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Fig.1. Root Notes for the Key of A

-Good Lead Solos are more than just playing through the scales.
The scales merely let you know which notes may be played and still fit harmonically with the Key.

-There is no rule saying you must stick to the notes of the scale.  If it sounds good then use it.

-The Space Between The Notes are just as important if not more so than the playing of the note.

-Don’t rush through a lead solo unless that is the particular style you are going for.  Blazing Leads have their place but there is something to be said for a well thought out lead melody played from the soul.

-Know where the root notes of the Key are and come back to them often as you are creating your lead.
These root notes are the Anchor Points for your leads.

-It is important to keep coming back to the root note (the tonic) of the song.  Keep resolving back to it to create strong melodic phrasing of your leads.  In other words if the song is in the key of “E” then know where all the “e” notes are in the Pentatonic mode you are using and give them the lions share of attention when forming a riff or lick. Your ear will tell you when to come back to it.  Your Leads will sound a lot more polished and professional.

-The Root Note is so melodically important that If you play the note (or chord) of the song’s Key over the entire song it will sound like it fits melodically. It is a bit of a oversimplification but you could play a one note lead using the Tonic (Root) note.


-Practice one or more melodic patterns (licks) and keep them in mind. These will help define the lead and give it consistency.  Any lick can be played in any Key simply by Transposing it to the Key.

-Start out Simple. Using timing and technique you can create a great lead using very few notes. Let Style carry your leads.

Video 2. Example of the most basic of leads.

-hyperlink example. Link to video examples.

-Again, play the Root note more often than the others and keep coming back to it, using it to end (and begin) a Lead phrase.

-Your lead break should fit into the structure of the song in a predetermined sequence. See Song Structure.

-Above all, play from the heart and put some soul into it.  Feel it in your timing and selection of scale notes played.

-Express your feelings through your fingers. Use the fretboard as a conduit to express the emotion of your song.

-Practice the Leads of other musicians.  Bounce ideas back and forth.

-The Pentatonic (5 note) scale is your Melodic Foundation for lead improvising.

-Incorporate the various techniques (tricks) to develop your style.
These include: Bends, Slides, Hammer-ons, Pull offs, Muting, Pinch Harmonics (Overtones), Harmonics, Trills and Vibrato. etc.

-Try playing Leads to these sample Chord Progressions (backing tracks):





–Note: If you apply Rhythm to any scale (pentatonic or diatonic) and focus on the root note you can easily create melodies and tunes.


Sequencing is following the same pattern (riff) as you ascend and descend a scale.



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