Playing lead guitar requires dedication and hard work. Here are some tips which will help you to make the best use of your practice time.
There are lots of techniques for playing lead guitar – vibrato, slides, bends, pull-offs and hammer-ons. You will have your preferences among the various techniques but you will need to become familiar with all of them if you want to be a colorful lead guitar player.
If you are wondering which techniques to practice, just get some CDs and videos of the style of music you want to play and the lead guitarists you most want to emulate. Take note of which techniques are used most heavily and if you need to be working more on chord playing or single note phrases.
As picking is a major component of lead guitar playing, special attention must be paid to the kind of picking practice you do. The basic rule is vary the way you use your pick. Practice using alternate up and down strokes. You can practice a basic major or minor blues scale going up and down with your pick as you go up and down the scale.
As you practice your technique for playing lead guitar you need to learn the notes of the scales. You will be using these scales when you are playing. To practice, you could download free backing tracks from the internet or record your own. Just a twelve bar blues sequence will do. As your backing track plays you play your scale, taking note of which notes sound right or wrong over which chord. Another way of using backing tracks is if you record rhythm tracks using single chords, for example a few minutes of a C chord, a few minutes of D, then G, and so on.
Practice slowly. This applies to all aspects of lead guitar playing. You do not PRACTICE playing guitar the way you want to actually PLAY the guitar. Speed comes naturally by itself as a result of slow practice. You need to be consistent with this – if you are new to playing lead guitar you will have to work on your patience a lot more than you expected to. There are different schools of thought about the use of the wrist or fingers for speed picking, but most guitarists recommend moving from the wrist.