Allen Hinds: Legato Part 3

For his third in­stal­ment, Allen shows how slide and pull-off com­bi­na­tions can be de­vel­oped and trans­ferred be­tween po­si­tions, scales and shapes on the fret­board. Ja­cob Quist­gaard guides us through the de­tails.

Guitar Techniques - - Lesson: Video -

Fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ing a strong legato tech­nique au­to­mat­i­cally puts you in line for a great list of ben­e­fits. Im­proved tone, more fa­cil­ity for gain­ing speed and gen­eral phras­ing flu­id­ity are just a few of these. Since it’s mainly down to the strength and con­trol of your fret­ting hand, let’s con­tinue ex­plor­ing var­i­ous ways of im­prov­ing our legato tech­nique.

Allen Hinds: “Years ago when I at­tended mu­sic school in Los Angeles, I had the good for­tune to sit and play ev­ery day with Scott Hen­der­son. This was back be­fore Scott was bran­dish­ing a wang bar to the ex­tent that he does now. I no­ticed he would gen­er­ate a vi­brato like a violinist might. That is, squeez­ing the note and pulling the string sharp and flat be­tween the frets - to­wards the bridge and then the head­stock, thus cre­at­ing a vi­brato that moves above and be­low the fun­da­men­tal pitch (one thing that drives me nuts is hear­ing a fast vi­brato that only pulls the pitch sharp). Any­way, I have found that this ap­proach to vi­brato is a great ba­sic ex­er­cise and can it­self de­velop strength in your fret­ting hand.”

Apart from tak­ing your time with this vi­brato ex­er­cise – mak­ing sure your vi­brato is suit­ably slow and Zen-like to start with - an­other great way to strengthen your fret­ting hand is to sim­ply give up pick­ing any notes. Just let­ting your fret­ting hand sound the notes, try­ing to al­ways make them come out nice and clear, con­sti­tutes a pow­er­ful ex­er­cise in it­self. Again, I must stress that this is best done very slowly and ac­cu­rately. I would rec­om­mend play­ing through some fa­mil­iar scales and pat­terns in this fash­ion at first, prefer­ably in time at a nice, slow tempo, so you can ‘code in’ great tech­nique from the start - we don’t want to learn bad habits.

The ex­am­ples we will ex­plore this month are ex­tended legato-based pat­terns, from which we will get the max­i­mum amount of mileage by trans­fer­ring them to dif­fer­ent po­si­tions and points in the scale, and by mov­ing the same geo­met­ric shape be­tween po­si­tions on the fret­board. All the ex­am­ples are based on D Mixoly­dian mode (D E F# G A B C).

How­ever, even though we are us­ing just one scale, it’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand that you can move the licks and pat­terns be­tween any scale shapes, not nec­es­sar­ily even note for note – or step for step – by sim­ply trans­fer­ring the gen­eral idea and se­quence of notes. You might well hear these same ideas played in Do­rian mode, us­ing the melodic mi­nor scale or Su­per­locrian mode. You can get a lot of mileage out of one sin­gle lick if you take your time to get cre­ative with it.

It’s also im­por­tant to bear in mind - as Allen is at pains to point out – that these pat­terns are just ex­er­cises. It’s your job to take the ideas fur­ther and de­velop them through your own prac­tice and ef­fort, thus mak­ing them your own in the process.

The licks feel very dif­fer­ent depend­ing on which po­si­tion you play them in, so ex­plore mov­ing them around the fret­board and through lots of dif­fer­ent scales. You are bound to find some en­tirely new an­gles that could add a whole new di­men­sion to your play­ing.

Use your imag­i­na­tion. These are only ex­er­cises – it’s up to you to use that right side of your brain and get cre­ative. Allen Hinds

Allen Hinds with an­other tasty Les Paul model

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