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Creating interesting lead lines

Dan Shipway

Slim Shady
  • Nov 11, 2019
    720
    142
    9
    Hey guys. I have decided that I want to progress with more lead playing, more specifically writing lead lines. Whilst I am not too happy with how clean my technique is (it has definitely come a long way though), I am confident enough to use different techniques in my playing such as sweeps, alternate picking and tapping.

    The thing I am struggling with is, as someone who has only been learning songs or scales, trying to turn what I have learned into something that sounds sonically interesting whilst also being fairly technical. I find more often than not that I either play very technical and the musicality goes away or I play slow and I can come up with something that sounds a bit more melodic.

    I also find myself just playing the scale up and down or using the same pattern throughout a scale run (going up in 3s etc) so everything sounds predictable. I tend to lock myself into one or two positions and use one scale too. Just wondered if anyone had tips for any of this? My theory knowledge is a long way off but I feel like with the scale knowledge and chord knowledge I have I am still not utilising it as much as I could be.

    Thanks,
    Slim
     

    William B.

    Hot Topic Tourer
    Legend
  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Not sure if this is helpful but I think that if you can write the slow stuff you can eventually practice it up to a speed you want.

    I've got similar issues

    with the 3's and being predictable, try to mix up the counting or be playful. Sometimes nice stuff comes from making mistakes

    Perhaps if you continue with learning more about it more things may make sense and you'll branch out on the stuff that already feel comfortable with
    it could also give more ideas and like if your comfortable with what your playing it's possible your not learning but more honing those things.

    Like an example is I can slide up good but slide back is less so to think out of the box I'm practicing sliding back. So it's like try to do what I normally don't

    trying to put some stuff out there
     
    Last edited:

    Muz Malek

    Sold-out Crowd Surfer
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    Nov 11, 2019
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    10
    Hey guys. I have decided that I want to progress with more lead playing, more specifically writing lead lines. Whilst I am not too happy with how clean my technique is (it has definitely come a long way though), I am confident enough to use different techniques in my playing such as sweeps, alternate picking and tapping.

    The thing I am struggling with is, as someone who has only been learning songs or scales, trying to turn what I have learned into something that sounds sonically interesting whilst also being fairly technical. I find more often than not that I either play very technical and the musicality goes away or I play slow and I can come up with something that sounds a bit more melodic.

    I also find myself just playing the scale up and down or using the same pattern throughout a scale run (going up in 3s etc) so everything sounds predictable. I tend to lock myself into one or two positions and use one scale too. Just wondered if anyone had tips for any of this? My theory knowledge is a long way off but I feel like with the scale knowledge and chord knowledge I have I am still not utilising it as much as I could be.

    Thanks,
    Slim
    I've got 2 tips that I picked up from watching loads of interviews from @Syn Gates , Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, @Brian Haner Sr. etc.:

    You can either:
    1. Hum out melodies over a chord progressions(or without)
    2. Learn as many existing solos/arpeggios/vocal melodies from as many guitarists/singers of different styles as possible. While some say you'll end up sounding like a certain musician, it doesn't matter because we are either gifted with the ability to create melodies out of the air or we'll eventually develop our own style upon learning the styles of others, especially a variety of them.

    Sometimes we are subconsciously build this mental wall of not wanting to end up sounding like someone, hence not allowing our creative juices to flow. As long as you're not copying note-for-note or word-for-word, you're all good.

    All the best and cheers! :rock-hand: :rock-hand:
     

    Dan Shipway

    Slim Shady
  • Nov 11, 2019
    720
    142
    9
    I have been working more on this following the great tips that have been posted here. One problem I have noticed is that I am really struggling to come up with any type of melody idea. I feel as though I dont have that musician mindset that is portrayed by lots of people where they are constantly humming or have songs stuck in their head and they come up with loads of new Ideas. I dont have that and I feel like the creative flame in me died.

    I definitely want this to come back but im not sure how, since I have been playing songs note for note how they should be played and never really finding my own voice on the instrument.

    The second thing that is making this a little difficult is that I honestly dont know what background knowledge is useful to have. I know that knowledge of theory isn't massively important to be able to improv but I have hardly any theory knowledge (I know 1 minor pentatonic shape, 2 major shapes and that is about it, I dont even know where all the notes on the fretboard are). I feel like I need more knowledge such as triads, more scales etc to be able to make the most of this but I am really not sure since it seems that as I said before, its not really needed.
     

    Muz Malek

    Sold-out Crowd Surfer
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    Nov 11, 2019
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    I have been working more on this following the great tips that have been posted here. One problem I have noticed is that I am really struggling to come up with any type of melody idea. I feel as though I dont have that musician mindset that is portrayed by lots of people where they are constantly humming or have songs stuck in their head and they come up with loads of new Ideas. I dont have that and I feel like the creative flame in me died.

    I definitely want this to come back but im not sure how, since I have been playing songs note for note how they should be played and never really finding my own voice on the instrument.

    The second thing that is making this a little difficult is that I honestly dont know what background knowledge is useful to have. I know that knowledge of theory isn't massively important to be able to improv but I have hardly any theory knowledge (I know 1 minor pentatonic shape, 2 major shapes and that is about it, I dont even know where all the notes on the fretboard are). I feel like I need more knowledge such as triads, more scales etc to be able to make the most of this but I am really not sure since it seems that as I said before, its not really needed.
    That's great.

    One very, very, very important tip I'd like to add is to not give yourself a limit. That is one of ths other subconscious danger we may have that we don't know.

    How does it work? Firstly it'll make you conclude that your creative juice is maxed out. But is it really? Or is it just that you've yet to expand your style & knowledge in other possible ways to express yourself?

    Inspiration for melodies can come in many, many, many ways, especially in guitars. It can come, like what i mentioned before, an existing guitar solo, but it can also come from a vocal riff, a piano riff, a violin riff, and many more.

    We are fortunate at this day and age to have access to music with a simple click/tap on YouTube & other streaming platforms.

    Follow through what is shared & recommended by everyone here & open up your doors of possibilities by putting away preferences for now. You'll realize that there's more than what you currently feel like you've limited yourself into.

    Cheers!
     

    Dan Shipway

    Slim Shady
  • Nov 11, 2019
    720
    142
    9
    How would you go about incorporating these styles? I find that when I improvise I always find that I default to what I know by heart. If for example, there is a mode I would like to use but I dont know it well I will just run it up and down or not use it.

    I think that is what I struggle the most with honestly. I have been working on the caged system but I dont know how to incorporate it in my playing. It tends to feel like "ok we are playing the minor pentatonic, ok now we are in the major scale, now we are in the C shape arpeggio" and it seems like I get into a position and stay in it, move to another and stay in that instead of it being a huge mix of different scales.

    This is the same with styles or timing, I could play one style and then move to another and it doesn't really seem as though its a lot of different flavour notes or little flairs added into what is being played
     
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    Muz Malek

    Sold-out Crowd Surfer
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    Nov 11, 2019
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    How would you go about incorporating these styles? I find that when I improvise I always find that I default to what I know by heart. If for example, there is a mode I would like to use but I dont know it well I will just run it up and down or not use it.

    I think that is what I struggle the most with honestly. I have been working on the caged system but I dont know how to incorporate it in my playing. It tends to feel like "ok we are playing the minor pentatonic, ok now we are in the major scale, now we are in the C shape arpeggio" and it seems like I get into a position and stay in it, move to another and stay in that instead of it being a huge mix of different scales which is what it seems like a lot of improv is.
    One way that worked for me in realizing the many possibilities of what one can do in one key is to really listen to many many many guitarists' guitar solos.

    For example, Syn's known to primarily write in D minor, but you can see how many different styles of solos he can do within the key, and it's all also got to do with his chord arrangements too.

    It really does help to not just listen, but to play alot.

    Try to remove that "What if" or "How the hell", and get to work! You're only gonna worry the more you stop & wonder than to progress in wander.

    Cheers!