Lead Guitar Technique Lesson - Super Octave Slides

by Tom Hess

The Secret To Adding Fire &
Emotion To Any Guitar Lick

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Here is an awesome way to add fire to any guitar lick you play.

Do this:

Play any note …

… then slide up at least an octave (12 frets) up the fretboard (do it quickly)…

… and finish off with a dramatic (wide & fast) vibrato.

(For bonus points: you can also slide back to the note you started.)

What you just played is a technique I call:

“Super Slides”

And you can use this technique in almost any style to easily solo all over the fretboard.

Instead of being stuck in one scale shape. 

(Like most guitar players.)

Want to see how it's done?

Watch this video where I teach you super slides in detail:

Super slides are just one of many high-impact lead guitar techniques that can add fire to your guitar playing.

Here are a few more:

Lead Guitar Technique #1: Backslides

The Secret To Adding Fire &
Emotion To Any Guitar Lick

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A backslide is closely related to the super slide (and it’s one of my favorite lead guitar ornaments).

Here is how you do it:

Play any note. Slide up to a higher pitch and quickly return back to the original note.

Watch this video to see it in action:

Note: a backslide is an ornament on a single note. It’s NOT 3 separate notes.

It also doesn't really matter how far you slide when you do a backslide. (Nobody can hear where you slide to, because the backslide happens so fast. All people notice is the effect of the technique.)

As an aside: Ornaments like super slides and backslides help you create better guitar solos and licks by giving you more time to think.

When you ornament a note you already played with a backslide (or a super slide) – you have a few extra moments to decide what to play next.

How To Create Awesome Lead Guitar Licks

Here is how it works:

Ornaments act as buffers. While your fingers are playing a variation of a lick you already played, your brain has time to choose the next idea.

Question: “Tom Hess, won’t this make my guitar solos repetitive if I add too many ornaments to the same guitar lick? Shouldn’t solos need more variety?”

Answer: Yes and no. Too much of any good thing can become a bad thing. (Just think of what happens to your body when you drink too much water.)

Too much variety can be a bad thing … same way as too much staleness can be a bad thing.

Great solos have balance between repetition and variety.

That said:

Most guitarists already struggle from too much repetition … Repetition of boring phrasing.

They play different notes with the same (weak) phrasing. Their solos are an equivalent of a punctuation-free wall off text… read in a monotone voice.

Sure, the words are different, but they all feel the same.

Here is a lesson on how to change this forever:

Lead Guitar Technique #2: Vibrato tapping

What do you get when you combine 2-hand tapping, fretting hand legato and vibrato?

You get melodic & lyrical guitar licks that make you sound very advanced, even if you can’t play fast yet.

Best part?

With these licks, you take a technique you’d normally only hear in metal music…

…and make it fit into any style (including emotional ballads, classic rock and even blues).

Yes, you read correctly.

All it takes is a couple of easy tweaks to the way you apply 2-hand tapping now.

Ready to see how it’s done?

Watch the video below:

To do vibrato tapping well, practice 2 techniques separately.

First, let’s cover vibrato:

1. Keep Your Vibrato ‘In Tune’ At All Times

To do vibrato well, focus on timing and intonation.

While applying vibrato to a note, ALWAYS keep your vibrato ‘in tune’.

This is essential!

If your vibrato is not in tune, it will totally ruin an otherwise killer solo. Keep your vibrato in tune by bending the string all the way up to the target pitch and returning the string back to the original pitch where you began.

Listen to the two examples below to hear the difference between perfect vibrato and vibrato that is out of tune.

Example 1 - Perfect Vibrato: Hear It

Example 2 - Out Of Tune Vibrato: Hear It

2. Make The Depth/Width Of Your Vibrato Appropriate For The Music You Play

Listen to the examples below to hear the difference between narrow, wide and ‘very wide’ vibrato when applied to the same pitch:

Example 1 - Narrow Vibrato (less than a half step): Hear It 

Note: Keep in mind that using narrow vibrato CAN sound good if the context is right for it - The problem you must avoid is ‘only’ using this type of vibrato because you lack the ability to make wide vibrato sound good/in tune when the context calls for it.

Example 2 - Wide Vibrato (half step): Hear It

Example 3 - Very Wide Vibrato (whole step): Hear It

Note: Using whole step vibrato isn't necessarily always better than using vibrato that is a half step wide.

Pay attention to the musical context to decide which type of vibrato is most appropriate.

Wide vibrato adds ‘conviction’ in contexts that demand this kind of intensity (something that narrow vibrato cannot achieve).

While a more narrow/subtle vibrato sounds best in less intense musical situations.

Master both narrow and wide vibrato, so you can freely express yourself with the technique in any musical context.

Now, let’s talk about 2-hand tapping:

Most times, I like to use my middle finger to do tapping. This way, I don’t have to change how I hold the pick.

The main points to remember about tapping are:

- your tapping finger does hammer ons and pull off motions when you play. Pluck the string down (towards the floor) to get loud & articulated tapped notes.

- Mute excess string noise. I do it by resting my picking hand’s thumb on the lower strings, while the middle finger does the tapping.

Muting guitar string with thumb finger

- pay attention to the rhythm of the tapped notes. Don’t make your tapping faster than the other notes (the ones you play with your fretting hand).

Watch this 2-hand tapping tutorial to see me cover this technique in more detail:


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Lead Guitar Technique #3: Delayed Resolution

Delayed resolution not only puts more emotion into any guitar lick…

… it nearly guarantees to bring a wandering listener’s attention back onto your playing anytime you want.

(It’s almost like you command your listeners to “obey” your guitar solo… and they do.)

Best part?

You don’t have to be an advanced guitar player to use delayed resolution.

You don’t even need to practice it for more than a few minutes.

Just watch this video and try it in your next guitar solo:

Now you know how to put more fire & emotion into your guitar solos.

Want me to help you transform the rest of your guitar playing? I can do that for you in my Breakthrough Guitar Lessons.

Tell me about your musical goals and guitar playing challenges. I’ll create a customized lesson plan to get you playing guitar the way you want. And I’ll hold your hand every step of the way to nearly guarantee your results.

To begin, go to: https://tomhess.net/Guitar

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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.

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