How To Put More Emotion Into Your Guitar Solos

by Tom Hess

The Secret To Adding Fire &
Emotion To Any Guitar Lick

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There is a simple lead guitar trick that lets you instantly add more feeling and drama to any guitar solo.

And don't worry...

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

You don’t need to know any fancy music theory either.

The trick is called:

Delayed Resolution

And the way it works is:

You build some musical tension with the notes you play...

And then, right in the moment when the listener expects the tension to resolve... delay the resolution.

There are many ways to use this technique.

Want to learn them?

Watch the video below to see how delayed resolution works and start using it in your next guitar solo:

Now that you know what delayed resolution is and how to do it, what’s next?

The next step is to combine delayed resolution with 3 more must-know elements of great lead guitar playing. These elements inject every guitar lick you play with soul-satisfying emotion.

Emotional Lead Guitar Element #1: Singer-Like Vibrato

The Secret To Adding Fire &
Emotion To Any Guitar Lick

By submitting your info, you agree to send it to Tom Hess Music Corporation who will process and use it according to their privacy policy.

If you want your guitar playing to sound good – you’ve got to master your vibrato.

What's the secret to good vibrato?

Balance the speed of the vibrato pulses with their width.

This means: the faster your vibrato is, the wider it should be to sound good.

And the slower it is – the more narrow it should be to sound good. If your vibrato is too slow and wide, it sounds like slow bends – not like vibrato.

Whatever you do – do NOT make your vibrato fast & narrow at the same time. This makes your entire guitar playing sound nervous.

Watch this video to see & hear what good vibrato sounds like:

Extra tip: For more control over your vibrato, wrap your thumb around the guitar neck.

This helps you keep your vibrato in tune and in sync with the tempo of the music. See this photo:

Guitar vibrato hand position

Question: “Tom Hess, what should I do if I try to control my vibrato, but it’s not coming out the way I want?”

Answer: First, listen to the sound of great vibrato you do like. Make a list of guitar players whose vibrato you admire.

Then do your best to describe exactly the difference between your vibrato and theirs.
Is it too fast? Too slow? Too wide? Too narrow? Not in tune? Is there string noise?

What precisely as missing? The more specific you can be when describing your problem, the easier it is to come up with a solution. 

Second: record your vibrato into your computer and listen back to it at half speed. 

This is the most brutally honest test for you vibrato. 

Because you get to hear any flaws in your playing in their most naked from.

(And you get to hear them away from your guitar. When your mind can best focus on the sounds coming out of your amp.)

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Here are some more advanced vibrato applications:

Chord Vibrato

It’s no secret that many people prefer playing lead guitar over rhythm guitar.

But why?

Truth is: most people struggle to be expressive when they play chords.

This is one reason why playing lead guitar is generally considered “cooler” than rhythm guitar.

But what if you could apply a lead guitar technique (vibrato) to chords? Is that even possible?

Yes it is.

Check out this video demonstration to learn how to do vibrato on chords and sound great when you do it.

Bent-Đ¢ote Vibrato: 

Bent note vibrato is much harder than vibrato on an unbent note. But when you get it right… it’s the single most beautiful sound you can play on guitar.

The biggest challenge about bent-note vibrato? It's keeping the bent note as the target pitch.

Plus, you have 3 options for bent note vibrato:

1. Raising the pitch above the bent note.

2. Lowering the pitch below the bent note (you need a guitar with a floating bridge for this).

3. Swirl the vibrato above AND below the bent note.

The 3rd type of vibrato is by far the hardest (and in my opinion – the best-sounding).

Watch this video to see what I mean:

Delayed Vibrato

Don’t rush to apply vibrato as soon as you play a note. Instead, let the note ring out for about a second and then add vibrato. 

This improves your phrasing in 3 ways:

  1. Delayed vibrato makes your guitar phrases more dramatic by bringing attention to the vibrato when it happens.
  2. Delaying the vibrato prevents you from rushing, tensing up and making your vibrato too fast/narrow and out of control.
  3. It’s easier to sync vibrato with the tempo of the music when you delay it. (That’s because you have a split second to time the start of the vibrato when the note is ringing.) 

Of course there are times when applying vibrato to a note immediately can also sound great. 

You will have a much easier time doing this after you learn to do a controlled/delayed vibrato (but not the other way around).

Delayed vibrato sounds particularly dramatic when you apply it to bent notes.

See & hear lots of examples of delayed (bent) note vibrato in this video:

And no, double stop vibrato is not only for blues (or classic rock) playing. You can use these double stop vibrato and bend ideas in all rock-based styles. 

Vibrato is one of the most important guitar techniques I help my students master in Breakthrough Guitar Lessons. (As well as other guitar techniques you need to play pro-level guitar solos.)

Emotional Lead Guitar Element #2: Vocal-Style Phrasing

You can learn a ton about playing guitar with emotion by studying… singers.

Here is why:

Singers can’t sing as fast as guitarists can’t play. And they are limited in the amount of notes they can sing on a single breath.

That means: they have no choice but to squeeze maximum emotion out of each note they sing.

And here is your opportunity as a guitar player:

Listen to your favorite singers and learn their vocal parts note for note (on your guitar).

More importantly: match the exact nuances of their vocal style on your guitar.

This not only gives you a ton of new guitar solo ideas…

…but also gives your phrasing a unique sound you’d never develop from studying other guitar players.

Watch this video to see how to mimic vocal phrasing on your guitar & play guitar solos that sing.

Emotional Lead Guitar Element #3: Rubato

Delayed resolution & Rubato go together like hand in glove.

What is rubato?

It’s a musical concept where you stretch time. I'm talking about gradually speeding up or slowing down within certain phrases.

This doesn't mean to “play out of time” by mistake. It means to accelerate or decelerate the notes intentionally to create the rubato sound.

Rather than write about it, check out this video to see & hear how cool it sounds:

Now you know how to put more 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:

Online Breakthrough Guitar Lessons With Tom Hess

Here are the results my guitar students are getting: 


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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