LEAD GUITAR BEGINNERS
Before tackling this course, you should be comfortable with all the material from Essentials Part 3

Welcome to the essentials course part four! In this final week for the essentials course, we will be developing your pentatonic playing even further by adding bends, looking at another solo using all the techniques you have learnt so far, and finally learning a Foo Fighters style rock song that will seriously challenge you. Have fun!

Summary: Pentatonic sequence

Sequences on the guitar are what lead players use to create extended musical runs and fast solos, so we definitely want to start learning how to play them! A sequence is normally taking a scale shape and playing some kind of repetitive pattern through it. The pentatonic sequence we are learning is called '3 up, 1 down' and we are learning it in the key of B minor. We are therefore using the B minor pentatonic as shown here:

Materials: 3 up, 1 down tab

If you would like to double check the exercise and play along with the tab, click on the link below and get your guitar ready!

Summary: How to bend

Bends can be an extremely challenging technique for most beginners, but once you get them they can bring your lead playing to life! Firstly, let’s talk about how to perform the bends:

  • 1. Use your third finger to start with, place it on the note (7th fret G string)
  • 2. Position you 1st & 2nd fingers on the same string behind your 3rd finger
  • 3. Pick the note to make sure it is sounding properly
  • 4. Whilst keeping the note sounding, push the string up with all 3 fingers

We will be looking at the tab for the exercise below, but it is important to know the symbols for hammer-ons and pull-offs when reading tab. They look like this:

We are currently learning a full bend, half bend and quarter bend, each of which are pictured above. The full bend, indicated by the number '1', bends the note up a whole tone (2 frets). The half bend, indicated by the fraction '1/2', takes the note up a semi-tone (1 fret) and the quarter bend, indicated by the fraction '1/4', simply nudges the note up a little bit before stopping it dead.

Summary: Bends Solo

To put our new bends into practice, we will learn this cool guitar solo. The solo uses whole and half bends as well as hammer-ons and pull-offs. The solo is in the key of D major so make sure you can spot those pentatonic notes. As a quick reminder, here is the D major pentatonic scale:

Materials: Bends Solo tab

As always, be sure to go through the tab one lick at a time and make good use of the slow down and looping function to ensure you learn the licks inside out!

Audio: Bends Solo tracks

If you are ready to play along with the full track, you can use the audio files here (alternatively play along with the video or the tab above!).

Song: 'Foo Rock'

The above video is the full play through of our very own tune, 'Foo Rock'. This song is in the style of the Foo Fighters and includes a mixture of all the techniques we have studied so far. Watch the video all the way through then proceed to the next video for the full tutorial and learning materials.

Summary: The Main Riff

The first thing we need to get correct is the opening lead riff. This riff uses a combination of the C# minor pentatonic shape 1 as well as the C# minor scale. We have covered the notes of the major / minor scales and will be doing so more in the future, but this is a great usage of these notes. Remember your alternate picking! Here are the scale shapes we are using:

Materials: The tab

Below, you will find a link to the full tab of the song. You should only tackle the main riff at this point, so highlight that section and put it on loop until you have it together.

Summary: The verse

During the verse, you are playing a subtle but tricky little part that follows along with the chords in the track. This part requires strict alternate picking all the way through. This part is not based around a scale shape as it relies more on chord shapes, so no need to worry about visualising the notes to a scale shape.

Once you have the two parts learnt properly, you can piece them together to create the song. The structure looks like this:

  • 1. Main Riff (x1)
  • 2. One bar break (just play nothing!)
  • 3. Verse (x1)
  • 4. Main Riff (x1)
  • 5. One bar break (just play nothing!)
  • 6. Verse (x1)
  • 7. Main Riff (x1)

Materials: Solo tab

Below, you will find a link to the full tab of the song. You can now go through the verse parts and gradually piece the two elements together to create the song.

Audio: Foo Rock

If you are ready to play along with the full track you can use the audio files here (alternatively play along with the video or the tab above!).

All done?

Congratulations

You've now completed Guitar Skills: Lead Guitar Beginners and taken a huge step forwards in your guitar playing journey.

Feel free to bask in glory for a while, or go ahead and try another course if you're hungry for more.