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Rock Guitar Improvisations Using Hybrid Picking And Legato Technique

Apr 9, 2008
Guitar and Rock music are inseparable and probably one of the main reasons for this is that most rock numbers or compositions have short or prolonger lead guitar solos. The lead guitar solos can be mastered by using different scales and guitar improvisation techniques like hybrid picking and legato technique.

There is such a huge variety of guitar improvisation techniques available that you can practice solos all your life and yet not find the end. It is infinite! One such guitar improvisation technique is called hybrid picking..

Hybrid picking can add an absolutely new dimension to the sound that is rendered by your lead guitar. This is a type of guitar improvisation technique that is most commonly used by guitarists in music genres or styles like blues, rock, country, bluegrass, and even jazz. One of guitar legends who has used hybrid picking very effectively is Stevie Ray Vaughan. He used it for rendering a solo in Lenny Here's a small exercise in hybrid picking that you can try:

e-0--0--0--0--0--0-
b--1--1--1--1--1---
g------------------
d------------------
a------------------
E-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0--

You can increase the speed as you become comfortable with the above and move on to this:

e-0-0-0-0-0-0-0--0-0-0-
b----------------------
g----------------------
d-2-3-0-0-0-2-3-/5-5-0-
a----------------------
E----------------------

Hybrid picking is a guitar improvisation technique where you pick the guitar strings or chords using the fingers as well as the pick at the same time. The advantage is that you will be able to use your plectrum to play lead guitar that normally requires the fingerstyle mode of playing.

You will also be able to make wide string leaps like you can leap from the 5th string right to the 1st string, which can be quite a difficult exercise otherwise. To effectively use the hybrid picking guitar improvisation technique, you will need to your pick between your forefinger and thumb.

Legato Technique

The legato technique is another effective guitar improvisation technique that renders slurred notes quite similar to the notes rendered through hammer-on's and pull-offs. Basically, legato is a sequence of hammer-ons and pull-offs with very few picking. Before going on any further, you should fully understand the basics of the legato technique. The legato technique is surely the best technique that allows you to play at lightning speed. It also gives you the great opportunity to expand your expressiveness by experimenting countless phrasing possibility on the guitar. Here is a small exercise that includes some kick ass legato licks:

e-----------5--7--8--7--5----------
b---------------------------8------
g----------------------------------
d----------------------------------
a----------------------------------
e----------------------------------

Legato guitar improvisation technique has been effectively used for solo performance by the likes of Joe Satriani, Alan Holdsworth, and Steve Vai. The above notes that form the legato technique will require you to hammer the notes without picking. You should ideally play this at 60bpm.
About the Author
Want over 1000 Guitar Backing Tracks?

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Eugene is the founder of Planet of Rock Music Studios. He is a full time guitar teacher and has contributed to publications as Guitar Player and Maximum Guitar.

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