Learning to play the guitar is not that difficult, and anyone can play it if you put in a little bit of effort. The great thing about this is that you do not need to sacrifice a lot of time to learn to play the guitar.
What we teach you in this article will be helpful for the complete beginner and someone who has already learned the basics of playing the instrument. We will introduce you to this very rewarding music career; you just need to take it further.
So, if you wondering how to play lead guitar, keep reading and find out how easy it is to play in this style.
How to Play Lead Guitar
Without being bored with intensive music theory, we will jump in straight away and provide you with what you need to know. By learning to play lead guitar, you will find that it is just basic movements with the fingers of your fretting hand.
Your fretting hand is used to form the chords on the fretboard, and the strumming hand makes the strings sound. The combination of basic movements is what you need to learn and master, which can be done quickly.
Humans are creatures of habit, and if you keep on repeating the same thing over and over, you will eventually master it. This is what the smart people call muscle memory, and that is what you are going to start with when learning the lead guitar.
But, enough talking, let’s get to what you really want to do – the steps to learn to play the lead guitar.
Step 1: Scales
To get started, you only need to learn one scale on the fretboard of your electric guitar. This may sound like music theory, but this is one time you need to get some theory in your head and fingers.
This is the absolute basic, and you will remember this from your early school years – the do re me fa so la te do. You only need to learn one minor pentatonic scale in one position on the guitar neck, and that is the A minor pentatonic scale.
In this case, you do not even need to remember the note names, just the root note, the pattern, and the position. And that is it; all you need to do now is to get your fingers used to it by practicing daily sessions.
Step 2: Play Sequences of the Scale
A scale sequence is a pattern of the same notes repeated in various positions all over the fretboard of your guitar. Practicing these scale sequences will make it much easier to get your fingers used to the first step, the scale itself.
This simply means that you will play A minor pentatonic scale at different positions on the fretboard to get a large picture of the scale. You will find that the only way to master these scale sequences is to practice them daily.
Scale sequences will exercise your fingers and help you find different ways to use them in different positions. It will also help change the dull repetition of going up and down the scale into something valuable and fun.
Step 3: Phrasing
Phrasing is another way to add embellishment to your music by playing a longer or shorter note on the string. This may include things such as hammer-ons, slides, pull-offs, and many more to spice up your lead guitar playing style.
One of the most used phrasing techniques is string bending, which makes the string sound higher or lower. You need to practice this technique until it becomes second nature to perform, which will add some nuances to your style.
Phrases are essential tools to add different tones and colors to make your music come alive to speak to your audience. Bends will change the note’s sound to sound higher as if you played the string in the next fret.
Step 4: Guitar Licks
To see what you have learned and been practicing, you need to apply licks on the guitar. A lick is simply a few notes played up and down the scale and is called musical phrases to add some melody.
These licks can be played up and down on different strings, or they can simply run down the neck of the guitar. Licks is an excellent way to back up a vocal phrase with simple notes repeated at different intervals.
Step 5: Blend Lead Elements In Your Music
Playing octaves on the guitar can be called one of the many popular lead elements you can add to your lead guitar playing. An octave is basically the last note of a scale, and according to the ‘do re me’ rule, it is the first note you played.
You just need to time these elements right and keep them inside the music’s key, and you will do great. Everything else you have learned so far is also great lead elements and can be blended into your solo performance.
Step 6: Create Your Own Licks
You can already play some great licks and solos to embellish your lead guitar performance if you are this far. The next step is to create your own licks and add them into your sequences while you play to make the music your own.
This may sound difficult, but it is not really. Using what you have learned so far, you can easily create your own licks. Play along with different songs and create licks that will fit in, but most of all, keep on practicing every technique until you master it.
When you start playing your own licks, remember to keep inside the scale, and when you bend notes, they must still be part of it. Experiment with the half bends and complete bends and listen to them carefully to ensure they are part of the scale.
Step 7: Repeat and Keep On Practicing
To go beyond the basics from here will be much easier than before, now that you have some elements and a bit more knowledge. To keep improving with playing your lead guitar, you can repeat all the above steps but with a different scale to broaden your reference.
Learn new licks and try out different types of phrasings like slides and pull-offs, or practice up and down bends on all the strings. You will soon find that you need to add some more techniques, and this is the beginning of greater things in your lead guitar career.
Remember that this is not all there is to lead guitar. There are more great things to learn, so listen to other great guitarists. You will understand what they are doing this time, and you may even improve on their solo style.
Now that you have started this journey, nothing can keep you from becoming the next lead guitar expert. So use this knowledge, keep on experimenting with what you already know, but keep on learning new techniques, and have fun all the way.