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The #1 Trick that Drastically Improved my Lead Playing

Regardless of your preferred genre, chances are you’ve imagined yourself playing an amazing solo or melody line at some point! I mean, come on, playing solos on the guitar is totally awesome and a lot of fun, so why wouldn’t you? There’s only one problem. Every solo you play sounds the same, and no matter how many new licks you learn off of YouTube you can’t seem to shake the habit of going back to the same old things.

Luckily for you, I know exactly how to get out of that rut. Check it out!

The totally rad game changer that’s sure to inspire you and those around you:

The first thing we need to do is completely change how we view solos and melodies as a whole. Most of the time when stuck in a rut its “We need more notes! More is more! Play more and it’ll sound better! Learn more stuff and I’ll be where I want to be!” which, unfortunately, is not the right answer. Instead, let’s view the ideas we do have (assuming we can play them correctly) like words in a language.

Everything we say has meaning, and based on how we use those words, and how we emphasize those words, it’ll completely change the emotional feeling those words are trying to convey. I’ll use the word love as an example:

I love food (sounds like I’m arguing with someone) I LOVE food (I sound a little too excited here!)
I love FOOD (Kind of aggressive don’t you think?)

I used the same words each time but emphasized a different word to change the meaning of the entire sentence. I didn’t have to add words to convey a specific emotion or to change how it sounded. It works the same way with guitar, so before you go to YouTube and waste more time learning ideas you’ll never use, recycle the ones you do have, but shift the focus to emphasizing it differently. This way one old idea can easily turn into ten fresh ones!

Some ideas to help stir the pot:

  1. Add bends where there aren’t any
  2. Put as much vibrato in as you can (milk it for all the emotion that it is worth!)
  3. Slides
  4. Add a tapped note somewhere
  5. Move it up an octave
  6. Change the original key or mode
  7. Harmonize it!

The sky is limitless! Sometimes it helps to have a change or perspective! Happy soloing!

About the Author: Blake Stevenson is a guitar instructor based out of Cleburne, Texas. With his unorthodox approach to soloing, he has helped many guitar players achieve new heights. If you’d like to see more from Blake Stevenson, check out the best guitar lessons in Cleburne Texas.

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