Learn How To Make Your Lead Guitar Playing Sound Better Without Memorizing A Bunch Of Licks

by Tom Hess

Wish your lead guitar playing sounded expressive, while each phrase flows smoothly from one idea to the next?

It’s not as hard as you think.

Here is one thing top stop doing in order to improve this skill quickly:

Playing lead guitar solos, licks or improvisations by memorizing a bunch of ideas and trying to mix them together every time you play.

Don't get me wrong...

It’s fun to play a bunch of cool licks you enjoy and throw them into your solos every once in a while.


Relying on this too much keeps you from fulfilling your creative potential and playing lead guitar that really feels unique and sounds impressive.

How can you practice to make your lead guitar playing sound better without memorizing tons of licks?


Learn many ways to practice the skill of guitar phrasing and do so at least a little bit each day.

Here is one exercise (of many) to help you improve your guitar phrasing fast:

  1. Think of a short guitar lick you can play with confidence without making mistakes
  2. For 2 minutes, repeat this guitar lick by creating a variation of it each time you play it.

    Do this by using different note rhythms, legato, tremolo picking, vibrato or anything else you can to make the lick different.

Watch this video to see an example of how to add variety to a guitar lick using rubato technique:

Investing just 10 minutes into your guitar phrasing each day quickly results in a massive improvement to the overall quality and musical expression of your licks.

Question: "Tom Hess, how do I know I am really getting better at lead guitar?"

Answer: Simple. Try this:

Give each guitar lick variation a grade or rating at the end of your practice session.

For example, a “8/10” or a “B+”. If you like, you can also grade the session as a whole instead.

Note: It doesn’t matter what you use to rate yourself as long as it’s consistent. Then, average out your scores at the end of the week.

Doing this helps you see whether you are improving or not so you are able to make adjustments or try new things to get better. This takes little effort, but goes a long way to help you improve and stay motivated along the way.

Now you know one way to practice in order to play better guitar phrases.

Good news is, not only is this fun, but there are countless other ways to enhance your guitar phrasing.

Practicing guitar phrasing is easily one of the most fun things to do on guitar because you see all your skills coming together to create expressive music.

Want to discover even more ways to make your lead guitar licks sound amazing?

I've got you!

Find out how to maximize the emotional effect of the rubato you used in your lead guitar licks by watching this guitar soloing video.

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 how to quickly reach ALL your musical goals fully by working with me in my electric guitar lessons online.

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