Quick Tip: Holding Notes Longer

Dale Adkins talks about holding notes out in Podcast #48 by Flatpicking Guitar Magazine.  In this podcast, Dale and show host, Dan Miller, talk about practice and rhythm ideas.  But in one bit, Dale highlights the need to hold notes longer.

Many acoustic guitar players have a tendency to shorten, or fall off, notes on an acoustic guitar.  Particularly in single line melodies or solos.  We do this for a lot of reasons: lack of confidence, the tone doesn’t sound good, or we’re just not paying attention.

But holding out notes as long as possible, “squeezing the juice out of them”, creates a fuller and more compelling lead line.

By holding out the notes, the melody becomes a connected series of tones, a fluid line.  As Dan notes in the show, this is a quality that often separates the professionals from the ‘pretty good’.

So how do we get better at this?

1.  Pick a single-line melody or solo section.

2.  Play through the melody at a much slower pace.

3.  Try to hold each note of the melody for as long as possible.

4.  Focus on each note having the best pitch, tone, and/or vibrato as possible.

Practicing this at a slow tempo is much harder than doing it at a fast tempo.  So practice it slow, and it’ll start happening easier when you get fast.