Is it normal if I practice legato on 5 positions major, minor scale?

The thing I notice practicing legato with 5 positions scale is harder to keep tracking on metronome, since some string only has two notes to play, then the picking note would not be on the beat of metronome.

On the other hand with 3NPS, they are all triplets and the picking note would be on the beat.

Is that the reason the picking note must be on the strong beat?

  • You pick if you want a picking sound, otherwise you hammer-on or pull-off. If the sound doesn't particularly matter, you can pick or not, whatever is best for whatever is ok for whatever you want. "Three notes per string" might be an interesting new idea if you've previously done three-or-two semi randomly, and now forcing three on ALL strings, your up/down etc is a bit different. If you could do sixteen notes per string, that would be more legato, because there's less picking. If you have at least sixteen fingers in your fretting hand. What was the question again? Nov 25, 2023 at 0:25
  • @piiperiReinstateMonica the question is about why all of them are all 3 notes per string. is picking on the low beat on metronome is good practice? i see all the picking from 3NPS always from the strong beat and the rest notes follow
    – TomSawyer
    Nov 25, 2023 at 8:24

1 Answer 1


Once one is an experienced player, any note could be an emphasised one - plucked, hammered or pulled-off. 3nps doesn't necessarily have to be hammered, or played other than normally, it just happens to be another way to get from one end of a scale to the other, with a fairly memorable finger pattern to follow.

Far better is to used whatever pattern one likes and vary the emphases - 1,2; 123; 1234; 12345 etc., which will bring your plucking, hammering and pulling off far smoother anyway.

3nps is often portrayed as the 1st note of each 3 is emphasised. Mainly because it's the easiest option, no other good reason. Don't believe everything 'cos it's on the 'net...

  • Thank you, that makes a lot of sense to me.
    – TomSawyer
    Nov 26, 2023 at 8:52
  • I think 3NPS is a thing just because it differs from more popular (?) or perhaps more intuitive box shapes which have two or three notes per string to stay within a box without the fretting hand having to move. And 3NPS differs from that thinking by demanding exactly three for every string, even if it means that the box/hand may shift when ascending/descending. Nov 26, 2023 at 15:41
  • @piiperiReinstateMonica - true, also there is a sort of pattern that's easy to remember.
    – Tim
    Nov 26, 2023 at 15:52

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