Approaching Holdsworth.....

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  1. jazzbum

    So, I'm really intent on working on my legato playing. I am currently not satisfied with the stark difference in tone/time between my slurred passages and my picked passages. I figured checking out some Holdsworth might give me some insight into how to develop a consistency of sound within a picked/slurred line. Any ideas about where to start with his massive technique? I am currently working through Kurt's solo on Zhivago from the NPR concert to get a taste. My goal really is to be able to make my legato lines sound as solid as my picked lines. Any other players to check out would be great too. :)

  2. Poparad

    I've been working on this a lot for the past two years, and for a lot of the same reasons. I felt my legato was rhythmically uneven (which I've later discovered was also impacting my picking coordination at faster speeds). I really like Holdsworth, and I also like how Kurt has adapted that into his own playing. Those two very different sounds made me realize how versatile and helpful the technique can be for faster lines.

    So first of all, working on your three note per string scale patterns will be a huge help. They lend themselves to legato playing much more than CAGED patterns.

    Here's a simple scale exercise that has helped the evenness in my fretting hand, as well as controlling the volume of my pick vs. slurring:

    Take any scale, 3 notes per string, and only pick once per string. Say you start on the 1st note of a major scale, so the numbers 1, 2, 3, etc are notes of the scale:

    | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 | 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 | 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 | 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 | 13 12.... etc.

  3. jazzbum

    Sweet Exercise. Thanks man! That is exactly what I was looking for. Now, to return to those 3 note per string scales I loathed so much as a youth, oh how naive I was.

  4. Basile865

    This video helped shed some light on legato for me...........its not exactly spoon fed to you, its mostly this guy's awesome playing but there are little things here and there that might help.

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Flash Video


    Apparently this guys name is Marshall Harrison. He seems to be a really accomplished player - a bit too much on the metal side for me but he has a lot going on melodically and theres information to mine there.

  5. Poparad

    That guy in the video definitely has some great technique, but I don't think he really knows what he's talking about with the Chopin thing. It almost sounds like a token "insert classical composer here" for credibility comment. Legato certain existed long before Chopin, and piano is one of the worst instruments to site for legate due to the fact that every note is separately articulated by the instrument. Unless he was really intending to specify that legato is about an even smoothness between all notes, whether articulated or slurred, which that I agree with.


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