I see many legato practices didn't mention about it.

Each time i play 3 notes in one string, i tend to lift all 3 fingers and pick the next string first note (2 left fingers are on the air).

I notice that this way make the previous notes lose their sustain, then i try to keep these two fingers on the first string until i pick the first note on second string then use hammer on on the rest (like spider walk practice)

It sounds more smooth, but i'm not sure is this the good practice for legato since it slows the movement down?

Edit: To have more clarity, i play 3 notes on the low E string, then ascending 3 fingers on the A string. Pick the first note, two remains on the E string while the first move to the A string and pick (this is spider walk and sounds smooth to me.

If i lift all fingers from the E string before picking the first note on A string, it sounds not smooth (not spider walk)

Here are the photos of the moment changing string from E to A:

Lift all fingers enter image description here

Spider walk enter image description here

  • This isn't making a lot of sense. Are you asking about ascending 3 notes per string, or descending?
    – Tim
    Nov 19, 2023 at 11:01
  • ascending and move from string to string
    – TomSawyer
    Nov 19, 2023 at 14:53
  • @Tim i have updated the question with picture
    – TomSawyer
    Nov 19, 2023 at 15:13
  • What are the three notes concerned? A-Bb-C? or was it G-A-Bb and then the C? If the former and prior notes permitted I would do them all on the A string.
    – user207421
    Nov 19, 2023 at 23:01
  • @user207421 that wasn't my question. the concern is about the fingers movement not about notes.
    – TomSawyer
    Nov 20, 2023 at 8:59

1 Answer 1


Legato means "tied together", maintaining a smoothly connected unbroken sound, so your idea about keeping the previous string's note sounding as long as possible, spider walk style, is right. It will require focused practicing, but if you're not focusing, it's not practicing to begin with.

You may find that your movements slow down, but as always you practice with a metronome, which keeps things in control. Start practicing with a slower tempo and gradually speed it up, constantly paying attention to good timing as well as the intended legato sound. It takes time, but your technique will improve, when you keep practicing.

Edit. Maybe I misunderstood your question. Reading the question and Tim's comment once more, I'm not 100% sure what exactly you're doing with the fingers that aren't fretting the sounding note. But things like that aren't easily communicated on a forum like this anyway. Hammer-ons (ascending) and pull-offs (descending) instead of picking are a way to achieve a legato sound. And you shouldn't lift your fingers unnecessarily high away from the fretboard anyway, and you shouldn't have to apply unnecessary pressure either, with fingers which aren't really doing any fretting. Touching strings with fingers is a good habit, because it helps in controlling when the strings are allowed to vibrate.

Concentrate on good timing, good sound and good relaxed hand and finger motions. When in doubt, consult an actual teacher.

  • 3 finger on the Low E string, then 3 fingers on the A string. ascending. two remains on the E string while the first move to the A string (spider walk). If i lift all fingers on the E string before picking the first note on A string, it sounds not smooth (not spider walk)
    – TomSawyer
    Nov 19, 2023 at 14:54
  • 2
    Ok, I think I understood correctly. You noticed yourself that if you lift all fingers off the string, then sound is cut. You need to keep at least the fretting finger pressing the string until you really want the note to end. Which is, as late as possible, maybe even after you've already picked the next string. It's a simple thing, and you can tell yourself when it's legato and when it isn't. Adjust the fine timing by ear. Nov 19, 2023 at 15:26
  • Thank man. For me this is a crucial tip, i'm surprised that many legato tutorials on youtube didn't mention about it. Sounds so much better now
    – TomSawyer
    Nov 19, 2023 at 20:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.