To many guitarists, this is where the big boys play.
Having solid lead guitar chops separates you from all the poseurs and wannabes out there who strum chords, and dream of actually being great guitar players.
And those who can’t do it, just talk about how solos aren’t cool anymore!
Well there’s some truth and untruth to all of that.
Yes, great technique is needed to play many guitar solos.
But it’s not entirely necessary for many.
And also, some guitar players get so obsessed with this aspect of playing that they miss out on rhythm guitar and songwriting.
Lead guitar is only one dimension of being a fully developed guitar player, but I will indulge your need to get into it with this brief lesson.
To list out some of the many aspects of playing lead guitar, it will involve…….
— Knowledge of many scales and where you can use them
— The ability to quickly find the right target notes for each chord you’re playing over
— Clean alternate picking, accurate bending, and the ability to play clean, distorted, and acoustic
— The ability to create ear-catching phrases and melodies that build up a guitar solo and take the song to another level completely
— How to create licks for a country, jazz, blues, classical, rock, or pop solo
— Finally, how to make your lead guitar parts fit in with the bass player, the singer, the drums, and the rhythm guitarist
So as you can see, it’s not just about making guitar solos.
It’s really about learning to make your own lines that fit into the rest of the arrangement.
And to me, lead guitar is really the art of musical composition.
I mean don’t you wanta learn how to express yourself, and not play someone else’s solos note for note?
Doing that will give you barely any insight into how it works……Playing guitar is not always the same as making music you know.
The First Thing To Do Is Know Your Fretboard In And Out
Go grab a copy of the fretboard in the google search engines, and learn a fret at a time.
A trick I’ve told people elsewhere is to learn the first three frets, understand how sharps and flats work, and then learn frets 5, 7, and 9.
Everything else will fill in the blanks.
The Different Styles
As I mentioned before, one of the keys to becoming a proficient lead guitar player is to know how to move within different styles.
Jazz will have its own mixtures of chords, and rock and country and others will too.
Some genres like pop will intermix with these.
And nearly every genre will have its own particular set of techniques and playing scales that other genres don’t normally use.
For instance, you’re not very likely to hear pinch harmonics in jazz solos……
This can be summed as:
— Sweep picking
— Repeating licks
— Making melodies
— Double stops
The more you can learn about each one and how to mix them together, the more unique you’ll become as a player.
Understanding Chord Progressions
This one is actually the most important one, IMO.
Many guitarists, myself included, will normally just pick a scale and rip through it as hard as they can.
Most of the time this is a trainwreck, and it was very hard for me to accept the fact that my improvisations were not heavenly works of art.
But thankfully, if you follow the chords and figure out ways to express them through your lead guitar solos you’ll be fine.
If you’d like more insights into lead guitar, then you need to check out my eBook, “The 11 Essential Methods To Soloing On Guitar,” which is only $7 at the link below.
I hope you’ll check it out and thanks for reading this short article!