One of the key elements of learning lead guitar is learning guitar licks.
Guitar licks are what guitar solos are made up of. It’s not just learning the scale that is important, its learning guitar licks. And this is best done by learning them from your favorite players. By doing this you begin to learn what notes are necessary & how they are put together to create guitar solos. In doing so you start to develop a feel for this style of playing. Lead guitar.
Lead Guitar Playing
This form of playing is a lot of fun but requires far more discipline than just playing rhythm. Rhythm guitar has it’s challenge’s as well, don’t get me wrong and if you’d like to know more about developing your rhythm playing I’d highly recommend you grab my book “Rock Guitar 101” on Amazon.
Playing lead guitar is a bit different in the fact that solos are usually only played once in a song and being that’s the case they don’t get imprinted on the mind as easily as rhythms do. Rhythms are easier to remember because they repeat themselves multiple times in the song. Solos do not.
What your approach to learning to be a good lead guitar player will be to “cop licks” (as they call it in rock & roll) from your favorite players & eventually take those phrases & rhythm patterns (yes solos have a rhythm to them) & begin to put your own mark on them.
It’s best not to put too much emphasis on your equipment, although this is important to your overall sound, your sound comes from your fingers & brain. How you approach the guitar & how you decide to put notes together.
Common Lead Guitar Licks To Learn
In this guitar lick, you bend the third string up at the seventh fret and then pick the second string on the fifth fret and the first string on the fifth fret. This probably the most common guitar lick there is and used in multitudes of guitar solos.
In this guitar lick, you pull off from the eighth fret to the fifth fret on the second string then play the seventh fret on the third string and then the fifth fret on the second string. This is all one lick that makes use of the pull off. Very common technique in playing lead guitar.
In this example, you use two pull-offs. One on the second string from the eighth fret to the fifth. Then one on the third string from the seventh fret to the fifth. This technique can be utilized on all the stings in the scale. Or any scale for that matter. You just have to make sure you know the interval of the notes.
In this last example, a combination of techniques is used. You start with sliding up to the fifth fret on the first string then the eighth fret on the second string with a pull off from the eighth fret to the fifth. Then you proceed to the third string seventh fret down to the second string fifth fret back up to the third string seventh fret with a bend then play the fifth fret on the same string with a tremolo added.
Utilizing personality techniques to create guitar phrasing that sounds interesting.
If you just play the scale (any scale no matter what kind it is major, minor, diminished, etc) by itself it sounds good played in the correct place on the fretboard and at the right time. But when you use techniques like bends, slides, hammer-ons etc the scales come alive with personality. Your personality. They become an expression of you.
This is what you are aiming for. Being able to put you into the music. And the best way to do this is by learning guitar licks from songs of your favorite players. You start out by:
1.) Learning the scale pattern (start with something simple like the pentatonic)
2.) Learning the individual licks (bends, slides, vibrato etc)
3.) Learn to read these in tablature format
4.) Look at solos from your favorite players
5.) See how these are put together to create phrasing
6.) Use these concepts and techniques to create your own solos.
Follow a system to accomplish all this faster!
The best way to go about this is to follow a system that can clearly show you how to do this. That is why I wrote Lead Guitar Wizardry. A book that clearly shows you in a clear and concise way of accomplishing exactly what is stated above. This system will show you exactly how to get started playing lead guitar in such a way that it will be fun and easy to understand.
Although you will still need to study & practice on a daily basis. Because like I’ve stated before, lead guitar playing requires more discipline and a higher commitment to the instrument. So if you feel this is you, check out the book. It will teach you all you need to know to get headed in the right direction of becoming a lead guitar player.
Until the next lesson, take care.