12 Somewhat Technical Leads For Aspiring Beginners

A few hand-picked leads that can help beginners progress, and possibly impress while doing so.

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Ok, this is my first article, so "constructive criticism" is welcome, naturally. The idea for writing this has been on my mind for a while. I was playing at my school's talent show, and this 8th grade kid was walking around asking the guitarists if they could "solo". That's lame, right? For one thing, who cares? We're all at our different levels, and you shouldn't be judged by that. But the ridiculous thing is that you don't just automatically "solo" at some point of your progress (sorry if that dissapoints some of you). You have to work up to it, like everything else. You didn't start riding a two-wheeler bike.

I, for one, had a big wheel. Then came the bike with training wheels. I'd get better, then I had the training wheels taken off. Point being, picture so-called "soloing" - or, the ability to play advanced and technical leads- to be like your progression of riding a bike. The big-wheel is your standard riff (Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin, Back In Black by AC/DC).

The two wheeler would be your usual ripping solo. This article will give you some training wheels to get from playing Boulevard Of Broken Dreams to Iron Maiden solos. I've tried to include a somewhat wide range of music here, so bear with me. Sorry for the bike analogy... Anyways, now to start. Majority of the tabs for these songs can be found on this site, I believe.

I'll rate (the best I can) the difficulty a beginner might have with these leads.

  • * -- Easy, minimal skills/experience required
  • **
  • *** -- Practice it, you'll get it
  • ****
  • ***** -- Difficult; take it slow and practice a lot

    Without further ado:

    01. Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love -- Van Halen **

    This song has a great main riff, and a great (and quite simple! ) solo, which repeats twice. On the recording, there are two guitars playing different things during fragments of the solo. I suggest putting on some headphones and listening to the guitar coming out of the left ear, as it is the lead. Pretty simple, with some cool parts, and sounds really good. One of EVH's simplest works.

    02. Don't Speak -- No Doubt ***

    There is a great little lead in this during the song's bridge. For a beginner, it is pretty technical, but it has a great flamenco sound to it. It clearly utilizes scales, and is good practice for a starter. It uses scales and some chords for it's sound. Don't let the band or genre discourage you; this is a good lead and could possibly impress some people. Give it a try.

    03. Black Dog -- Led Zeppelin ***

    This isn't so much a solo, but the main riff of the song. It doesn't use the pinkey, but it's still pretty technical, and sounds great too. Demonstrates how scales can be used to make riffs. Take it slow when learning, you'll get the hang pretty quick.

    04. To The Moon And Back -- Savage Garden ***

    This is very similar sounding to Don't Speak. Has some particular tricky parts, and can look really cool if played up to speed, or even faster than normal. Sounds great.

    05. Walking A Country Mile -- ??? *** (and a half)

    Not sure who's song this is. I learned it from a beginner guitar book a long time ago. It can teach beginners how to use hammer-ons and bends, and sounds really great too. It is, obviously, a country song, but if you don't like country, well, learn it anyway! Just play it in front of your friends for laughs or something. This can be quite valuable for developing your two-string bends, which are also heavily-emphasized in blues.

    06. Johnny B. Goode -- Chuck Berry ***

    A classic. Covers most of the simple techniques. Ask any guitar teacher if they can play this and they'll say "yes", guaranteed. The solo Marty McFly plays in Back to the future? Oh yes... (Also, if you play this, I think (not totally sure) that it ends on the same note as Black Dog starts, so you can go right into Black Dog from it)

    07. Bloodstains -- Agent Orange ***

    Classic surf-punk song. I think it was in one of the "Tony Hawk Pro Skater" games, so naturally a lot of people have heard it. This song features a great surf solo, impresses anybody who will listen. While it doesn't have the pick-liquifying speed of a Dick Dale song, it's still a little fast for beginners. Just give it a try. Another Agent Orange option is Everything Turns Grey. I would highly suggest getting this lead down.

    08. Hit Me With Your Best Shot -- Pat Benetar ****

    I played this song at a school talent show, but I played my own version of the solo. The recorded version does have a pretty spiffy solo in it though. There is a repeated hammer-on pull-off riff in the song that moves up the fretboard and sounds pretty cool. Also features bends and a few pinch harmonics. Great practice.

    09. You Shook Me All Night Long -- AC-(thunderbolt)-DC ****

    Everybody loves this song. If you don't know it, you should. This solo is getting a bit more technical, but practice and you'll get it with ease. A bit bluesy sounding (but only a bit), with lots of bends. Practice makes perfect...

    10. Runnin' with the Devil -- Van Halen ****

    One of Van Halen's more advanced simpler solos, strange as that sounds. This one'll definetely impress the untrained ear (maybe get you some girls?!). Played pretty quickly, a bend or two in there.

    11. True Nature -- Jane's Addiction ****

    This one sounds very tricky when you listen to it, but it isn't actually that difficult to play. As you'll find, a lot of solos are like that. Anyways, this is one of Jane's newer songs (which aren't as good as the old in my opinion), and it sounds great, sure to impress. Heavy emphasis on the pull-off in the beginning, and huge bending toward the end. A simpler Dave Navarro lead, my favorite guitarist of the nineties.

    12. Stairway To Heaven -- Led Zeppelin *****

    Sorry to mention the really obvious one, but before you roll your eyes, know that lots of people got into guitar from this song alone. This can be very tricky to play, but it isn't really that bad. You obviously aren't gonna get Page's tone, but this is one of the most classic solos of all time (if not the most), and it's a hell of an ego booster if you can rip your way through it. Just take it slow and learn it note for note, and I guarantee that you'll feel great when you can play it. This was the first real (think two wheeler) solo that I ever played through. If not this song, then pick another difficult solo and work your way up to it as a goal. When you learn it, you'll feel great and know you reached a certain level.

    Anyways, that was just to name a few intermediate options for people. As always, practice makes pefect, and don't show off unless you got it totally wired. Learn your scales and don't let anyone talk down to you. You'll get better, you can only go up, right? The most important thing while playing things like this is to just have fun. That way, you can't go wrong...

  • 128 comments sorted by best / new / date

      Zavorash
      great article. Perhaps you can write another (or two) in the spirit of this one.
      lizzie23
      im a beginner n i need sumone to explain me how to play tabs lol and ive a Q ,, which one is easier playing the bass or playing the guitar??
      Bulletbass man
      Sweet child o mine should not be eleven there is one part in the solo that very few beginners could play up to speed. That is too who ever said that that should be eleven. But this article is great. Very good list of songs that can lead up to greatness. I think heartbreaker should be 13. That song is just amazing and the solo is fast but not that hard and you don't need effects beginners don't have
      fat-ass-pidgeon
      dan_the_pie: screw the author of this lame article. he sucks
      dan_the_pie...you are a ***in dick. ive seen you baggin on so many good articles writen here. you need help. i needed to say that. great article man. stairway was one of the first solos i learned. it was hard but worth the work once i got it. also sweet child was a good one i learned early on. 5 stars.
      chris5150
      this article was great man, i love to go through beginners articles and make sure i can do everything, juuu..st in case i caant do something. like i never actually finished learning the stairway to heaven solo..... thanx man great article again
      ZoSo_guy
      eruption is not that great of a solo...its just tapping...no big deal...stairway to heaven on the other hand, is one big lead which means that its far better than tapping.
      gonzosrevenge55
      i'd add hazy shade of winter. i think it's a paul simon song originally (lame, i know...but it's a really cool riff), but i learned the bodyjar version. not terribly hard, but a good one if you're just experimenting with solos.
      ac/guns n zep
      mikeman: Eruption?! 3!!!??? You're kiddin' me, Right?! So apparently Stairway is harder than Eruption. dumbass
      No i meant that Eruption should be 3 and Stairway like maybe 2. Im just tired of people acting like Eruption is the greatest solo of all time. Its not and far from it.
      Para_g
      this helped me loads i started learning johnny b goode today and was wondering what sort of thing i should move on to afterwards
      put_it_on_mytab
      good article.i never used the training wheels,i just rode downhill until i could learn to pedal,but good analogy. 5 stars
      Shinook
      great article most people cant be bothered to write any so good job regardless of what its like
      caucasian_ninja
      dan_the_pie: screw the author of this lame article. he sucks [POSTED: 23 August 2005 - 17:25]|
      AllPlayDead666: this is a joke right? O_o [POSTED: 25 August 2005 - 031]|
      Go *** yourselves. Let me clear this up: I wrote this article for BEGINNERS. I made Stairway a 5 because it's the most difficult lead on there. I don't believe it's that hard a solo, it's just that some beginners hear things like that and start to get all these crazy ideas in their head like "I want to play guitar", and they think that any solo is really hard. My point was, it's not that hard, if that's the solo or whatever that got you into guitar, just go for it and learn it. On a real scale of five for advanced solos, I'd rate it a 2 and a half, and eruption a 3 and a half or 4. Where did eruption come from anyways? I don't think I ever mentioned that... To answer some questions: I heard the country song on this old record my uncle has, and I somehow managed to find tabs for it. Look around somewhere, maybe their off the web by now. Most maiden solos are way too hard for beginners. I'll say the second part of Number of the Beast (Adrian's part) isn't that difficult. Also, his part in The Wicker Man is a pretty cool thing to learn. And any of their little fairytale riffs (thats what I call them), like in Afraid to Shoot Strangers, are cool too. Sorry, you're right, Hotel California should definetely have been in there. I wrote this late at night.... The Savage Garden solo was for the acoustic part (although I like to play it on clean with a lot of reverb instead) And I'm sorry, but I don't listen to everything and this is all stuff from my own collection. I don't listen to Metallica, Steve Vai, or Guns N' Roses. I've heard them all of course, but Steve Vai, for instance, just doesn't interest me. I'm not that into shredding. I prefer Dave Navarro or Alex Lifeson (though some of his stuff is what I would call shredding) to the whole "play as fast as you can guitar pro" type thing that Vai's got. That's not a diss on him though, he is amazing. That's about all I have to say. Thank you for all the positive feedback, I was a bit nervous to post this, but I guess it was worth it. I hope you found it useful.
      bootyguard
      Well Stairway to Heaven's solo is quite good, but compared to the shredding style solos its a 4 or 5 if you're counting to 10. But, hey that's the first solo I learned (can't really play it entirely right though, but whatever). BTW, I love the AC (Thunderbolt) DC. HAHA! Good for begginners, or people looking into soloing, but i'd suggest you make the list a lot longer and divide it into catagories of big wheel, training wheels, and bmx bike. That way you can please the shredders by putting all the Vai solos on bmx bike or motocross section, and you can make this article literaly useful for everyone, not just begginners.
      mikeman
      Eruption?! 3!!!??? You're kiddin' me, Right?! So apparently Stairway is harder than Eruption. dumbass
      Slash Haircut
      hmmm, Eruption aint even mentioned in the article, so why are some people talking about it?
      lead_guitar5
      Eruption is far from 6 stars. its like maybe 3. Listen to some Steve Vai or Satriani or Petrucci, thats where youll here five stars.
      I agree. I think Eugene's Trick Bag should be at * * * * * and eruption at *** or something. But this article is for beginners so... 5 stars because I enjoyed reading it
      Annihilator
      wtf, it wouldn't let me put in the five asterisks..... yeah that was supposed to be five of 'em.
      Annihilator
      Nice article, it was pretty good for a first article. I also see that you forgot to put in a *(easy) solo in for all of the people that think Billy Joe Armstrong and Kurt Cobain are the best guitarists in the world lol. Anyways, five stars ***...
      shoolocomous
      i didnt find stairway to heaven that hard, and it was the first thing i learnt on guitar heh. but it is an awesome solo. . . with black dog do you mean the riff or the actual solo, because i found the *solo* to be harder than stairway to heavens, obviously the riff is pretty easy. but then you listen to somthing like master of puppets and think . . .oh my fuking god gimme a chance ! I'll try that 1 again when ive been learning for more than 6 months lol nice article.
      Xx_banx
      I also see that you forgot to put in a *(easy) solo in for all of the people that think Billy Joe Armstrong and Kurt Cobain are the best guitarists in the world
      roflmfao yes, #1 should have been smells like teen spirit(*). i learned that all the way through including the massivly easy solo years agio in 8th grade. nice of you to make an article for beginners man. there should be more people like you around here, and less people like that dick*** dan_the_pie. 4.20 stars because 4:20 is just that cool.
      JLJohnson_21
      Theres no way in hell that Kirk can play anywhere near that. Only guys like Vai can do that. But even if it was, tapping speed doesnt really count cause tapping is like the easiest thing in the world, as opposed to alternate picking etc. speed.
      yeah it is easy as hell so thats why he can play so fast. i've been playing a year and a half and can tap 14 notes a second and he's been playing over 20 years.
      RevolverX
      The worst part about my first year on the guitar was that all my heroes were uber good -- Warren DeMartini, Zakk, Dime, Frank Marino, Hendrix, George Lynch, Rhoads. I slaved over their work, and was constantly getting discouraged and hitting ruts. At the same time, setting the bar high is what motivates me to practice all day long from time to time. So - while it's tough, I think you've made good picks and beginners SHOULD always aspire to do stuff much harder than what's at their ability.
      DropD_Todd
      Im just tired of people acting like Eruption is the greatest solo of all time. Its not and far from it.
      It got voted 2nd greatest by the readers of guitar world
      Green_Day_Rock
      Sunshine of Your Love has a pretty simple lead bit, could have been in there somewhere. otherwise great!
      dude12
      freindly article i like it, but eruption i wouldn't classify as a begginer song. it kinda crazy!
      killtrix
      Great article with some good directional playability for beginners. How about Zakk's solo for Ozzy's" Mama I'm Coming Home", easy yet melodic as hell! Mainly played on E maj 9th position with a couple of double note bends for good measure and a sweee..t little run at the end. Try it ,you might like it. Thanks again for a great article.
      (sic)kid
      Lol there's like no 1 stars for the newbies, that mighta helped em out if you did, plus I wouldn't rate You Shook Me All Night Long as a 4 star, but rather a 2 and a half star. Good advice, nevertheless.
      Wickerman_18
      yeah i like that statement about iron maiden solos thier really hard but thier riffs r more fun to play for eg aces high and so on nice article .
      Guitar_Poet
      ac/guns n zep: eruption should be 6 stars. good article, though i didnt agree with black dog, i think its harder than running with the devil, it might be because i learned black dog when i was less experiienced and i learned running with the devil in like 2 minutes when i was more experienced, but still. Eruption is far from 6 stars. its like maybe 3. Listen to some Steve Vai or Satriani or Petrucci, thats where youll here five stars. [POSTED: 22 August 2005 - 17:35]|
      oh man, someone else who listens to good music! =P just kidding, i listen to it all, but vai, satch, and petrucci happen to be a few of my favorites
      hhamdy283
      ^and yes, I did end a sentence with a preposition, so nobody call me on my grammar.
      hhamdy283
      OK, this kicks ass. Could someone please publish a catalogue of solos by difficulty? It would be easier on the n00bs and would give more experienced players an idea of where they are at. Oh, btw, five stars.
      ac/guns n zep
      JLJohnson_21: you should have the One solo in there for a 5 star'er. the beggining is tapping at its finest. i slowed it down and counted it and kirk's playing 24 notes a second!
      Theres no way in hell that Kirk can play anywhere near that. Only guys like Vai can do that. But even if it was, tapping speed doesnt really count cause tapping is like the easiest thing in the world, as opposed to alternate picking etc. speed.
      the eliminator
      for stairway to heaven i can play the song i had 2 take peice by peice and play through it and i got it in about a day and i can play the whole thing solo and everything from the intro