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How To Play Lead Guitar

Lead Guitar Quick-Start Series - Lesson 1/12

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Welcome to the first video of the Lead Guitar Quick-Start Series! This series is perfect for anyone new to playing lead guitar, and great for those already playing lead guitar but are unsure what to practice next.

I’ll show you techniques specific to each hand, and teach you the most important scales. Then we’ll go through specific techniques like legato, hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, and vibrato. I’ll share tips to make your solos sound awesome, and we’ll even go through your first solo, tying everything in the Lead Guitar Series together.

As a bonus, I’ll be including real music for you to practice with as we go. That will be much better than just practicing with a metronome!

In this lesson we’ll focus on your fretting hand, and the first tip I have for you is to simply relax. If you feel any tension along your shoulders, arms, or hands, shake it out and get comfortable before starting to play again.

Now let’s look at hand posture for playing lead guitar. Pretend you’re holding a baseball in your hand - that’s the easiest way to have good hand posture. Now move your hand to the guitar, put your thumb on the back of the neck, and then place your fingers on the fretboard.

Good basic finger posture is to come down on the strings with the very tip of your finger, the same way you would when you’re making a chord, and be sure to place your fingers right behind the fret so there’s no extra buzzing noise when playing. Keep your thumb along the back of the neck as a starting point, at least until we get into other techniques.

For the scales you learn in this series, we’ll be using the designated finger concept. This means you’ll have a finger dedicated to notes played on a particular fret. If you were playing a G major scale, you would get any notes along the second fret with your first finger, any notes along with third fret with your second finger, and so on.

The last tip is another simple one: keep your fingernails short. When my fingernails grow longer, it’s harder to hold the notes with the tips of my fingers, plus my nails dig into the fretboard.

Keep these basic tips in mind to help you out as we move through the remaining lessons. Now I have to remind you, you probably won’t sound like an all-star lead guitarist as soon you start these lessons. The important thing is to practice consistently, using the real music I supply in each lesson.

Next up in the Lead Guitar Quick-Start Series, we’ll be looking at basic techniques for your picking hand. See you then!

Next Lesson - Basic Picking Technique