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Storm Stenvold >> Developing Speed >>
lesson topic


ron: hiteach

Teacher: Hi Ron. Hi everyone.

Ginger: hi teach

david: hello teacher

Teacher: Thanks for tuning in our 'continuing story' on speed techniques.

Teacher: Tonight, 'Legato Techniques'. Or 'can you play with one hand tied behind your back'

ron: :)

Teacher: Legato techniques are a favorite for their smooth sound. And the speed comes pretty quickly with practice. That is nice too

Teacher: Legato technique is the use of the left, or fretting, hand to produce notes without additional pick attacks.

Teacher: There are three fundamental techniques.

Teacher: The 'hammer-on' is achieved be slamming, or hammering, down a left-hand finger onto the fretboard so the the note to be played rings without being picked.

ViceRoy: Hello, did I miss anything?

Teacher: The 'pull-off' is just the opposite: two notes are fingered simultaneously with the left hand, then the finger on the higher note pullos off the string so that the lower note rings without being picked.

Support: the lesson just started

Teacher: And the 'trill' is the continuous and rapid alternation between the two.

david: ok

Teacher: New to anyone? I have a tab and a video clip coming.



Teacher: 'Smooth' and 'flowing' are words used to describe the desired sound

hammer-on pull-off trill


Teacher: A fair amount of left hand strength is involved in these techniques.

Teacher: But proper form and finger independence will take you farther than just having 'muscles'

Teacher: A couple of good drills to work on these points are coming. The first is a variation of an exercise from our first speed lesson.

four finger exercise


Teacher: And a video clip to show proper form. This uses all four finger on each string picking only the first note on each string, then hammer-ons or pull-off for the successive notes on each string.

Teacher: Take this slow. Keep an even tempo and try to have to volume of the notes remain consistent. Very important.



ed: hammers are easier than pulls

Teacher: I will send a jam track in a minute as well to keep things lively.

GusGus: Before I got it, the string I did the pull offs always bended, so the note wasn�t the note I wanted to play

Teacher: When pulling off, come slight down off the string to give it a bit more momentum.

Teacher: Yeah, be careful to place the lower fret finger ahead of the pulloff and don't let it move causing a string bend.

Teacher: The second drill, and it has dozens of possible variations on the form is the 'six minute trill drill'

Teacher: This asks you to work on the six different finger combinations possible on any pull-off, hammer-on or trill.

Teacher: The combinations being fingers 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 2-3, 2-4 and last, but not least, 3-4.

trill drill


Teacher: Now the tab coming shows a short excerpt of each combination. These really should be 'rolled' over and over to strengthen the fingers and sharpen technique.



Teacher: I am sending an audio clip of the first combination. Speed is not as important at first as clarity. And even tempos for each repetition.

Teacher: A fun 'test' is to try each finger combination for a minute. Looking at a clock, a minute may never have seemed so long.

trill drill #2


Teacher: This can be moved to other strings and positions.

Teacher: The next tab shows a variation of the 'trill drill'. This time, just hammer-ons, moving string to string. Then moving up a position after crossing the neck.

Teacher: Try taking this up to the 12th position and back down for a great 'workout'

Teacher: Now some licks using these techniques.

pentatonic trill


Teacher: Since these are two note combinations we'll use these in some pentatonic patterns first. This first phrase could be viewed as in the E minor pentatonic



Teacher: Here is a jam track that vamps in E. A lot of the phrases shown in this lesson will work over this track. Be sure to move the ideas to different keys and scales, though

Teacher: Here is the same trill phrase moved around in the same pentatonic scale.

pentatonic trills


Teacher: Let me resend the tab. It was a bit big for the screen.

pentatonic trills


Teacher: Before I get too much further, let me mention an important point: muting.

ron: yes

Teacher: If you catch your left hand fingers against the other strings as you execute your legato you can end up with anoying extra notes or a muddy sound

Teacher: Unless you silence them, which is generally done with both hands working on this problem together.

bluesman: i have that problem two hand tapping

Teacher: If you are on the low E, the left hand index finger can rest against the lighter strings to stop them from ringing out.

Teacher: Two handed or one, both hands need to help with this problem.

bluesman: my right hand is the problem

Teacher: On the lighter strings, your first finger can't cover them all. Perhaps the tip of the finger can be used to mute the adjacent string.

GusGus: But, like when Angus Young playes Thunderstruck, he uses one hand in the beginning, aint that also the pickups that make others strings quiet?

Teacher: But the right hand, usually the side or palm, must help on the heavier string at that point.

Teacher: He uses one hand in the video. I think he is picking every other or fourth note on the recording. So both hands help.

GusGus: Ok ;)

Teacher: Looks cooler with one hand!

Teacher: But noisier.

GusGus: hehe yes it does

ed: haha

Teacher: OK. Some other ideas for two note combinations. Single string riffs or vertical riffs.

bluesman: soon maybe you will conduct a class on tapping

Teacher: Staying on the same string but changing positions. Yeah, tapping next week I'm planning. Kind of legato to the nth power.

bluesman: cool i will be here

single string trill drill


Teacher: Great. Should be fun.

Teacher: This lick is in the A major scale and will work nicely over the jam track. Staying all on the 3rd string. Being able to visualize patterns this way will help in tapping licks, too.

trills with slides


Teacher: The next phrase incorporates a slide to change positions. Moving in a descending pattern now.

ed: Hendrix sounding

GusGus: or Page

muting exercise


Teacher: Yep. Try on different strings, again. Or Eddie VH

Teacher: Here is a exercise that is a good one for working on your muting technique. I had meant to send it earlier and didn't want to leave it out. Changing strings, keep the notes from ringing out 'over' each other. Actually works over the track in E.

Teacher: Now incorporating another string with the legato. These are some of the stock 'speedy' licks for blues, rock, country, jazz, etc.

trill + added note




Teacher: This phrase is in the B minor pentatonic scale. Works nicely over the track in E, a cool substitution.

Teacher: Move it to find where else it will work. Or move it, again, through the scale.

trill + added note above


Teacher: A variation, with the added note on the lighter string above the trill.

GusGus: That is a bit harder, for only moving 2 fingers, keeping the tempo

two string descending


Teacher: Notice in the fingering that you might extend the third finger an extra fret. The strong finger may make this easie
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