this difficulty occurs is when you have to pull-off with your 4th finger to your 3rd
- The second time the difficulty happens is when you have to pull-off with your 4th finger to your 2nd
Legato Exercise 1:
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
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
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
- 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.
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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