Legato Playing – Step by Step Technique Part II

So far in this series, we have facilitated a solid foundation in terms of how the fingers ought to behave when playing with this technique: Especially the control over fingers used solely for a pull-off – keeping them close to the strings and relaxed at the same time – as well as rhythmic independence are tough and quite a bit of work to get established at first.

To move on, let’s train this foundation a bit more but focus predominantly on the development of riffs and applications in this idiom.

Example 5a
Example 5b
Example 5c
Example 5d

Exercises 5a through 5d need to be executed once again with the same consideration to detail as described in exercises 1 through 4 (described in the first part of this series). Take your time and add this exercise to the first four as part of a routine to get through. Notice how the fingering 1-2-4 stays constant on string 3 and how only the one note played on the second string changes with each exercise. The same concept can be applied to different fingerings: Get creative!

Example 6
Example 6 coninued

The following Exercise 6 is tricky in that we have a group of four notes on each string (at first played in hammer-ons with each first note picked; on the way down in pull-offs) but played in triplets. Definitely use a metronome at first, slowly increasing the tempo over a few days or weeks. You should soon notice how the picked notes, emphasized notes if you will, fall on changing parts of the triplet pulse.

Riffs 1b though 1g pick up at the last installment’s riff 1 by taking the same phrase and its approach to other positions while staying in the same key: A-major/F#-minor.

Riff 1b
Riff 1c
Riff 1d
Riff 1e
Riff 1f
Riff 1g

The following Riff 2 will direct us into changing positions. For simplicity’s sake, we will stick with the key of F#-minor. However everyone should transfer the riffs learned in these columns to as many keys as possible, maybe simply by turning on the radio, then figuring out the key of the currently playing song and going for it with these lines.

Riff 2
Riff 2 continued

Make sure to also move down the neck once this is figured out. It is just as easy and the slide should be executed with the first finger.

We will get into variations of Riff 2 as well as a bit more of preparatory foundation exercises in the next installment. Until then, have a great time with it.