Left hand preparation improves legato playing and will help to make rhythms smooth and exact. If you have ever had a chance to watch a master guitarist’s hands close up, you may have noticed that it almost seems like the are playing ahead of what you are hearing. That is because of left hand preparation.

The left hand has four fingers working together, but very rarely are they all used at the same time. So, when there is a finger free, it should be moving towards the next place it needs to be or preparing in position to play the next note. This kind of preparation requires good independence in the fingers but will greatly improve the legato nature of your playing. Which is great.

Developing this skill should be done in two ways, technical work and building good habits in your repertoire playing.

To start off with, we should practice left hand preparation with scales.

Now to find places in your repertoire:

Begin by slowly go through one of your current pieces and identify the places where left hand preparation is possible. I did it here in the Lágrima workbook, and I marked all of the places where you can prepare the left hand and improve the legato.

Grab a highlighter and get to marking up your score.

In the long run, however, you should be able to identify places on the fly and build it in to your general left hand technique so that the fingers are always searching for their next landing spot.