#1
I'm a guitar player, who has been playing for around two years, and when it comes to playing lead, I am stuck. I have learned how to play the minor pentatonic scales, and the blues variations of the scales. I don't know how to change between the major and minor scales. I need help with what I need to learn in order for me to play lead fluently.
Last edited by Ethan_Blalock at Sep 15, 2016,
#2
As someone who never really used a lot of theory for my playing, I can advise to just play, play, play! use your ears and just mess around until you figure something out. theres a tonne of greats out there that never really paid attention to theory and just laid down licks that felt right. but it depends on what style and sound youre going for! Im not saying Theory isnt needed because it helps a lot for a lot of different things but from personal experience, you dont need it to be a good lead player.

Hope this helps
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#4
the most important thing to get your head around, IMO, is the relationship between chords and scales. When you play a note over a chord it has an effect on that chord, in some ways it's no different to simply fingering an extra note on that chord. Some notes will strengthen the harmony, particularly the chord tones themselves, whilst others will destabilise the chord...and some will be downright dissonant.

Tension and resolution, motion and contrast...those are the things that make music interesting, things changing - and the more different things are the more noticeable that change will be. So if your solo consisted entirely of chord tones it would be melodically pleasant but probably a bit forgettable, however using some more unstable scale tones and dissonant notes is what really brings a solo to life.

The trick us to use them in the right way, take the Hotel California solo as an example. Right at the beginning there's an overbend at 4:20, a slightly off sounding Bb at 4:24 (the song's in B minor) and a lazy bend at the end of that passage at 4:25 that isn't entirely sure if it wants to be an A or a Bb. However those notes are positioned in a pleasant, melodic context. We notice them because they're out of place, but before we get the chance to worry about them too much they're gone and replaced with something more comfortable - in many ways mirroring the theme of the song itself.



Try and tell a story with your soloing, don't worry too much about what scale you're using but make sure you use your ears. Listen to what you're playing and how it interacts with the chords you're playing over.
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#5
When doing major key chord progression guitar solos, accentuate the 1, 2, 3 intervals or their inversions and when finding good ground, use the 5th to move your way up an octave or down. Also, use the bend at the 7th interval to octave, or go from the 7th and start something from the 3rd of that 7th.

If minor, really accenuate the 2nd to minor 3rd with a bend, it gets really emotional if you do that. Don't be afraid to combine that with minor pentatonics as well
#6
My lead playing isn't spectacular, but I did notice an improvement when I just started learning more songs along with their solos. I started playing more Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd stuff and it started to click a bit more. You'd be surprised how many songs are based around the pentatonic scale with an extra note here or there. Once I began to first hand learn how these artists utilize these scales, it really put things into perspective for me.

Hope this helps!
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#7
Quote by steven seagull

Try and tell a story with your soloing


My usual one is, "I should really practise more... "
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#8
It helps to know what you are playing and why it sounds good/bad. You can do this slowly over time by ear, or you can sit and learn intervals & theory for a few days or weeks.
#9
Quote by monsterhawk
theres a tonne of greats out there that never really paid attention to theory and just laid down licks that felt right. but it depends on what style and sound youre going for! Im not saying Theory isnt needed because it helps a lot for a lot of different things but from personal experience, you dont need it to be a good lead player.

Hope this helps


this is something I"m struggling with as well. I feel like you DO need theory to be a great lead player meaning you need to know which scales sound best with which chords (and in which keys). Maybe you don't consider that theory, but isn't it? Its like, how do you know what scales to use if you don't know the key of the song?
#10
^ To a certain extent you could make a pretty good argument that if you're playing, you're using theory whether you know it or not. At the same time, if you don't know it, you don't know it- certainly your ears can be good enough without actually technically learning theory to be using theory. If that makes sense. If your ear is good and your ear says, "That note sounds right" there's a fair chance it's part of the underlying chord, or in the right scale, or whatever.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#11
Quote by tobin1634
this is something I"m struggling with as well. I feel like you DO need theory to be a great lead player meaning you need to know which scales sound best with which chords (and in which keys). Maybe you don't consider that theory, but isn't it? Its like, how do you know what scales to use if you don't know the key of the song?


Admittedly yeah there is a certain part which is theory but all I meant was you dont need to be a theory whizzkid. I barely know any, i know a few scales but i dont know how to work around keys etc. I just play what sounds right. Ive found that theory REALLY comes into play (for me) when improvising which im not particularly good at so it doesnt really come into play for me. theory is something im looking into recently though just because i want to improve where I can and theory is something im severely lacking due to being self taught and just learning songs and seeing what i come up with.

basically im not saying it isnt important, I just dont feel like its crucial to being a good lead player
Guitars
Jackson JS-227
JT Les Paul custom
LTD H-208
Ibanez RG 350
Fender '89 Strat
Worst Encore ever made
Fender acoustic thing

Gear
Boss ME-50 MFX
Peavey VYPYR VIP II
#12
^ Agreed- you can be a good lead player, or you can be a badass at theory, or you can be both (or neither, lol). But I don't think you need to know theory to be a good lead player (though you'll need to have good ears, though I'd say that even if you do know theory you also need good ears).
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#13
The best way to really be a good lead guitar player in my opinion is to develop a thorough understanding of scales and melody. And how that relates to chords and harmony. I don't think you need to be a master theory expert. You can if you'd like, but you might want to at least get the basics down.

I've read many guitar magazines with professionals who inspire us all to play who mention time and time again, they know nothing of theory. They just listen and figure it out. Then when you listen to them play they sound amazing. This approach works, but take hours upon hours of devotion to the instrument

I think it all comes down to study and practice. Study, study, study & practice, practice, practice!! Do this enough with laser beam focus on what your desires are (in this case lead guitar playing) and before you know it, you'll start developing into that which you desire.

Think about it!!

Dwayne Jenkins