Welcome! Today we’re going to look at a simple Legato lick to help ‘power-up’ our playing. The aim is to improve our dexterity, finger strength and stamina.
In traditional musical notation “Legato” means to play or sing notes smoothly transitioning from one to the next with no gaps in between. (The opposite of this would be Staccato, where you cut off each note and have a brief silence before the next note.
In relation to guitar however, we use the term Legato to refer to “Hammer-Ons” and Pull-Offs”. This involves picking a note and then quickly pressing down the next finger to play the next note, or quickly lifting a finger to allow a lower note to ring out (See the video below).
Legato Lick Tab:
Check out the tab below and then we’ll have a look at what is going on with the lick:
First Bar – Legato:
We’re in the key of E Major and we’re starting from the 7th note of the scale. This note (D#) is picked. Next we hammer-on to the Root note of the key and then immediately hammer-on to the 2nd (E and F#). So far we’ve played 3 notes but only picked the first one.
On the next string we’re going to pick the 3rd note of the key (G#). Then continue ascending the scale hammering on to the 4th and 5th (A and B). After hammering the 5th of the scale we pull-off to the 4th and then pull off again to the 3rd. We’ve now played 5 notes with just one pick.
The next part involves some picking. I’ve marked the down and up strokes on the tab. However feel free to pick this part in whatever way feels most natural. First we’re playing the 2nd again on the A string, followed by the 3rd on the D string then Root note followed by the 2nd on the A string. Finally we pick the 7th note of the key (Below the Root note) and hammer on to the Root and then 2nd, then pull off again back to the root and then back to the 7th.
Second Bar – Tap:
To finish the lick we tap the 5th of the key with our middle finger on our picking hand, this is at the 14th fret A string, then pull off back to the Root note. This gives us a nice V-I ending.
Other things to try:
You can experiment with tapping different notes instead of the 5th. This will help you get a feel for how different notes resolve (Or don’t resolve) to each other. If you’re feeling adventurous you could try Tapping the 5th, then 6th of the key. Tap the 14th fret, A string with your middle finger. Next tap the 6th with your ring finger (16th fret, A string).
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