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Lead Guitar Lessons - Improve Your Lead Technique

These clear and comprehensive lead guitar lessons will give you the skills and confidence you need to create those spine tingling solos we all love. Simply start at the top and work through the lessons in the order they're presented, following the path to becoming a more confident and dynamic lead player.

Skillful lead isn't about playing as fast as possible, although speed and timing are important soloing elements. Lead is primarily about personal expression, as though you're speaking through the guitar. Don't get too caught up in the notes-per-second race. Speed will come naturally.

The lead guitar techniques below can be seen as the physical application of notes and scales on the fretboard. So the two go hand in hand (see the scales section in the top menu).

The idea is to equip yourself with a number of ways of getting from one note to the next in your solo - bend, tap, string skip, hammer on, slide etc.

Learn Lead Guitar Step by Step

Loosen up your fingers with these finger warm up exercises

small chevron Alternate Picking  Alternate picking simply involves using down and up picking strokes alternately. Not as easy as it sounds at first, so this lesson should help you develop solid timing, a decent level of speed and confidence in these initial stages. Also in this series...
small chevron Timing  Impeccable timing is what separates the great guitarist from the mediocre. This series offers a clear practice method for developing your rhythm and timing, including note values, triplets, syncopation... nail this early on, and your progress will soar. Also in this series...
small chevron Open String Lead  Video showing you some ideas for using open strings in your lead playing.

small chevron How to Practice Scales  Apply the timing elements from the series above to scales. Focuses on speed and scale navigation techniques to help you get physically comfortable with moving around the fretboard. Also in this series... small chevron Scale Exercises  A library of essential exercises to improve your speed and timing. This series covers the physical aspects of scale navigation including runs, intervallic movements and string skipping. Also in this series...
small chevron Double Stops  A lead technique that involves playing two notes simultaneously. Starting with the basic double stop fingerings and exercises and moving on to mixing them with regular lead phrases from scales. See also:
small chevron String Skipping  String skipping is pretty self explanatory. The idea is to "skip" over strings in your soloing phrases to create less linear patterns with wider intervals. This lesson provides the basics and explains how the technique is beneficial and how to pick licks that use string skipping. Also in this series...
small chevron Pedal Point  Pedal pont is a technique that involves alternating between a fixed or re-articulated note and other notes. A great way to develop several core lead skills in one go. This lesson will get you up to speed with some basic exercises.

small chevron String Bending  String bending really does liven up boring, flat solos, and every lead guitarist should be confident with using bends. Learn to bend with ease and precision with this two part series with video. Part 1 introduces the physical basics, before we move on to more specific bending techniques in further parts (below).
small chevron Vibrato  An essential technique for punctuating your lead phrases. On guitar, vibrato is applied using a form of repeating, pulsing string bend. This lesson (with video) shows you the basic technique, essential exercises and some different ways of applying vibrato.

small chevron Legato  On guitar, legato simply refers to playing without picking. This is acheived predominantly through the use of hammer ons and pulls offs. In these lessons I'll introduce the basic hammer on and pull off techniques, provide exercises to get all your fingers involved and finally look at combining the two. small chevron Sliding Technique  Mastering slides will help you move smoothly and fluidly over the neck. A very cool sounding, yet simple skill to master. We start with the basics, getting physically comfortable with sliding between frets, in to and out of notes. See also:
small chevron Chromatic Approach  A simple way of using hammer-ons, slides and bending to inject feeling and emotion into your lead playing. Once you've learned those core techniques above, this lesson will show you how to apply them to scales and licks.

small chevron Arpeggio Technique  Different ways you can physically play arpeggios, including alternate picking, string skipping, rolling, legato, sweep picking and tapping. Using the techniques in this lesson will help you play arpeggios faster.

small chevron Octave Lead  Explores Octaves and how to incorporate them into your playing. If you've just learned your scales, they are a great way to branch out from the "practicing scales" sound to something more melodic. Octaves are also helpful to memorizing the fretboard.

small chevron Finger Tapping  Get to grips with the physical side of tapping and your knowledge of scales will integrate naturally. If you follow both lessons below and take your time mastering various tapping rhythms and the physical side of it, it's actually not as difficult as it sounds! Also in this series...

Essential Lead Guitar Tools

Song Slow Down, Chord Detect, Key Change & More

Song Surgeon allows you to import a sound file (e.g. mp3), slow it right down, cut out the vocals, hear it note-for-note and loop the part you want to learn. As well as changing tempo, you can also change the pitch of the audio to learn it in different keys and there's even automatic chord detection. Far more productive than learning purely by tab.

small chevron Learn More About Song Surgeon Here

free online metronome

Online Metronome

Metronomes help you keep time during your practice, allowing you to speed up gradually (think increments of 5 BPM) as your confidence improves. I strongly recommend using a metronome for every lead technique you learn. Get into the habit now! This one's my favourite...

small chevron Free Online Metronome

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