Guitar Legato Style | Hub Guitar

Guitar Legato Style

What is Legato?

Legato is more of a playing style, rather than an actual technique. Legato is an Italian word meaning “tied together”, and the result is a melody where the notes are connected smoothly with no silence in between. Each note gets its full value. It is the opposite of staccato. The execution varies from one instrument to another. On guitar, this sometimes corresponds to a slur, a series of notes with fewer picking-hand plucks.

Consider the following bass groove:

Legato Example

Walking bass example using an 8-bar blues progression.

It is sometimes the preference that a bassline, particularly one in this style, will be played legato to “hold up” the tune with a constant bass anchor. If the notes of this bassline are cut too short, it will lose some of its anchoring effect.

Legato Exercises

  1. Practice playing the above bassline. Be sure to switch notes carefully to avoid shortening the notes as much as possible. They should all reach their maximum possible duration of one quarter note.
  2. Improvise your own bassline in this or another style, and play using legato.
As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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