UseMyIllusion
Registered User
Join date: May 2011
80 IQ
#1
Hey! I've been trying to start playing lead guitar but I'm having a lot of trouble. When people ask me to play a lead guitar part I can never think of what to play and end up looking a fool.

I would say I'm pretty good at rhythm, I can play most chords in different positions around the neck and invert them etc, but when it comes to lead guitar I really struggle, I know scales etc, but it feels like guesswork trying to write a lead guitar part.

How do I play good lead parts? Do I learn a lot of licks so I can put them into my solo, or something completely different?

Also what scale do I use? Say if the chord progression is (G major, E minor, C major, D major) Do I play a G major scale/Eminor scale? Or do I just stick around 1 scale.

Also when I play lead I usually use arpeggiated chords and add hammer ons and stuff, but it just seems so bland when it's the only thing I do, Cheers!
mdc
UG's Mr Chord Man
Join date: Feb 2008
60 IQ
#2
You'd use the G major scale over all that. Have you tried soloing using a technique called rhythmic density?
mdc
UG's Mr Chord Man
Join date: Feb 2008
60 IQ
#4
Just use the G major scale, it's simpler.

Rhythmic density is the amount of notes per beat.

"Sparse" (S) means whole notes, half notes, quarters.
"Dense" (D) means eighths, triplets, 16ths.

Eighths are the line between dense and sparse.

Create some phrases that go:
1) S - D - S
2) D - S -D

Create a phrase that develops:
1) D to S
2) S to D
UseMyIllusion
Registered User
Join date: May 2011
80 IQ
#5
Cheers that makes sense
The only problem is the phrase haha, I'm really not good at creating melodies on the spot or anything, I always get asked to play a solo and I just sit there blank, I find it hard to play something which I can't feel, I dislike playing loads of notes which mean nothing.
The only problem is I haven't developed my own lead playing so I really struggle to make any phrases melodies etc
Sleepy__Head
A cornucopia of trivia
Join date: Jul 2011
10 IQ
#6
Quote by UseMyIllusion
How do I play good lead parts? Do I learn a lot of licks so I can put them into my solo, or something completely different?


Yes and no.

You do need to learn a certain amount of other people's stuff because that's partly what half-decent musicians do (just like half-decent novellists study other people's novels).

You could also do with practicing "being creative" because that's a skill just like any other skill. There are any number of ways you can go about this, but the gist of it is that you hear the melody in your head and then play that on the guitar (rather than just mindlessly letting your fingers do the walking, as it were). You can do that with or without some kind of backing track, with or without additional - more specific - goals ("I'm just going to use 4 notes for this solo and wring all the music I can out of them"). Sometimes it helps if you record what you're playing - you can revisit it later and decide which bits you like best. If you're stuck on how to develop melodies from basic building blocks there's a half-decent guide here. (Don't try and do everything in the guide at once - try one technique at a time and gradually build on that until you're familiar with the various ways you can develop melodies (which is what soloes are). Once you've done that try combining, say, a couple of those methods at once. And so on.
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mdc
UG's Mr Chord Man
Join date: Feb 2008
60 IQ
#7
Ok, you'd do well to study some blues solos. Even if you don't like blues, it's important to you as a musician, cuz it's a "roots" style. Meaning that's it's a genre of music that influences every generation of performers.

Blues solos contain great phrasing. Study BB King. Very simple, but effective.
HotspurJr
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
82 IQ
#8
Quote by UseMyIllusion
I know scales etc, but it feels like guesswork trying to write a lead guitar part.

How do I play good lead parts? Do I learn a lot of licks so I can put them into my solo, or something completely different?

Also what scale do I use? Say if the chord progression is (G major, E minor, C major, D major) Do I play a G major scale/Eminor scale? Or do I just stick around 1 scale.

Also when I play lead I usually use arpeggiated chords and add hammer ons and stuff, but it just seems so bland when it's the only thing I do, Cheers!


Well, kudos for recognizing that your current approach isn't working. There are a lot of guitarists out there who never get past that point.

Second, yes, with the chord progression you listed you would play G Major. But understand that G major and E minor are different scales. Stop thinking of them interchangeably - they're not. In the different key contexts the same notes have different "meanings."

And that gets to the thing you have to do now. You have to get away from thinking of a scale as a collection of safe notes, and instead start to understand it as a series of notes which each have a unique relationship to the tonic center.

So start by using the functional ear trainer, a free download from miles.be. It will be really hard at first. Keep at it.

Then start transcribing. Start with basic melodies - because really, a good lead part has a melody - and gradually move to learning more complicated guitar parts by ear.

The key to this is that ear training is really mind training: you are teaching your brain how to think in tones. Studying other players leads will help you understand what they're doing, which should inspire you, but training your ear will also help you tap into the music inside you, so that you can write music the same way you'd write a poem or an essay: brain first.

It makes all the difference in the world.
Tempoe
. . . ∆ . . .
Join date: Oct 2008
210 IQ
#9
Get some basic backing tracks in any key. You need to learn major/minor/pent scales in at least 1 position to start. If you know these already, expand with bends slides etc till you get some feeling, then just keep at it for a few years
Last edited by Tempoe at Oct 30, 2012,
UseMyIllusion
Registered User
Join date: May 2011
80 IQ
#10
Cheers guys! I'll start analyzing other players and try and learn their music by ear, I usually use tab, but they're normally wrong and I need to train my ear, I've just downloaded the functional ear trainer.

Also could you describe to me what "Transcribe" means, I've checked google and it's not helping haha :/
J-Dawg158
UG's Resident Dhampyr
Join date: Nov 2008
30 IQ
#11
Transcribe means to listen to a song and figure out how to play it by ear. Traditionally for the purpose of writing or tabbing it out, but the main focus is to develop your ear to the point you can learn music just by hearing it.
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UseMyIllusion
Registered User
Join date: May 2011
80 IQ
#12
Quote by J-Dawg158
Transcribe means to listen to a song and figure out how to play it by ear. Traditionally for the purpose of writing or tabbing it out, but the main focus is to develop your ear to the point you can learn music just by hearing it.


How long does this take to get good at?
HotspurJr
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
82 IQ
#13
It completely varies.

And it's also not a binary thing (good at it or not). Your ear is always developing, always growing. The functional ear trainer will help.

Your goal is just to keep getting better.
z4twenny
UG's resident Psychopath
Join date: Nov 2005
50 IQ
#14
Quote by UseMyIllusion
How long does this take to get good at?

Good being relative, it takes your whole life. By the time you get to where you think you want to be you'll already be looking at the new things you want to do and learn. About the time you can ear out the rhythm sections you'll already be wanting to do leads. Got both of those down then you'll want to do piano or orchestra arrangements, really its never ending
UseMyIllusion
Registered User
Join date: May 2011
80 IQ
#15
Quote by HotspurJr
It completely varies.

And it's also not a binary thing (good at it or not). Your ear is always developing, always growing. The functional ear trainer will help.

Your goal is just to keep getting better.


I guess my main goal is to be able to play what I feel, I don't want to tap/shred etc, I kinda like Jimi hendrix/John frusciante approach to guitar, but i'm not sure how I can let them inspire my lead guitar, do I learn their licks/riffs etc?

I've focused a lot on frusciante's rhythm playing and i've gotten a lot better by doing that, but I really need to get better at melodies/riffs etc
mdc
UG's Mr Chord Man
Join date: Feb 2008
60 IQ
#16
Transcribe melodies that you know really well, like The Simpsons, Family Guy. I'm being serious. If you can sing it and pitch correctly, all you've got to do is take it note by note, and find it on the guitar.

Persevere. It depends how much you want to get and good, and how quickly you want to progress.

miles.be is good for interval recognition but that's all. Use that to improve on your intervals.

But really, transcribe melodies.

Don't worry about chords for now.

and remember this, if you can sing it, you can play it. Cuz if you can sing it, it means you have it internalized. And that is the most important thing.

Have it inside you. Can you sing the major scale without the guitar?..... in diatonic 4ths?
HotspurJr
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
82 IQ
#17
Quote by mdc

miles.be is good for interval recognition but that's all. Use that to improve on your intervals.


Actually, no. Miles.be is about scale degrees, not intervals. Huge difference.

Agreed on the rest of your comments, though.
HotspurJr
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
82 IQ
#19
It's a different kind of trainer than any other I've seen. Figure out what's wrong with your system and fix it. It appears to download fine on my computer.
CryogenicHusk
wannabe guitarist
Join date: Apr 2012
90 IQ
#22
Quote by UseMyIllusion
The miles.be functional ear trainer won't download, keeps saying there's an error, is there any other websites I could use?


I had trouble downloading it on chrome. Try doing it from a different web browser.
mdc
UG's Mr Chord Man
Join date: Feb 2008
60 IQ
#23
Quote by chronowarp
I have a book full of different theories.

1. rhythm guitar theory
2. lead guitar theory
3. bass theory
4. complimentary counter melody theory
5. hammer on theory

Are you actually :-D ?
mdc
UG's Mr Chord Man
Join date: Feb 2008
60 IQ
#25
Quote by chronowarp
i almost forgot about sweep picking theory

odd numbers going across strings in one direction, even numbers to change direction.
ty frank gambale.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNt2HwiaXZ8
One sick mother ****a yo!
Last edited by mdc at Oct 30, 2012,
ibanez1511
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2008
20 IQ
#27
How do I write good lead parts ?

A piece of advice I have learn't over time is this :
We perceive a good solo as being predominantly about techniques.
This is one the reasons guitar magazines churn out solo after solo filled to the brim with technical transcriptions.

I would advise you learn melodies/studies.
Nursery rhymes,Pop Songs,Classical single note studies. Ideally juts short 8 to 16 bar arrangements.
Try to learn them dry.I.e Without bends/slurs 3 finger slide tapping techniques.
If have a repertoire of melodies, you will fall back into them when you improvise. And the techniques will come naturally to support the existing melody.And it will sound Musical.


How do I know which scale to use ?

This is a theory related question.I would advise you follow a curriculum of music theory. Ideally with a tutor.By learning in this way you will fully understand and apply each concept before moving to the next.
here are a couple of links to get you started on this path, if you want!
http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_7?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lcm+popular+music+theory&sprefix=lcm+pop%2Caps%2C0


and

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Theory-Music-Workbook-Trinity-Guildhall/dp/0857360000/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351630022&sr=8-1
or
abrsm music theory
UseMyIllusion
Registered User
Join date: May 2011
80 IQ
#28
Quote by ibanez1511
How do I write good lead parts ?


I would advise you learn melodies/studies.
Nursery rhymes,Pop Songs,Classical single note studies. Ideally juts short 8 to 16 bar arrangements.



Could you suggest any songs I could learn?

Also I have no money to buy any theory books so I'll just get searching on the internet, cheers
AeolianWolf
Tonal Vigilante
Join date: Jul 2009
20 IQ
#29
Quote by UseMyIllusion
Could you suggest any songs I could learn?

Also I have no money to buy any theory books so I'll just get searching on the internet, cheers


http://www.musictheory.net.

don't skip a single lesson. this will teach you quite a lot - including how to read music.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
UseMyIllusion
Registered User
Join date: May 2011
80 IQ
#30
Quote by AeolianWolf
http://www.musictheory.net.

don't skip a single lesson. this will teach you quite a lot - including how to read music.


I've been to that website before, I learnt some stuff from it but ultimately give up thinking that it wasn't really relevant to what I wanted to do, But I see it differently now, and seeing as i've just moved from high school to do a course in music at college I think it's in my best interest to learn everything from there.
AeolianWolf
Tonal Vigilante
Join date: Jul 2009
20 IQ
#31
Quote by UseMyIllusion
I've been to that website before, I learnt some stuff from it but ultimately give up thinking that it wasn't really relevant to what I wanted to do, But I see it differently now, and seeing as i've just moved from high school to do a course in music at college I think it's in my best interest to learn everything from there.


good, i'm glad to see you woke up. if you're doing anything with music, everything contained on that site is relevant.

can you imagine what an advantage it is to be able to use theory to reproduce sounds because you were able to analyze them? can you imagine what an advantage it is to hear a moving, powerful passage in an orchestral work, obtain the sheet music, and be able to read it to analyze what's going on in (and subsequently be able to reproduce the sound in your own music)? can you imagine what an advantage it is to be able to figure out how to play exactly what you hear in your head? powerful advantages that, sad to say, many, many guitarists do not have. it's their loss - but if you're aware (that is to say, you know what you do not know), you are well on your way to becoming better.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Mister A.J.
Ker-Blang-a-Woggle
Join date: May 2011
62 IQ
#32
Listen and study blues music. It truly helps one understand phrasing a bit better.
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AeolianWolf
Tonal Vigilante
Join date: Jul 2009
20 IQ
#33
Quote by Mister A.J.
Listen and study blues music. It truly helps one understand phrasing a bit better.


even better - listen to and study jazz. that'll really get you to learn phrasing. blues is a lot easier to half-ass -- in jazz, you either learn to phrase or you sound boring. there's really no in-between.
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MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
Join date: Oct 2009
1,213 IQ
#34
If you feel that what you play makes no sense and lacks the content, try only using three notes. You might notice that with only three notes you can do lots of stuff. Rhythm is also important.
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Mister A.J.
Ker-Blang-a-Woggle
Join date: May 2011
62 IQ
#35
Quote by AeolianWolf
even better - listen to and study jazz. that'll really get you to learn phrasing. blues is a lot easier to half-ass -- in jazz, you either learn to phrase or you sound boring. there's really no in-between.

You know, that's probably a much better idea on second thought.
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AeolianWolf
Tonal Vigilante
Join date: Jul 2009
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#36
Quote by Mister A.J.
You know, that's probably a much better idea on second thought.




i mean, it's important to learn blues phrasing, too - being able to play jazz doesn't necessarily mean you can play blues. but jazz is basically sink or swim. with blues, it's much easier to get away with "i can play the minor pentatonic in one shape :B".

maggara's got another good idea - limit yourself to a certain number of notes. it definitely works, and it'll force you to explore some new possibilities.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Mister A.J.
Ker-Blang-a-Woggle
Join date: May 2011
62 IQ
#37
Quote by AeolianWolf


i mean, it's important to learn blues phrasing, too - being able to play jazz doesn't necessarily mean you can play blues. but jazz is basically sink or swim. with blues, it's much easier to get away with "i can play the minor pentatonic in one shape :B".

maggara's got another good idea - limit yourself to a certain number of notes. it definitely works, and it'll force you to explore some new possibilities.

Definitely. The note limitation is also an insanely good idea, and it works tremendously well.
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metalmetalhead
Panterica
Join date: May 2007
86 IQ
#38
learning music by ear is what will really help your solos, train that ear.

The Key of the song is going to sound like home, songs usually stay in 1 key You can hear key changes. Just find the note that sound like home thats your key.
UseMyIllusion
Registered User
Join date: May 2011
80 IQ
#39
Cheers guys, i'll be sure to try all of these, I'm really not too confident on jazz but i'll give it a shot and get some lessons online, I'm not looking to play anything complicated on lead because it's not really my thing.
But yeah, i'll get online and start learning jazz/blues
dogmax
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2008
63 IQ
#40
It doesn't necessarily have to be blues. Find some music that really turns you on, musically.

I feel my skills with soloing actually increase when im not playing, since I tend to imagine the lines that I would play if i had a guitar. That's when play around with developing melodies and making them evolve into other phrases.