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August Issue
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Fretboard Workshop: How to Improve Your Legato Technique

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The lick in Fig. 4 really helped me stretch out my fretting hand. Check out how the notes repeat when moving from one string to the next. This is a valuable perk to becoming comfortable with stretching your patterns out. The doubling effect emulates the false-fingering techniques a saxophonist might use.

The phrase in Fig. 5 is based on a pattern you probably are already familiar with. The main point here is to focus on the fingerings. You’ll notice that now we’re using all four fingers as we move across the neck. As always, this example is probably harder to play at slower tempos. I have many students who can rip through this lick at a frantic pace, but we want to milk every bit out of each note. Practice it over slower grooves to build up strength and control.

We incorporate some slides into the mix in Fig. 6. For this example, we’ll use the middle finger for all the slides. Each one will move you into a new position. Finally, we have Fig. 7, which is a little more involved.

Pay special attention and experiment with different fingerings—this can be the key to getting your legato phrasing to sound right. Be curious and creative when you practice and don’t be afraid to change the rhythm or accent different notes in the phrase in order to get more mileage out of these examples. They can open many doors to creatively maneuver around the fretboard.

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