4 Easy Ways To Combine Lead Guitar Speed With Melody & Have A Blast
By Tom Hess
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You know how some people have insane lead guitar speed, but each lead guitar melody doesn't sound very good?
While others who play with equally fast or faster lead guitar speed in the same style and sound awesome?
What is the difference between them and how do you create a great guitar melody without sacrificing speed?
I spent years trying to answer these things.
Because I used to be one of the lead guitar players 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 lead guitar solos.
And today, many of my students play at pro level too using excellent lead guitar speed.
What was that one thing?
Watch this lead guitar speed training video to find out:
What’s the fastest way to master the techniques in this video and get faster lead guitar speed that sounds melodic?
Schedule 5-15 minutes per day to practice the most important lead guitar phrasing techniques. These techniques help you play a great guitar melody every time (even when you aren’t playing with fast lead guitar speed).
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Vibrato – if you could only use one technique to enhance a lead guitar melody – this would be it. Improving your vibrato makes everything about your lead 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 lead guitar players 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 lead guitar speed technique to play and it adds a lot of fire to your notes (especially when you combine slides with vibrato in a single guitar melody).
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).
- play slides using varying lead guitar speed approaches to connect the notes together (fast or slow)
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 any lead guitar melody in a solo sound more creative.
Check out this video to discover my favorite string bending variations (I use them when I want to play a great guitar melody):
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) so every note in every lead guitar melody has the potential to sound expressive without sloppy mistakes.
Unsure how to do this? See this photo:
Double stops – most lead guitar players 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 to create a great lead guitar melody?
Check out this video with my favorite double stop ideas (you can use these for any guitar melody you want to make - regardless of musical style):
Bends like this sound really cool using lead guitar speed techniques like tremolo picking on both strings at once :)
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 any lead guitar melody you play sound better right away.
Unfortunately, most guitarists 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 and learn how to play a lead guitar melody that screams:
You now know how to balance lead guitar speed with a better sense of guitar melody. The next step is to make your guitar speed feel incredibly effortless and develop effortless finger independence in your fretting hand. How do you do it? Download this free fretting hand technique guide & make playing with fast lead guitar speed 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.Increase your lead guitar speed with online rock guitar lessons.