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Easy Guitar Lead Lessons

To be a lead guitar player, you will need a knowledge of scales, arpeggios, riffs and licks. This short article is for the beginner guitar student who maybe knows some basic chords but wants to branch out to lead playing. Of course it is not always necessary for the lead guitar player to play solos. The lead and rhythm guitarists can work together to complement the singer's vocals. For instance the lead guitarist could play the same chords as the rhythm guitar only in a different position on the fretboard.

The most obvious and also the most freely available guitar teaching resource on the internet is guitar tablature. You can start reading guitar tab in a matter of minutes, and the more esoteric symbols used in tabs can be learnt over time as your guitar technique improves. The guitar student who aspires to being a lead guitarist should augment their tab collection with some time spent trying to work on learning material by ear. If you find picking up lead guitar solos by ear heavy going, then work on whatever you can pick up from tabs but keep plugging away at learning lead guitar by ear.

One thing you should search for in tab archives is guitar scale patterns. You can usually start with a scale in one position and work out where to play in other positions for yourself. Again, supplement your tab learning with developing your ear. Arpeggio patterns can also be found in tab form. The most important scales to learn for a beginning lead guitar player are the five shapes of the pentatonic scales. The pentatonic scales are easy to learn and guitarists find that audiences love listening to improvisations on the pentatonic scales. The favorite pentatonic scale shape is the minor pentatonic at the fifth fret on the guitar's neck:

E---------------------------------------5--8----

B--------------------------------5--8-----------

G-------------------------5--7------------------

D-------------------5--7------------------------

A------------5--7-------------------------------

E-------5-8-------------------------------------

Not quite so easy to play is this one:

E-------------------------------------8---10----

B------------------------------8---10-----------

G-------------------------7--9------------------

D-------------------7--10-----------------------

A-------------7--10-----------------------------

E-------8--10-----------------------------------

But what you gain with this shape is the facility to move up the fretboard in a sneaky and guitaristic way.

The next three pentatonic shapes are a bit more challenging, but if you find yourself balking at the extra hard work remember how cool it looks playing way up the top of the neck.

E-------------------------------------10--12----

B------------------------------10--13-----------

G-------------------------9--12-----------------

D-------------------10--12----------------------

A-------------10--12----------------------------

E-------10--12----------------------------------

E-------------------------------------12--15----

B------------------------------13--15-----------

G------------------------12--14-----------------

D-------------------12--14----------------------

A-------------12--15----------------------------

E-------12--15----------------------------------

E-------------------------------------15--17----

B------------------------------15--17-----------

G------------------------14--17-----------------

D-------------------14--17----------------------

A-------------15--17----------------------------

E-------15--17----------------------------------

Some people find practicing lead guitar alone difficult because the presence of the other band members helps to get the creative juices flowing. Playing along with CDs is a great way to practice improvisation. You need to know when to put the metronome and scales away and do some good old bedroom grandstanding. You could also play along to drum machines. Or you could play along to some music that is not familiar to you. Take a moment to find what key you are playing in and start jamming. Practicing like this will help you stay out of the rut of playing the same material all the time.