Taking The Lead. Part 2

This is part two of 'Taking the Lead'. This lesson will deal with the effects and sounds needed to play lead.

Ultimate Guitar
There are a few rules here. Rule #1- there aren't any rules. You're probably thinking, Well wait, why talk about rules if there aren't any? Let me explain. The rules are not set in stone. These are general guidelines for different styles of music. The first thing is your guitar. The type it is affects the tone. I use a Washburn OE-30, which is a semi hollow body. Unfortunately, I don't think this guitar is made anymore. But there are many semi-hollows out there. The reason I like them is they have a very versatile sound. Rule #2- To find the sound, you have to determine the style. Jazz is a very versatile genre. Some of it sounds bluesy, some country, some like rock, or maybe its own unique sound. When I practice jazz by myself, I usually just play clean. A clean semi-hollow has a very bluesy sound to it, which is why I like it. A solid-body clean has more twang than the semi-hollow. It's still a usable sound, but for a true jazz sound out of a solid body, it's best to use effects, like a Tube Distortion or a Blues Overdrive. Rule #3- The instruments being played makes a difference. When I play in public, it's mostly at church. At one church where I play, the main instrument is an acoustic guitar. I play with a very slight overdrive with a treble heavy equalizer. This gives the guitar a twang similar to some country songs. At another church, the main instrument is a piano. When I play there, I use more overdrive, and a little more midrange and bass. This is because the piano plays the melody line and I don't want mine to be twangy like the highs of a piano. Rule #4- If you want to create your own sound, or want to be able to replicate many different styles and sounds, you'll need the proper effects. You can buy an amp with effects built in. It's cheaper and easier to transport. But there are three big disadvantages. One, you can't layer them. You can't turn on multiple effects to get some really crazy sounds. You can usually only have on one or two at a time. Two, on most of them, you can't turn them on and off during the song. Some of these amps have footswitches with them, but that's usually only the very expensive ones. You have to set the effect and leave it on for the whole song, then walk back to the amp to switch it for the next one. And the last thing is most of them sound kinda fake. They don't have as good of sound quality as individual pedals. If you want to buy effect pedals, here's a list of good ones to have on hand. 1. Distortion- there are many different ones, so it's best to get a couple different ones 2. Flanger- This effect gives some fantasy sounds to it. It's great for background noise during voice overs and intros. 3. Tube- Like the distortion, there are several different types, but only one will do, since most of them are the same. Good for smooth jazz and Chicago Blues. 4. Wah- You only need one, but there's a wide variety. I prefer the ones made by Morley because rather than just being on/off, they have a rocker pedal, so there's a wider range of note bending. Rule #5- Effects can get expensive, so just buy one or two at a time. By7 doing this, you develop your own unique sound slowly over time. Your uniqueness as a musician doesn't happen overnight. Even if all you do is play someone else's songs, rather than writing originals, you still have a sound that's YOU. It what makes a person identified as an artist. So far, you have scales to play lead, and now you know how to get the proper sound. Just always remember that music is an art, and art has no rules. Dante

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Fallowing the last part to this lesson, this is really confusing. I mean I understand why tone is important, but what i don't get is why you start to talk about keys only to totally change the subject to something that is almost the exact opposite direction. I think you should have taken the time to refine the idea of keys here before turning to the concept of tone. no offence man, but tone should either be the first or last, i suggest the last, thing that is taught about lead. Tone does you no good if you don't understand how to lead yet. also, if some one creates a tone that they like before learning how to actually play, they may end up holding them self back. there are some combintions of amps guitars and effects that just dont sound good for everything, and this can really hinder the learning experience. What if a new guitarist picks out a tone thats great for playing rhythm, but is almost too busy for a crisp and melodic solo. he or she may become discouraged and stop learning lead. Dont get me wrong, I like this one better than your last one, and I feel that you have a lot of info for this subject. I think you could use more examples of things like you talk about how much you love the tones from your semi hallow body guitar, then you kind of scratch the surface of a solid body guitar. I wish you had explained more about How a strat sounds versus a les paul, and and what kind of different tones you can get simply by how the guitar is made. You talk about equalizers but you barely explain much more than you like to make yours treble heavy when playing with another guitarist and then you like to pump the bass and mids for playing with piano. I'm left almost not quite understanding the point. Nest is effects, you talk about different types of effects, but you don't give examples. and my biggest gripe is that you left both reverb and chorus out. These two are very common effects that make a major difference between a boring chord progression and the sound of a magical chord progression. Another solution to the expensive pedals is to grab a multi effects processor. this may not sound as great, but it allows you to experiment with all kinds of different effects for much lesss than buying every pedal you can find. I think you have some really great ideas here and I hate to be so critical about this since you took the time to make this, it's just that i think yoyu can make a several part lesson about just tone, that could be much more helpful, especially for beginners.
    this is a good lesson for all guitarists to learn for sure, but i don't see how this applies specifically to lead. plus like krypticguitar87 said, it doesn't flow from part one. this seems more like a standalone lesson, and i think it should be on it's own separate from your lead trilogy. everyone should learn this basic necessity of guitar playing, not just those looking to play lead. you should put it out in the beginners section individually. but that's just my opinion.