How To Play Guitar Solos Expressively In No Time

by Tom Hess

Ever wish you could play lead guitar licks that sound impressive enough to make people stop and take notice?

Getting started with this all begins by avoiding one common mistake lead guitarists tend to make…

What is it?


Feeling like you have to constantly fill your guitar licks and solos with notes, leaving little to no time for your phrases to build and resolve.

In other words:

You need to start playing notes by squeezing more expression out of them. This makes your guitar licks and solos more focused on quality than quantity.

Don't worry, this isn't complicated in practice.

Simply begin by making a single note sound great. Once you do this, you are able to then make any amount of notes sound great.

What is one good way to begin?

Pay attention to the vocal lines of your favorite singers:

Singers generally focus on making every note sound expressive, compared to guitarists who often focus more on technique or speed.

How To Play Amazing Guitar Solos

Use a quick creativity exercise to get the most benefit from your lead guitar practice:

Create a backing track that uses a couple of chords or choose a backing track that already exists.

Play only one note above the chords of the backing track for a minute, while using any combination of the following to make it sound great:

  • Vibrato
  • Bends
  • Tremolo picking
  • Palm muting
  • Different note rhythms
  • Harmonics

After squeezing as much emotional expression from the note as you can (for one minute), add another note and repeat the process. Doing this a little every day helps you build the habit of making every note a great note.

Over time, this approach makes your lead guitar licks and solos sound totally pro.


Your playing sounds more musical, musically expressive and memorable. Compare this to simply running up and down a scale pattern searching for great sounding notes and you’ll see a night and day difference.

Want to learn more ways to play expressive guitar licks?

Learn one right now by watching the video in this lead guitar open string licks article.

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 studying guitar online.

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