Learn How To Play Exotic Guitar Licks & Become A More Creative Lead Guitarist
You will never become a highly creative lead guitar player by constantly cycling through the same blues and pentatonic licks. To truly become unique and innovative in your lead guitar playing, you need to expand your soloing vocabulary to include exotic guitar licks while learning how to use expressive guitar phrasing. Once you do this, your lead guitar playing will reach a whole new level of creativity.
Watch the exotic guitar licks video below and learn how to instantly improve your lead guitar playing creativity by combining unique licks together with expressive guitar phrasing.
Click on the video to begin watching it.
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The secret to make these licks sound good isn’t in the notes themselves.
It comes down to how you play the notes. (i.e. your guitar phrasing.)
Here are the most important guitar phrasing elements that help you master these licks:
Guitar Phrasing Element #1: Lead Guitar Vibrato
Vibrato is the heart and soul of your lead guitar playing. And great vibrato comes down to balance between 2 critical elements:
- its speed and
- its width.
Make your vibrato too fast and narrow and your playing will sound nervous and out of control.
But if your vibrato sounds slow and wide? Then it no longer sounds like vibrato and sounds like slow bends instead.
The faster your vibrato becomes, the wider it should be to sound good.
And the slower it is, the narrower it should be.
Tip: practice vibrato with a metronome to make sure it stays in sync with the beat.
When you get good at this, you’ll be able to make your vibrato sync up with any song you are playing.
And that is a sign of true vibrato mastery.
Guitar Phrasing Element #2: String Bends
The most important element of great string bending is: bending the strings in tune!
To make sure your string bends are always in tune, do this:
- Play the note you intend to bend up to (as a regular note). For example: play the B string 10th fret. Get the sound of the 10th fret in your ear.
- Bend the B string from the 8th fret up to the 10th fret. Stop when the bend matches the note you just played in the previous step.
Repeat these steps as necessary to make your bends more consistent.
Bonus string bending tip 1: wrap your thumb around the neck of the guitar to bend strings. This gives your hand more leverage to do wider bends (and do them consistently).
Bonus string bending tip 2: rotate your entire arm using a doorknob motion. This makes it easy to bend strings without much effort (because you are using the large muscles of your arm instead of just the fingers).
Now you know how to make your guitar licks more exotic and more expressive.
Your next step?
Transform the rest of your guitar playing and master your other skills (guitar technique, knowledge of how music works, ear training, phrasing, rhythm skills and more). When you do…
You’ll finally be able to feel like a real musician and play guitar the way you always dreamed you could play it!
I can help you with this in Breakthrough Guitar Lessons.
Here is how it works:
You tell me about yourself by filling out an in-depth evaluation from. In it, you tell me all about your guitar playing. Your musical strengths & weaknesses. Previous guitar lessons experience (if any).
And most importantly: everything you want to achieve on guitar (in the short and long term).
Then I go to work for you.
What I do is: read your evaluation from in detail (I usually read it at least twice) and spend the next 3 hours designing your lesson strategy.
This means: your lesson materials, exercises and etudes that develop the skills you need to play guitar the way you want.
All you need to do is practice what I teach you for at least 30 minutes per day.
And along the way, you get an almost unheard-of amount of support as a student of mine.
- Every week I hold live video office hours where you can get your questions answered by me directly.
- Every week I hold live video guitar training classes where I break down the most challenging guitar playing topics, make them easy to master and train you on them live. I also answer questions (and get to watch you practice) during this time.
- I give you in-depth feedback on your playing (when you send me recordings), so you know how to overcome your toughest guitar challenges with less time and effort.
- I give you unlimited support via email whenever you need it. I observe and pay attention to the questions you ask (and don't ask) and I can tell from your questions how well you are progressing.
- I ask you to leave me your feedback about each lesson I give you. This helps me to keep the finger on the pulse of your progress and adjust your lesson strategy if/when it's needed. Plus, you can ask me questions right in your feedback form. I read it and reply to you with detailed answers.
- You can ask me to change your lesson strategy at any time (for example: when your goals change or you have less time to practice in a certain month).
You get all of this personal help when you need it the most - in between your lessons.
The longer we work together, the more I get to know you, your guitar playing and your learning style. This way I can refine my lesson strategy for you over time.
And if you do even half as well as my most successful guitar students, you’ll become a very happy guitar player.
Here are some of the results my guitar students are getting:
“Before I took lessons with Tom Hess, I wanted to learn how to do some sweep picking and I also wanted to fill in a few gaps that I thought I might’ve had in my playing. And also I was feeling a little bit frustrated with not knowing where to take my playing. I didn’t really know how to get better. I felt like I reached a plateau, so that’s why I sought out Tom.”
I’ve had a few other guitar teachers before I took lessons with Tom, and most of them weren’t very good. And after reading a few articles online that Tom had written, I could tell that this guy was going to be the teacher for me.
The biggest thing that I really like is the actual guitar lessons themselves. I’m finding that I’m learning new things that I never even considered every single time I get a lesson. Something new to apply to my playing each time. But of course, I really enjoy the forum as well, because thanks to the lessons with Tom, I’ve been able to meet people from all over the world who have similar experiences and similar goals, so that’s been really motivating as well.
Before I took lessons with Tom I really didn’t like improvisation. I knew scales, and I knew kind of how they applied over chord progressions, but I just didn’t like it. Since taking lessons with Tom, some of the lessons are focused on that specific issue, and now I feel really comfortable about getting up in front of people and playing over any type of… in any key any backing track, I feel pretty comfortable doing that.
Tom actually knows what my goals are and gives me specific lessons that will help me achieve those goals. Other teachers that I’ve had before just do it their way… it’s either their way or the highway. And they don’t really care about what I wanted to do, and they didn’t really listen, and they didn’t really look into what I was doing or what my interests were and didn’t really play into that.
It’s really motivating to get to know people who are also students of Tom. It’s really good to have positive-minded musicians around even if I’m just talking to them online, or if I meet them in person, either way it’s still really motivating.
The forum has helped me because I am able to ask any music theory related questions or technique questions and I get those answered very very quickly. And I also like to participate in discussions and help share my knowledge as well with other people, which when I do that I feel that it’s reinforcing the things that I know as well, so it helps with my music theory knowledge when I share as well.
Greg Trotter, Melbourne, Australia
“July of 2012, I had been managing in a retail store and was kind of reaching this point where I was really getting frustrated because I had been struggling to progress in my guitar playing. I had this mindset that I had to teach myself everything... you know and the best players are all self taught and stuff like that...”
...and I remembered Tom Hess from that book, and I said “You know, it’s time to look this guy up and see what he’s all about.” And it didn’t take me very long to figure out that this is the kind of person that I needed to get on board with.
My playing has definitely improved technique-wise, but probably the most important change I have experienced is just in my overall mindset as a player and as a practicing musician. I just feel like I have a much better frame of mind and a much better idea of where I am going and where my guitar practicing is taking me. Whereas before I just felt like I had to practice everything and I had a whole bunch of stuff going on. It’s a lot more focused now.
Being in the environment that Tom has created with his other students is incredibly motivating. I had always been in my own little shell, kind of just stayed on my own. Coming out here... like when I came out here last year was a big step out of my comfort zone. Getting around all these other musicians... it’s unbelievable how great some of these guys are, not just as players, but as people.
Andrew Tintle, Richmond, California USA
“Before I started taking correspondence lessons I was basically stagnant in my playing. I had kind of reached what I thought was a pinnacle and I started looking for what’s next, what’s bigger and better… and I just happened across Tom’s lessons and since then I’ve realized that this plateau that I was feeling was way down here and now he’s helped me tremendously. I know I can do things on the guitar that I could’ve never dreamed of five years ago.”
I chose to take guitar lessons with Tom over anybody else because a) Tom is a professional musician, and I want to learn from people who are making a living as a musician and b) he just had a wealth of knowledge that he freely gives to you to kind of say here, you know here is the golden nugget.
The biggest change in my playing that has happened since I started taking lessons with Tom is playing like a true musician, phrasing like a true musician, and kind of separating myself away from all the wannabes.
So if I were to compare Tom’s correspondence lessons with just taking private lesson in a local market, it’s night and day. For one thing, Tom’s lessons are easy to understand, they’re very in depth and they’re tailored to what you want to learn… versus private lessons, a lot of times the teachers are using their students as guinea pigs to figure out how to teach… and Tom’s not doing that, he’s knows what he’s doing.
Thoughts when I started with Tom were “Is this going to work for me?” because it was definitely not the norm. And my thoughts now are “Hell yes it’s going to work”, because you see results.
Tom’s goal-oriented approach has helped me, I guess break horizons and get results that I could’ve never gotten before. Only because he helped me flesh out how I want to play and how to get there. He gave the goals and the path to get there, and it’s been excellent. Tom is like he says, an ordinary guy, but he’s doing extraordinary things, and I know in my life that’s what I want to do. I just want to be an ordinary guy that is impacting lives, and that’s been huge from Tom.
Ty Morgan, Phoenix, Arizona
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