I've been doing the same thing for a while now. I've been playing acoustic guitar for a year and just recently got an electric. While I had the acoustic I would play heavy metal on it despite what it was. It sounded good and thats all I needed at that time. And I'm talking stuff like Avenged Sevenfolds Waking the fallen album music or All that Remains and even stuff that connects to Chelsea grin and Whitechapel. I had all the heavy Chugs in there and when I got my electric I was thrilled because I already knew how to do all this stuff. So heres where I pose the problem, or rather problems.

I also would like to remind that I have nothing close to a fancy guitar like what I want but can't afford. I have a squier stratocaster with a starter amp that lacks in distortion. All it has is treble, and bass... thats it...

1. I've played mostly rhythm because I can't solo... so how do I solo and what is required of me?

2. Do I need better equipment to enable myself to take that step forward?

3. I'm not the greatest guitarist but I think I sound pretty good. And I have no knowledge of music theory. If you told me to strum a g chord I would have no clue what you are saying. I taught myself mind you by experience and reading tablature. No music theory. Can I get away with this lack of knowledge whilst trying to write my own music?

Thanks in advance. (sorry this is so long)
1- same as how you learned to play rhythm, practise

2- it helps, but it's not essential. as long as it sounds good and plays good.. though looking good ain't a bad thing too :

3- worked for Kurt Kobain, and as much as I despise his music it's still considered massively popular and influential- apparently he didn't know a slither of theory
1. Start by learning simple solos, like Green Day, and then progress towards harder ones, and learn the basic techniques. In my opinion it is easier to become a good lead player as you can get away with not being in time, whereas a rhythm player can't.

2. If you're happy with what you have, then you don't need better gear. Although for a little money you could get a nice amp which would make playing a lot more enjoyable. For now the guitar you have will be fine. Amps such as the Roland Cube or Microcube and the Peavey Vypyrs would be ones to check out.

3. Yes.
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Oh and thanks for the info. Do you guys suggest any good solos to start off with. Just as a starter I'm a fan of metal if you didnt notice. Mostly newer stuff. The only older metal I like is Megadeth's earlier works.
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Yeah that makes since, but actually I never hear very nice things about squiers. Why's that?

Most people make assumptions based on the brand. Squier are like the cheaper version of Fender, so people think that price=quality therefore its a bad brand. It's often true, but that doesn't mean a cheap guitar will ALWAYS be awful
I think the guitar itself is great the amp is good just it has a lot of fuzzy playback and lacks in variety for distortion but it still delivers. And when your as cheap as me that is alot of money to shell out. I payed $200 dollars for mine. To me thats alot I have no job...
I can say from my own experience, squiers can sometimes top fenders a lot! Especially the higher-end squiers! Never rank a guitar by it's brand That's the biggest mistake possible!
Zacky Vengeance is the rhythm guitarist for Avenged Sevenfold is self-taught and is a really tight guitar player. He's also good at soloing. I'm sure that their are better self-taught guitarists who are well known but none come to mine.
Aside from trying simple solo's you might want to get some better dexterity of your fingers which there are exercises all over the place because when it comes to the harder solo's that require fancier finger-work you want to be able to reach and fret properly the notes required.

As for equipment you should only think about new gear if you feel uncomfortable playing your current gear or if you are over it's sound, as an example when I went from my Ibanez Art 300 to my Schecter I found it so much easier to perform solos because the neck feels thinner and skinnier.

Knowing theory helps but if you are only learning solos from songs then I wouldn't worry unless you want to improvise or play with a band then knowing some scales and how progressions work come in handy.
You indicated that you can read tablature. Do I have that correct? If so, then that's a start, at least. Lots of tabs are entire solos, note for note, and if they are accurate and you can learn them, then you can play just like the guitarist in the recording. The notes of the solo will come naturally out of the chords in the song's progression, so if you are a good rhythm player, you already have it half-licked. Start with a slower tempo solo and build your way up to the faster and fancier ones.

Equipment-wise, although you can learn to play your favorite songs, note-for-note, getting the same tone as the guitarists you like is a different matter. Tone is a three-way mix of the guitar, the amp and effects used, and a given guitarist's playing style. All three combine to create the tones that have become so famous. As has been said before, practice and more practice is the key to achieving the style, and the quality of the guitar, amp, and other gear come next. So, don't be disappointed because you might not get the tone you're looking for with what you have to work with now. Save up your money toward upgrading your gear eventually and just do the best you can for the time being. Along the way you may find that you don't want to sound like Joe So and So anyway, but that you have created your OWN sound in the process of learning. And that's what it's all about.

You don't need to know a lot of music theory to write songs nowadays, in our age of electronic gadgets. All you need is something to record yourself with. It helps to know about basic chord progression, scales, keys and such if you play with a band and it's something that you've got to know if you want to, for example write tabs and share them with other players. We need to know what chords are in the progression and where they fall with the lyrics. This is vital to the proper timing of the song. But, you don't need to worry about that right now. Just practice and save up for the gear you want eventually.
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Just so you know, you don't need to know and music theory to play chords. But you need to play chords if you want to call yourself a guitarist.

Learn your chords in this order:

G, C, D

E, A

E minor, A minor, D minor,

F, B minor

That's the basics, and you can move onto more complicated chords afterwards if you wish.

don't move onto the next set until you can easily switch between chords. Try learning some Simon and Garfunkel or Beatles songs for practice.

An easy way to both practice chords and soloing would be to record the following chords somehow and try soloing over them:

C, G, Am, Em, F, C, G, G (repeat from beginning)


Use the notes on that link as a guideline to what notes you should play on the guitar. After a while, you'll figure out what sounds good and internalize/memorize the scale without really trying.

http://all-guitar-chords.com/ is a great website for anything you want in terms of theory.
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Last edited by fearofthemark at Jul 5, 2011,