How to Improve Left Hand Technique
Part 3: Using 3 note-per string licks
Do you notice that your pinky finger lacks accuracy when playing scale runs?
Do you have a hard time keeping your fingers close to the fretboard?
Are you having issues with sloppy playing when increasing speed?
This is the 3rd post on improving your right hand technique for guitar. The previous lessons are found here and here. In this lesson, we will focus our attention to 3 note per string hammer on and pull off scale runs. As a guitar player, you do not want to be limited by positional playing. What this means is that you do not want to place any limitations on where you can play the notes you want to play. You should be free to move your left hand and improvise at will.
There are some big stretches here.
Students of various experience are used to seeing music with hammer ons/pull offs presented as 2 notes per-string. Because of this, adding a 3rd, or even a 4th can be a daunting task. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when looking over these examples.
To learn 3 note per string hammer on pull off runs, and use them effectively (freely) takes a lot of effort. Do not expect instant gratification here.
Although there are many tabs out in the internet ether showing Malmsteen, Vai, Becker, Darrell, Hammett licks showing 2 note per string runs and licks, in reality, many of these licks are 3 note licks transcribed badly.
Gaining dexterity in the ring and pinky finger takes the most work. The pinky is the finger that “listens” the least.
The first example of 3 note per string scale runs with hammer ons. Triplets with some big stretches, UGH! If you have issues, practice slowly, comfortably, do not stress out your hand or tense up. Relax. In time, making these notes ring out will not be a big deal.
A similar exercise to number 10, only on a different string group. In this one, we’re focusing on the G, B, and high E string.
Now we descend the pattern. Remember, each of these small ideas combine into larger, more complex ideas. They snap together like Legos! To emphasize the “chord of the moment” experiment with 3 note per string runs that outline chord tones on strong downbeats.
Last descending lick in the post. It’s important to remember that these examples can be applied to positions higher up on the neck (e minor 12th position, for example) as a means to ease your hands into playing 3 note-per string licks.
What to do now:
- Combine these examples with the previous ones to create unique ideas
- Practice 3 note per string runs in other positions on the neck
- Create your own ideas that use unique rhythmic ideas
As always, thanks for reading!