Monster Licks: Stretch Your Boundaries with This Legato Technique
In this Monster Lick, I'm using the E pentatonic blues scale with the legato technique.
Legato and the blues scale are nothing new. We all use hammers and pulls in the traditional box form of the scale to add spice to what we are doing. But this approach is a little different. I'm treating the scale as a three-note-per-string scale — as I'd treat a mode or a major/minor scale.
If you simply create legato patterns using only two notes per string, it becomes very stagnant, tonally and rhythmically. That's not to say you should never do it, but I'd encourage you to adapt this style and approach to broaden your horizons a bit.
One of the biggest challenges of using the legato technique with this scale is the stretches. You end up with some very wide intervals and a lot of position transitioning across the neck. Although this is tough, it creates an incredible sound and effect, so it's well worth the hard work!
I must stress that, although this could be considered an exercise, it is anything but that! This lick is a demonstration of how far you can take the idea; but when it comes time to adapt this technique into your soloing, you might use the technique for only a small run or lead into a bend, etc. I am purely demonstrating its extremes to grab your attention.
It's essential to have your thumb in the middle of the neck to maximize your stretch and relieve the pressure on your left hand. You must be mindful not to cause your wrist any stress or discomfort when attempting these big stretches. If you encounter some pain, you should move the patterns to a higher position on the fretboard. From there you can slowly work your way back down into the original starting position of this lick.
It's important to remember that playing like this took many years of hard work, so don't be discouraged if it's a little beyond where you're at with your playing right now. Still, I suggest you try and take something away from the idea to add to your lick arsenal!
I also suggest breaking this lick into groups of three strings. In the first part of the lick, you should focus on the legato pattern from the low E to the D string. Once you are comfortable in this position, you'll immediately start to recognize the repeating patterns the legato creates.
There are a few transitions between strings that vary from the pattern, but the most important thing in this lick is to recognize and nail the legato. Legato is such an incredible weapon to have at your disposal.
If you are struggling to find the groupings, pay attention to the transcript below; you will be able to see the pattern formations/grouping of notes.
Australia's Glenn Proudfoot has played and toured with major signed bands and artists in Europe and Australia, including progressive rockers Prazsky Vyber. Glenn released his first instrumental solo album, Lick Em, in 2010. It is available on iTunes and at glennproudfoot.com.