Improving your lead guitar skills is every guitarist’s dream. We all want our time in the spotlight, we all want to shine brighter than the band for a small amount of time, and we all want to display our hard work for everyone to see.
But there is the problem; to display hard work, we need to put in hard work. Improving lead guitar skills is not an easy feat. There is a reason that tons of guitarists stay at the same level for years. So what can separate you from the pack?
In this article, we’ll tell you.
First off, faster isn’t always better. In fact, there can be such a thing as too fast. After a while notes began to blur together. If you are in a band, you should focus on making your music not only pleasing to you but pleasing to potential listeners as well. Advancing your lead guitar skills doesn’t necessarily mean mindlessly repeating licks in front of a metronome.
To take your lead guitar playing to the next level, you should consider style. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What type of like do you tend to write; upbeat, depressive, dark? These are all things that go into your style as a guitarist.
As you progress, you want to focus more on them. Remember, no matter how fast you can play, there will always be someone faster. Unless you are a world record holder (and in that case, if you are, we commend you on your dedication) you shouldn’t worry about outracing every other guitarist under the sun.
Because they can all play fast. What they can’t do is play you. Only you can. Don’t sacrifice style. Focus on it. The best lead guitarists are the ones with recognizable licks.
Work on crafting your own personal niche. If you enjoy the blues but you are in a death metal band, don’t let that limit you; put a bluesy edge on your guitar solos. If you play jazz but love darker music, make your runs darker.
As you advance you will become more aware of your style. You will notice things that other players don’t about your playing. Never dismiss them; if they’re good, further them. If they aren’t, work on breaking the habit.
When you do want to work on speed, always use a metronome. Being a fast guitarist means absolutely nothing if you can’t play along to a piece. You want to be an accurate guitarist, not just a fast one.
Start all licks off at manageable speeds, and then work your way up. This will help you to develop a cleaner style, which is another thing that will set you apart from other guitarists.
It’s okay to write a difficult passage, but don’t cheat; too many guitarists write passages on Guitar Pro instead of using their creativity. Consequently, all the licks wind up sounding the same; mechanical. Use your imagination to set yourself apart from the rest. Have fun, and work hard.
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