How to Play Notes Legato with Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, and Slides

Play notes legato with hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides. Play through today’s examples from the Alex de Grassi Fingerstyle Guitar Method to hear the difference once legato embellishments are added.

Hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides provide a great way to play notes legato, or connected to one another. They can also be used to con­nect grace notes to the primary notes of a musical line. These legato techniques can also be considered an articulation in themselves—especially when they are used to embellish a musical phrase.

The melody in Example 2 is very plain, consisting of only half notes and quarter notes. Play it through a few times, using an alternating i–m pattern for the picking hand, and reversing the pattern to m–i on the repeat. In Example 3, embellishments have been added using hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides to create a more textured and articulated melody with a greater sense of movement and rhythm. Note that the fretting-hand fin­gering has changed in measures 5 and 6 to accommodate the slide, moving the hand into second position.

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