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Thread: legato vs alt. picking

  1. #1
    Registered User satch_master's Avatar
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    legato vs alt. picking

    i know players like satch(god) and Ritchie Kotzen favour legato technique to shred fast lines and players like malmsteen favour alternate picking to do the same. but really what advantages does one have over the other? i think its just a matter of preference and playing styles. for me alternate picking feels alot more natural and easier and my legato definatly needs some work if i wanna get some satch songs nailed. the only difference i can really see is that if you have a weak picking hand legato might save your *** a few times but if u wanna play clean and crisp it might be harder with legato because the notes wont be as loud. what do you tend to use more and what do you prefer? comments?

  2. #2
    SteveH
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    I use both.

    Picking each note defines each note and adds texture to the phrase.
    Legato is much more fluid sounding, from my perspective I tend to
    hear the individual notes less and the shape and direction of the
    phrase more when I use legato.

    Here's an old exercise that I used to do, just alternating slurring and
    picking over a simple phrase. (From the sounds of it, maybe I should
    start working on it again, but you get the idea)

    I'm using fingerstyle here, but you'd get a similar effect using a pick.

    Regards

    Steve
    Attached Files Attached Files

  3. #3
    I am not very nice DemonSorcerer's Avatar
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    Steve's right...

    It all depends on what YOU wanna hear, kiddo...i also use both techniques, but i'm in love with the legato sound...most fusion guitarists play this way, using legato...and since i love fusion...go figure!! but i also love metal, and metalheads use atnerate picking...so i basically had to learn both techniques...which is good.

    David

  4. #4
    Registered User satch_master's Avatar
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    yeah thanks guys. hey stevo you really defined it spot on about the difference between the two and i thought that was an awesome way to decribe each technique. Also i love your exercise how you repeat the lick but with both alt and legato technique.

    And they use legato more in fusion and alt picking in metal.well u learn something new every day... who are some good fusion players? i know holdsworth, downloaded some of his songs but wasent able to get into his style yet, its totally different music to the stuff i listen to but im alot more open minded since ive been playing guitar so im not just limiting myself to the genres that made me start playing guitar, classic rock and 80's metal.

  5. #5
    I am not very nice DemonSorcerer's Avatar
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    Good fusion players?? hmmm...

    Check Brett Garsed/TJ Helemerich for a legato-fingerpicking/tapping adventure. htey really rock and their music is awesome...Ritchie Kotzen and Greg Howe do it nicely too...there's also Frank Gambale...sweep picking monster...Holdsworth for sure...the father of modern guitar fusion...

    David

  6. #6
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    Different articulation techniques will produce different sounds, there's no "better than" here, I alternate pick through patterns which would be seeminly swept, or I sweep if I need to call for that sound. Same thing with a given line, I can AP on it or use slurs, you can slide up to a note or bend to it or pull it (with the whammy bar) it all deppends on the TIMBRE you want that note to have.

    I hope this helps.


    Regards,
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  7. #7
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    The late Criss Oliva (Savatage) was a legato MONSTER, no one ever mentions him

  8. #8
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    How can you have a discussion about fusion without mentioning John Mclaughlin? He was in Miles Davis's band when 'Bitches Brew' came out...which is pretty much how fusion go invented.

    Plus he's a perfect example of how alternate picking adds a very percussive element to your playing. Unlike legato which, when played clean, ends up sounding more like how a saxophone would phrase...meaning no breaks between the notes.

  9. #9
    fan of the G string curiousgeorge's Avatar
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    These "vs" threads lead nowhere. It's not a competition between legato and AP. If you like it, use it, if you don't, don't. It's not rocket science.

  10. #10
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
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    Steve,

    Excellent post! That sound clip illustrated the difference better than anything else I've seen Interestingly enough I've recently made the jump to fingerstyle (after 2 years of playing music that I didn't like). I've started to develop my legato playing to compensate for not being able to pick as quickly fingerstyle... I find it amazing that you can fingerpick a passage like that as well as you can erm... "legato it."

    -Dan
    "In improvised music you easily can tell who is a guitar player and who is a musician." - Maarten (fellow IBMer)

  11. #11
    No catch phrase. Guitarperson88's Avatar
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    They have great articles on alt picking and legato. I also have made some exercises for my students. If you want any let me know (pm me and such).


    Cheers.
    (enter catch phrase here)

  12. #12
    SteveH
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    Hi DanF,

    Thanks for the complement.

    I'm using a technique that I came up with years ago,
    whilst I was still very much a classical guitarist learning
    the the electric.

    My flash of inspiration came when I was working
    on my classical tremolo technique with a metronome.
    I was warming up with the thing set at 120 bpm,
    playing 8 notes a click, and I suddenly realised that
    I was already playing as fast as anyone that I'd
    heard on the electric with a pick. (Back then I could
    get upto around 144, now things start to go wrong
    at about 100. )

    So that basically set me on a journey with the electric,
    re-applying the skills I already had, and coming up with
    new ways of tackling problems that dont manifest
    themselves in the same way on the classical.

    There's not really the space in a forum post to go into
    detail, maybe I should spend some time and write an
    article about it.

    The only thing that stops me is that I had a 7 year layoff
    from playing (got married, started a business, had 2 kids)
    and have only started picking the guitar up again with
    any regularity 6 months ago ~ after a friend talked me into
    playing a 1 off gig. So I can talk the talk, but can't yet walk
    the walk with anything like the skill sets that I used to have.

    Regards

    Steve

  13. #13
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
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    I'd certainly be interested in reading that if you got around to it, very cool

    -Dan
    "In improvised music you easily can tell who is a guitar player and who is a musician." - Maarten (fellow IBMer)

  14. #14
    Registered User Weasel3000's Avatar
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    It all depends on what mood the song is.

    If your song is then alt picking is the way to go.

    To add a nice smooth flow of notes, legato is your best friend. Joe uses a lot of legato on his song, flying in a blue dream and it suits the song "mood"a lot.

    Again, it all depends what your playing

  15. #15
    fan of the G string curiousgeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weasel3000
    It all depends on what mood the song is.

    If your song is then alt picking is the way to go.

    To add a nice smooth flow of notes, legato is your best friend. Joe uses a lot of legato on his song, flying in a blue dream and it suits the song "mood"a lot.

    Again, it all depends what your playing
    I couldn't disagree more with these statements. The notes determine the mood, not the technique. Have you ever heard a bluegrass player flatpick an angry song?

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