Guitar - General/Legato phrasing

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Question
Hi,
My question is about legato phrasing particularly when the tab suggests to hammer on and then pull off on just 1 fret after picking the home note... such as picking the 12th and using only the 13th...as opposed to picking the 12th and using the 14th & 15th (just an example)

If this makes sense like hope, my question is should I hammer on and hold it for a moment and then pull off, or hammer on, release and then come back to pull off all one pick?

Thanks,
Dan

Answer
To know how long you need to hold/release a note, it is required that you look at the rhythmic notation that accompanies the tab (this is why I don't like TABs that don't include the rhythmic breakdown; they're almost worthless).  It will be specific to each note.  You should be able to know if the duration is a quarter, eighth, sixteenth, etc. (and the dotted variations thereof).  On the occasions where a note is written to look like an "accent" note (usually a smaller note than the other ones) next to a hammer/pull symbol, this generally indicates a "trill" and the two notes should be alternated as quickly as possible.  Many tabs actually denote the word "trill" in small lettering right above the notation.  

If I've understood your question correctly, then I would suggest two things:  (1) do some research on rhythmic notations and how they look (it doesn't require you to be a sight-reading expert, just enough so you can reasonably pick out the duration), and (2) try to use only tab that includes the actual notation above/with the tab lines.  The type that only gives numbers that is so often found on the Internet is not only REALLY bad, it's often written by just anyone and is almost always wrong at some point throughout the piece.  Professional transcribers just do NOT write tab without including the notation.  

I hope this helps, and if there is more I can help you with, please let me know.

Guitar - General

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J Ross Smith

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Find at www.jrosssmith.com! Over 20 years of guitar playing, teaching, building, and modifying; have worked as a touring musician, studio session guitarist, engineer, guitar tech, and guitar teacher. Registered member of ASCAP. Registered member of Freelancers Union. I have a working knowledge of music theory and styles, and a taste for all types of music and instruments. If you have a favorite guitar player or style, chances are I share it! If you have a question I can't answer, I'll rely on experienced and knowledgeable people I know to get the correct information for you, and I hope I can help inspire your playing style and tone. Promotional photo by Sebastian Castillo at Castillo Photography, San Diego, CA.

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Over 15 years of guitar playing, teaching, building, and modifying; have worked as a touring musician, studio session guitarist, engineer, guitar tech, and guitar teacher.

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American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP), Freelancers' Union, IAVA (Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America).

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I have a working knowledge of music theory and styles, and a taste for all types of music and instruments. If you have a favorite guitar player or style, chances are I share it!!!

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