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Legato Playing - Part 2 (Guitar Lesson)


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Nick Greathouse

Legato Playing - Part 2

Nick takes Legato playing a step further with more advanced examples such as full scale patterns.

Taught by Nick Greathouse in Speed and Technique seriesLength: 33:43Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (1:05) Lesson Introduction Nick Greathouse here once again for JamPlay!  This is the second installment in the legato portion of my Speed and Technique Lesson series.  In this one we’re going to take your legato technique to the next level by adding more strings into the mix and playing full scales with very little help from your picking hand.  Before attempting this lesson make sure you have everything from the first legato lesson down, and that you’re warmed up so you don’t put undue strain on your fretting hand.
Chapter 2: (3:09) Legato Review and Lesson Outline As I said before, we’ll be adding more strings to the exercises in this lesson as well as more techniques (slides).  One of the things you’ll be doing a lot of in this lesson is playing hammer-ons “from nowhere”.  By this I mean you have to hammer onto a string that none of your other fingers are on and connect the notes on the “new” string to the rest of the line without picking.  This is difficult to do because you have to hammer onto the “new” string with enough force so that you don’t lose volume…you have to try to get it to sound like you’re not even crossing strings smoothly connecting every note.

Also, whenever you perform slides in this lesson you have to do them in time so that you don’t break the rhythm of any of the examples.
Chapter 3: (2:40) Scale Fingerings and Fret Positions This scene covers the two full scale fingerings that are used in this lesson.  Just like the other “scalar” lessons in this series, all of the exercises are in the key of A major.  We are covering the first two positions in the key of A major, they are both three-note per string fingerings.  The first one is just an A major scale, the second could be considered a B Dorian scale, but since you’ll be playing both of these together in one lick you could consider it just an extension of the key of A as you move around the fingerboard.
Chapter 4: (6:16) Exercises 1-5 Unlike the previous legato lesson there will be a little picking involved in playing these exercises, so just follow the pick indications in the tab.

Exercises 1-3:  These three examples use rhythmic groupings of 5 and they also use the “hammer-on from nowhere” concept that I mentioned earlier.  Pay close attention to the pick markings and work to get these going as smoothly as possible.
Chapter 5: (6:08) Variations on Exercises 4-5 This scene gets into connecting positions using slides.

Exercises 4-5:  These two exercises connect the separate left hand fingerings with slides and get you moving up and down the neck.  These are played with a sixteenth-note triplet feel.
Chapter 6: (7:40) Scale Exercises In this scene we start playing full scales using the legato technique.  Ascending, you pick the first note on each string and hammer onto the following two.  When you descend you do not use the pick at all, hammering onto the first note of each string and pulling off the other two.  Watch very closely as I demonstrate this so that you can have a strong descent.

The only difference between the first and second scale exercise is that you ascend through the first scale position then slide to the highest note of the second position and descend through that fingering without picking (sliding back down to the low A at the end).
Chapter 7: (4:16) The "Super Shredder Scale Exercise“ This sequence isn’t much different than the second exercise in the previous scene.  You play the same fingerings, in the same order but now you’re applying a 7 note per string sequence to each string (you’re also playing rhythmic groupings if 7).  You basically ascend, descend, and ascend again on each string (as I demonstrate).  When you shif up to the second position to descend you just reverse the sequence to descend-ascend-descend.  This is one of those licks that sounds much more difficult than it actually is.
Chapter 8: (2:26) Wrap Up As long as we're doing legato playing I'll keep saying "don’t hurt yourself". If you ever feel any sharp pain, take a break, you don't want to cause permanent damage to your fretting hand by practicing this stuff too much too soon.

Have fun, practice, and we'll keep building on these lessons as time goes on!

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


pedrom2137pedrom2137 replied on April 24th, 2014

hi nick, when I pull off a string, I always touch the string down unintentionally, should I try to mute the "down" string or I just need to practice more? thanks

cccattorneycccattorney replied on March 3rd, 2013

Thank you so much. I am working on this to improve my legato. Thank you for including all the discussion of scales as well. Great job, Nick.

levirayleviray replied on January 21st, 2013

Could you do song examples?

javierlikestacosjavierlikestacos replied on October 17th, 2012

this guy is high

julio_xenosisjulio_xenosis replied on April 25th, 2012

The lessons are great, thanks Nick. The exercise based stuff has filled in lots of gaps in my playing.

gjdbgjdb replied on March 7th, 2010

great lesson! I love these exercise-based lessons as an addition to the genre lessons!

Speed and Technique

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

This exercise-heavy series serves to improve your playing dexterity, coordination, synchronization of your left and right hand, and speed building in the techniques of alternate picking, sweep picking, and legato.



Lesson 1

Alternate Picking Part 1

Nick starts his series with Alternate Picking part 1. Improve your timing, speed, and execution with this important lesson.

Length: 21:23 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Lesson 2

Legato Playing Part 1

Nick lays down the building blocks for legato playing. Strengthen and improve your left hand skills in Legato Part 1.

Length: 12:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Sweep Picking and Arpeggios Part 1

Nick lays down the building blocks for sweep picking. Precision and relaxation are crucial when it comes to this technique.

Length: 21:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Alternate Picking - Part 2

Alternate Picking Part 2 will build up your technique by adding a second string.

Length: 21:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Legato Playing - Part 2

Nick takes Legato playing a step further with more advanced examples such as full scale patterns.

Length: 33:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Sweep Picking and Arpeggios - Part 2

Nick teaches you some new sweep picking licks and demonstrates how to connect arpeggios together.

Length: 24:48 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Alternate Picking Part 3

Nick covers 5 practice sequences in the key of A major that will beef up your alternate picking technique.

Length: 36:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Sweep Picking part 3

Nick teaches the basics of sweep picking with exercises that have helped him.

Length: 22:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Pentatonic Sequences and Techniques

Nick teaches exercises and techniques for the B Minor Pentatonic scale.

Length: 21:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Nick Greathouse View Full Biography Nick Greathouse was born on December 11th, 1980 in Canton, Ohio. He was exposed to many different musical styles from a very young age. Growing up in the "MTV generation" some of his earliest memories involve watching Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Guns n' Roses with his brother and cousin. His mother played piano, sang and filled the house with the sounds of singer-songwriters Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne and Elton John and his father was always listening to country music along with classic rockers Tom Petty and Bob Seger. He never had to look far to hear great music.

Though he was constantly surrounded by music, it wasn't until Nick heard his first Beatles album (Revolver) when he was 10 that he became interested in being a musician. Shortly thereafter, his older brother got an electric guitar which Nick began to play (while his bro was out of the house!). The moment his fingers touched the strings for the first time, he was hooked and had to have one of his own.

Throughout high school Nick took guitar lessons and would jam with his friends as much as possible, his skills on the instrument improved significantly. He would spend hours with his cd player learning Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix songs by ear. But after hearing Steve Vai's album "Passion and Warfare" guitar playing became an all out obsession.

After high school, at age 18, Nick began teaching guitar lessons at a local music store. He also entered the music program at Kent State University where he studied classical guitar with George Bachmann. During this time he performed many solo guitar recitals and also played with the guitar ensemble. When he honed his reading chops to a high level he started playing in pit orchestras and band for local theaters.

Nick took a break from Kent in 2004 when he moved to Hollywood, California for a short time to study at Musician's Institute (GIT). While there he had classes with Daniel Gilbert, Joy Basu, Tom Kolb, Carl Verheyen, and his private lesson instructor Jean-Marc Belkadi.

Nick returned to Ohio in order to finish his college education. He joined a local metal core band called Last Second Decision which was formed by his brother. During his tenure with Last Second Decision Nick began taking lessons from one of his heroes, Cleveland based guitar virtuoso, Neil Zaza. They became fast friends and since then Nick has gone on to perform with Zaza numerous times including television appearances, local club gigs and the holiday spectacular "Neil Zaza's One Silent Night" at Cleveland's Playhouse Square. Nick also appears on the 2007 CD "Neil Zaza's One Silent Night: A Night at The Palace".

Nick is a graduate of Kent State University (BA Music) and continues to teach privately at a music store in Kent, Ohio and also at his home. He is very excited to be a part of the JamPlay team!

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