4 Easy Ways To Combine Guitar Speed With Melody (And Have More Fun Playing Lead Guitar)
By Tom Hess
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You know how some guitarists play really fast, but their shredding doesn't sound very good?
While others play equally fast or faster (in the same style) and sound awesome?
What is the difference between them?
I spent years trying to answer this question.
Because I used to be one of the guitarists in the first group.
It wasn’t until years later that a great teacher showed me the one thing I was missing.
And helped me fix the missing link in my playing that made all the difference.
Since then, I’ve taught it to hundreds of my students.
(Many of them also played for years like I did - and felt something was missing in their playing and guitar solos.)
And today, many of my students now play at pro level too.
What was that one thing?
Watch this video to find out:
What’s the fastest way to master the techniques in this video?
Schedule 5-15 minutes per day to practice the most important lead guitar phrasing techniques. These techniques make everything you play sound good (even when you aren’t playing fast).
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Vibrato – if you could only get good at one technique on guitar – this is it. Improving your vibrato makes everything about your guitar playing sound better.
Question: “Tom Hess, what IS the best hand position for vibrato?”
Answer: Wrap your thumb over the neck of the guitar & use the web between your thumb and index finger as the pivot point.
Focus on the sound of your vibrato first – finger motions second. Many guitarists do the opposite.
They try to find the best hand position pay little attention to the sound.
Sloppy, out of control vibrato that often sounds like a mosquito.
Here is how to avoid this problem and make your vibrato sound great:
Slides – this is an easy technique to play and it adds a lot of fire to your notes (especially when you combine slides with vibrato).
There are several slide variations to focus on:
- ascending slides (slide into the note you want to play from a lower pitch)
- descending slides (slide into the note you want to play from a higher pitch)
- backslides (slide up from the note you want to play and slide back to that same note).
Watch this video to see an example of backslides:
- re-articulation slides (play the note you want and immediately slide into it from a higher pitch or a lower pitch).
Practice all 4 types of slides and integrate them into your playing.
String Bends – you probably know how to bend a string. But how many ways to bend strings do you know?
If your answer is less than 5, you have a big opportunity to make your guitar licks & solos more creative.
Check out this video to discover my favorite string bending variations (I use them all the time in my guitar solos):
Note: if you struggle with string bends, here is a tip:
Wrap your thumb over the neck of the guitar when you bend. This makes string bends much easier (and more accurate).
Unsure how to do this? See this photo:
Double stops – most guitarists think of double stops as “unison bends”. This is where you bend 2 notes a whole step apart until they resolve into a unison, like this:
These unison bends sound cool, no doubt. But can you do more with double stops?
Check out this video with my favorite double stop ideas (you can use these in any style):
Pinch harmonics – know anyone who doesn't like the sound of pinch harmonics?
I don't either. :)
Pinch harmonics are a lot of fun and they make anything you play sound better right away.
Unfortunately, most guitar players struggle to play pinch harmonics, because they don't know how to practice this technique correctly.
This can be very frustrating!
Check out this video to see how simple it can be to master pinch harmonics:
You now know how to combine guitar speed with melody. The next step is to make your guitar playing feel incredibly easy and develop effortless finger independence in your fretting hand. How do you do it? Download this free fretting hand technique guide & make your guitar playing feel like cutting butter with a hot knife.
About Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.Become a better guitar player with online rock guitar lessons.