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#1151707 - 03/19/19 11:27 PM Playing Lead  
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
CFD Offline
Casual Observer
CFD  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
Hi folks:

I have always been a songwriter, and that has been my first love. I wrote most of my songs on an acoustic guitar.

However, about a year ago, I set my mind to learning how to play lead guitar. I never thought I could. It seemed like I was always stumbling into the wrong notes whenever I attempted a lead. More often than not, it was a very frustrating experience.

But little by little, I began learning some of the techniques of playing lead . I am posting a sample of my lead playing. It's a bit sloppy in places, but it just shows how you could go from not having a clue how to play lead, to figuring it out.

Many people spent a lot of time answering questions and giving me tips. If you are looking to start playing lead, it is never too late and I'd be happy to give you a tip or two, free of charge.

Here is a sample (I ran out of music at the end of it. I was so into playing the licks that i didn't notice the music had stopped ,,;-))

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1B3agSr-U6isdwcjJDUHd6VaVBZQSEao-/view?usp=sharing

I am sorry if this gets posted twice. Im not sure if my first attempt worked.

#1151712 - 03/20/19 10:08 AM Re: Playing Lead [Re: CFD]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 7,172
Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 7,172
Brunswick, Ga. USA
Well,
I can play a bit of lead on my songs. However going up the fret board I never practiced enough to accomplish. You can do a lot in the key of C and changing to another key perhaps a Capo is needed. I have a couple of Hank Thompson Song Books with the sheet music. I decided, some time ago I was going to learn all those chords Hank supposedly used. Alas! My fingers would not reach! So I went back to my 3 chords and the occasional 7 th.


Ray E. Strode
#1151717 - 03/20/19 11:59 AM Re: Playing Lead [Re: CFD]  
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,097
Fdemetrio Offline
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Fdemetrio  Offline
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It sounds pretty good. Does sound a bit inhibited, and a bit scaley, but you do have some nice runs in there though. Take a page from Eric Clapton, make it singable. Singable solos are best received by a listener.

Blues is fun aint it?

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 03/20/19 02:41 PM.
#1151732 - 03/20/19 05:29 PM Re: Playing Lead [Re: CFD]  
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
CFD Offline
Casual Observer
CFD  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
Thank-you for your comments. It's not as musical as it could have been, but you're listening to someone who about a year ago couldn't play a note of lead ';)

#1151733 - 03/20/19 05:30 PM Re: Playing Lead [Re: CFD]  
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
CFD Offline
Casual Observer
CFD  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
Here's an email I recently sent to a friend who is also learning guitar:
Iíd like to share a few things that I found helpful in my guitar journey, understanding that I donít claim to be a fantastic guitarist and knowing that you likely know most, if not all of what I am about to share.

I think many guitar players learn chords and barre chords, and perhaps venture a little into lead guitar while believing that they have learned most of what they need to know. I thought the same way for a long time. I discovered that chords and barre chords were more like 60% or less of what a well rounded guitarist needs to know. The other stuff I picked up on, which I strongly recommend, is the following:

1. There is a whole world to be discovered on the high E, B and G strings of a guitar. There are some shapes that can be played down there, that would be very familiar, that can be useful in the following ways:

a) as another way of playing chords, that emphasizes the higher sounding end.
b) typically used in funk, disco and modern music to produce some pretty nifty progressions/sounds.
c) sonically, as an alternative to playing a full chord, whose lower end, will sometimes collide- compete sonically, with a bass guitar. This is particularly important in recording music where you want to carve out frequencies positionally within the sonic landscape. Where sonic overlaps and collisions occur, it muddies the clarity of certain instruments. Thus, using the higher register as an alternative, with a bass guitar looking after the lower foundation, is often a good mix. Again, more important in recording although there are also benefits in playing live.

2. The Penatatonic scale, and itís various positions along the neck is probably the biggest bang for your time spent, in terms of its immediate usefulness in blues and rock. Once the various positions of the pentatonic are learned, it can easily be applied to blues music or rock. A neat little trick occurs when you move the position 3 frets back. When doing so, you switch from a bluesy sounding solo, to a happy sounding solo simply by moving the position back three frets, while remaining in key.

3. Learning the modes is also a very good investment. It is initially a mind twister as it runs somewhat contrary to other approaches to learning other aspects of the guitar. But once the concept and payload of modes clicks, it is well worth it. If you have not used modes and wish to revisit them, I strongly suggest you learn all the positions of the major scale (also known as the Ionian mode). Once that is learned and one is fluid with it, it can be used to play virtually any other mode. The beauty of it, is that you can easily solo to almost any genre including music by AC/DC (typically mixolydian), Santana (often times Dorian) and the like.

I hope some of this is helpful. Again, I am no virtuoso and I had to give up playing for some time due to my health. But these are some of the things I learned in an effort to try to improve the breadth of my playing.

#1151755 - 03/21/19 03:26 PM Re: Playing Lead [Re: CFD]  
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,097
Fdemetrio Offline
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Fdemetrio  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,097
I havent done a jam over a blues track like that in a LONG time, so my chops are not up to par either.

They mention the Pentatonic scale. There's no rock n roll with out it, no Chuck Berry. If you master the pentatonic scale, you can be really, really good at rock and blues. The trick is, when the songs are not of the I IV V variety, it gets harder.

Jazz uses more modes, i never really learned modes. Im a feel player all the way. Cant read music very well either

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 03/21/19 03:27 PM.
#1151759 - 03/21/19 08:54 PM Re: Playing Lead [Re: CFD]  
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
CFD Offline
Casual Observer
CFD  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 10
I am a big fan of playing by feel and it is probably the most authentic way to play.

However, I found that I was spending too much time stumbling around. It was perfectly fine playing by feel for me, when i was recording an original song. If I screwed up, I simply did it again, punched in or tried something else.

However, I always wanted to be able to play with other musicians and spontaneously kick out a solo to a jam. To do that, I needed to learn some basic "rules" or guides. This was akin to having a flashlight in a dark alley, rather than walking through it and bumping into things (at least, for me it was).

Once I did that, I was able to get musical again and use what I learned as a guide, rather than as a map.

The reason why I think modes are important, is that they are the piece that helped me to move beyond relying on the pentatonic scale. Nothing beats the pentatonic for true blues, but when you are playing to AC DC, Santana, Old time Rock and roll and the like, modes can be invaluable.

I strongly recommend learning them, although I had a very difficult time initially, getting my head around them. Worse still, I found there was no consistency in the youtube world. Modes were taught and spoken about very differently by various teachers, and it just added to my confusion and led me down some paths that were hard to unlearn.

But I am pretty confident in my ability to teach modes in a way that a guitarist would understand. Maybe I should make a video on it someday.



Last edited by CFD; 03/21/19 08:58 PM.
#1151771 - 03/22/19 10:37 AM Re: Playing Lead [Re: CFD]  
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,097
Fdemetrio Offline
Top 500 Poster
Fdemetrio  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,097
Originally Posted by CFD
I am a big fan of playing by feel and it is probably the most authentic way to play.

However, I found that I was spending too much time stumbling around. It was perfectly fine playing by feel for me, when i was recording an original song. If I screwed up, I simply did it again, punched in or tried something else.

However, I always wanted to be able to play with other musicians and spontaneously kick out a solo to a jam. To do that, I needed to learn some basic "rules" or guides. This was akin to having a flashlight in a dark alley, rather than walking through it and bumping into things (at least, for me it was).

Once I did that, I was able to get musical again and use what I learned as a guide, rather than as a map.

The reason why I think modes are important, is that they are the piece that helped me to move beyond relying on the pentatonic scale. Nothing beats the pentatonic for true blues, but when you are playing to AC DC, Santana, Old time Rock and roll and the like, modes can be invaluable.

I strongly recommend learning them, although I had a very difficult time initially, getting my head around them. Worse still, I found there was no consistency in the youtube world. Modes were taught and spoken about very differently by various teachers, and it just added to my confusion and led me down some paths that were hard to unlearn.

But I am pretty confident in my ability to teach modes in a way that a guitarist would understand. Maybe I should make a video on it someday.




I used to be alot better at guitar. My first bands, i was forced into the lead singer role because usually no one else could, not that i could either at the time, but i was in front holding the guitar so it was me who had to suffer the growing pains lol.

My voice improved by doing, it got stronger and i had more confidence.

So my guitar playing was left untapped, and then when i got into writing, i found i couldnt do everything, todays home recording boom, everybody thinks they are everything. writer, singer, band, engineer, producer, agent, pr person.


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