Using Legato Slides to Add Feeling To Your Guitar Solos
slides (sliding with your fingers as opposed to using a slide tool) are
one of the easiest ways to inject life into your guitar licks. This
lesson will show you several ways in which you can use slides to both
accent, ornament and fluidly link up notes on the fretboard.
First, make sure you know how to execute the basic
guitar sliding technique.
It's just another way of moving from one note to another on the
fretboard. Sliding creates what is know as a "slurred" effect, giving
the movement between notes a fluid texture. It's one way of mimicking
vocal dynamics in your lead playing.
Watch the video below for an introduction and then scroll down for a
more detailed break down of the technique...
Legato Slide Exercises
To help us become physically confident
with sliding between notes amidst regular picked sequences, we're going
to use scale patterns as our roadmap.
Our predominant sliding
fingers will be our index (1) and ring (3) fingers. The below
pentatonic pattern gives us a good basis for practicing slides using
these fingers. Starting with our ring finger...
demonstrated in the video, start by moving up the sequence, sliding
your 3rd finger where indicated. Then, move back down the sequence
using exactly the same sliding positions.
Now get your index finger sliding in a similar way using the below
can also alternate your 1st/3rd finger slides, as demonstrated in the
video, and create your own exercises. The aim is to get comfortable
with sliding between regular picked sequences so you can use slides
when the feeling takes you.
Below I've picked out some simple phrases that will get all our fingers
involved in the sliding technique (fingering in blue
beneath the tab). You can of course come up with your own based on any
scale patterns or licks you know...
Index Finger Slide
Click the tabs to hear examples.
Middle Finger Slide
Ring Finger Slide
Pinky Finger Slide
Yes, even our weakest finger can be used to slide, especially on single
Of course, you can also try creating your own slide exercises.
let's look at some different ways in which we can physically apply the
slide. There are many dynamics that can change the effect the slide has
on your music, including variations in speed, delays and repetition.
Sliding To Accent Note
Use slides to emphasise accent notes. Here, I slide to the root of the scale...
You can also lengthen the slide to add more emphasis...
Don't forget you can also slide DOWN to your target notes...
And sometimes the note you want to target will be on another string...
Accent Repeat Slide
Here, we repeat a picked accent note with a slide, usually on a
different string to the picked note...
Slide between two or more notes in succession for a smooth run of
You don't always have to slide immediately after picking the note. Try
waiting a beat or two and then slide...
Here we're sliding to the target note as immediately and quickly as
possible. This means we can start from any note, even notes outside the
scale (known as chromatic
tones), because the slide is so quick the ear doesn't
articulate its starting point...
"Knee Jerk" Slide
A combination of the sequential and quick slide. Here we pick our
accent note as usual, followed by a quick slide to another fret and
immediately back. This creates a very subtle ornamentation effect that
mimics vocal characteristic...
A good way of getting from one end of the neck to the other. Practice
sliding up and down larger distances...
Slide/Fixed Note Alternation
Here we alternate between slides and fixed notes across two strings to
move up or down the neck, for example...
Once you've picked your accent note, slide up or down the fretboard
without ending on another note. This means you have to mute the string
to end the slide...
How to Practice
This lesson has shown you many ways you can apply slides in your solos.
Now it's down to you to work them into your practice regime, applying
them to scales and licks you know.
Practice the different slide techniques individually and in combination.
Start with simple two or three note phrases, and gradually build them
up, experimenting with playing slides in different places.