For many guitar players, knowing how to make great guitar solos and use scales, arpeggios, chords, and melody to do that is the holy grail of playing.
However there are many obstacles to getting this good at guitar…..
Confusing guitar lessons…..
Humongous scale books….
And just getting good enough to practice this stuff!
So what I did was made you a video as well as a free eBook that’ll tell you all about how I…..
Once you’ve gone through this set of lead guitar tips and tricks I’ve got for ya, you’ll know exactly how to make guitar solos using scales or arpeggios or whatever.
It’s not rocket science, and anyone of any ability of any age can learn how.
Watch this LONG video (sorry), or read through my article for the cliffnotes version…..
1. Lead Guitar Is About Technique AND Note Choice
Playing well is only half the battle.
If you want to use scales, arpeggios, and chord tones in your solos in the most interesting way possible you’ve gotta know the best notes to choose.
That’s why I love music theory.
Guitar music theory helps me see what notes will work over this chord and at what place it should go.
Otherwise I’m just guessing and have no strategy to go about making my own solos.
Knowing how to solo is mostly about this, unless you’re playing someone else’s stuff note for note.
That’s the only reason to do exercises is to build technique.
2. Think In Terms Of Rhythm
Don’t know your 8th notes or quarter notes? Learn them!
Seeing how the mixture of various note values make up a lick or riff is most of the battle of knowing how to make guitar solos come alive.
Lots of players, particularly the shredders, play in nothing but 16th notes or 6 note patterns.
The best ones know to stop playing so many notes, and mix it up……
But others are tone-deaf when it comes to this factor of making music.
In the video, I’ll show you specific examples of this stuff though so take the time to see if possible.
3. Thinks In Intervals As Well As Chords & Scales
Intervals are the distance between notes, and their skillful manipulation is what creates harmony and chord progressions.
It also determines why some melodic phrases stand out more than others.
Ever gotten tired of hearing a pentatonic scale?
It’s because you’re hearing the same set of intervals repeated over and over and over and over.
4. Pick At Least 3 Lead Guitarists You Want To Learn From
This is obvious because you don’t want to learn from me, and I’m sure you don’t care about how I play lead guitar.
I got into guitar to play like Slash and Marty Friedman, and you hopefully have similar guitar heroes too.
There’s tons of tab books and eBooks, including my own seen in my store, that’ll tell you how these guys think.
And my stuff will show you how to take their stuff as your own.
5. Have At Least 30 Phrases, Licks, Solos, Etc. In Your Repertoire
Improvising is awesome, but you can easily slip into playing random notes and disregarding everything else in the song section.
Or you may just run out of material…..
That’s why having stock phrases (a tip I learned from Eric Clapton) will help out tremendously.
Knowing scales to play over certain chords, arpeggios that can be played well with each other, and lots of little melodic 4 note or 3 note phrases will help out.
Like I said, there’s a lot of lead guitar tips and tricks in my video so check it out if you have time!
6. Practice As Much On Acoustic As Much As You Do On Electric
This will help you build up your technique and have more confidence in your newfound lead guitar skills once you do this more.
It’s not easy to hide your mistakes on this instrument, and it can be unforgiving and frustrating to play on.
But imagine nailing a Vai lick on here?
Will you doubt yourself after that? Nope!
7. Experiment With Different Techniques And Progressions
Play sweep picking arpeggios in country….
Funk chords in rock songs…..
Pop melodies in metal….
And so on and so forth.
A good guitarist is versatile.
That’s one of the main reasons Jimi Hendrix is so great, as well as Brian Setzer, Nuno Bettencourt, Slash, and dozens of others too.
8. Learn The Differences Between Genres
Grab a book of blues or jazz solos and determine what they’re doing differently from your 3 guys you normally play.
I did this by picking up a Wes Montgomery book, and it was TOUGH!
It’s like having spoken english forever and then learning mandarin chinese.
Go for something you don’t know anything about or something you’ve always wanted to learn.
I’ve dabbled in jazz, country, classical, pop, and flamenco amongst others.
9. Identify The Chord Progressions You’re Playing Over!
We guitarists get so obsessed with playing a solo note for note that we forget what tells us how to make guitar solos so interesting…..
It’s the frigging chord progression!
Chord progressions in country will be very different from jazz so you can’t play the same ways in both.
If you do, you’ll wreck the entire thing.
10. Start Learning The Art Of Melody
The reason I love Slash and Marty Friedman so much is that they play both fast and slow (aka melodic).
Truth is that it’s hard as hell to follow a really fast solo, and it’s the easiest thing to tune out.
Slow stuff, like what the Edge or George Harrison plays, sticks in the ear a lot easier.
Also, it has something to with those rhythm time values I told you about……
11. Avoid The Trap Of Knowing Which Scales Works With What Chords
E minor doesn’t have to be used with just the Em chord…..
It can work over plenty of other chords like G, Am, C#m, etc.
Wanna know how I make this scale work in so many places?
Then check out my music theory course……
This is not an easy technique to use, but this helps many of those awesome guitarists I’ve been talking keep their playing fresh and interesting to listen to.
12. Become A Good Rhythm Guitarist
In fact, become a great one!
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix were both awesome rhythm players. (hate to say “were”)
And this knowledge of playing behind the beat, using chords in different ways, and how to create interesting progressions only helped them learn how to make better guitar solos later on.
13. See How Lead Guitar Intersects Rhythm Guitar
Jimi and SRV also used rhythm techniques in lead and vice versa.
You see, lots of lead guitarists trap themselves into thinking that…..
Playing rhythm is just chords, and playing solos is just about scales.
No it’s not, and that’s why I mentioned knowing about the chord progressions you’re playing over.
This may be obvious to lots of guys out there, but you’ll be surprised how many guitar players disregard this stuff.
14. Become A Student Of Music Theory
Rhythm note values, making chord progressions, applying different scales to chords, and so on is all in the realm of guitar music theory.
So if you aren’t sure why you should learn guitar music theory, this is why……
It helps you make better note choices and learn how to make guitar solos more interesting!!!
The solos of these great guitar players weren’t formed by accident.
They may have been improvised, but that’s not the same as never having done something like that before.
These guys practice making solos out of scales, arpeggios, chords, etc. over and over again before they’ll improvise something like that.
Guitar music theory is the shortcut, and once again I’ll plug my book if you want to learn that stuff.
15. Learn Licks After You’ve Become Familiar With This Stuff First
Everything I just told you about will only help you learn licks faster and play them a whole lot better.
You can add them to your repertoire, or even break them down and use pieces of them for your own solos.
You’ve probably already started learning licks before, and that’s okay.
But this is about becoming a smarter lead guitarist with a better grasp over the fretboard and the music they’re making.
Please please please don’t let yourself get lost on the fretboard because you’re not willing to put in the work!
Want to learn more about some of this stuff?
Well besides my awesome, high quality eBooks there’s also these articles……
“How To Start Picking What Scales To Use Over Which Chords” = https://www.playitloudblog.com/what-scales-work-over-what-chords/
“A Unique, Detailed Take On Exotic Scales” = http:// www.playitloudblog.com/exotic-guitar-scales-how-to-play-spanish- guitar/
“How To Play Lead Like Slash” = https://www.playitloudblog.com/slash-lead-guitar-lesson/
“The Truth About Talent” = https://www.playitloudblog.com/naturaltalent/
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any thoughts on this.