How To Improve Your Lead Guitar Solos By Making Them More Musically Expressive

by Tom Hess

Playing expressive lead guitar solos is one of the best feelings you can have on this instrument.

However, if you can't do this yet, don't worry…

Many guitarists struggle to play expressive guitar solos, but everyone has the potential to do it.

What’s the best way to improve your guitar solos?

There are many ways, but one of the most fundamental is:

Make every note you play count as much as possible. Don't allow yourself to create guitar solos by simply repeating the same licks over and over or playing with your mind on auto-pilot.

Here is one way to make higher-quality, expressive guitar solos:

Tip #1: Make Ear Training A Priority

Try this:

Create a backing track to improvise over that is made of jus a single note (such as “A”).

Play a note from a scale that begins with that note (such as “E” from A minor if the backing track used the note A). After playing this note, use any guitar technique you know to enhance it and pay attention to how it feels.

Notice how the note feels before using the technique as well.

Do this for just a minute - Then select a new note or a new technique and go through the process again.

This helps you hear the emotion of the notes and how to add more expression with your guitar technique. You stop thinking on auto-pilot and start learning exactly how you want to make something sound.

Practice this exercise daily for no more than 15 minutes and your guitar solos will begin to sound MUCH better.

Highly Emotional Guitar Solos

Tip #2: Give Your Guitar Solos More Expressive Melody

Playing melodic, sing-able guitar solos is what makes your playing feel expressive and memorable. It also helps you play better overall guitar solos by moving beyond the common guitar player approach that typically focuses on speed/advanced technique.

Don’t worry, you can still play guitar with speed and technique while playing expressively. But there is more to playing expressive guitar solos than just these things.

Try this:

Choose any guitar lick you can already play well. Remove the second half of the lick.

Next, play the first half and use your voice to sing the second half. Don't worry about singing perfect, just try to sing a few notes (or at least imagine them in your head). Then play them on guitar.

Practice this by sometimes singing the second half, sometimes the first, using more or less sung notes, etc.

Doing this consistently helps you to interlock your hands with your brain so your solos not only sound more melodic, but sound more like how you want them to.

Want to learn more ways to play better lead guitar licks and solos? Get cool ideas right now by learning these easy neoclassical guitar licks.

Tom HessAbout 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.

Learn even more powerful ways to become a better lead guitarist by taking online metal guitar lessons.

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