Getting ready to play lead?

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NiallseroreillyNiallseroreilly Frets: 145
edited June 17 in Technique
Im a decent enough guitarist, played for a while. Played in an acoustic band for a while and i sing decently enough. 

But my aim would be to get my lead chops up to a high standard in order to play lead/rhythm in a good function band.

I saw one of the players on here posting a nice setlist with up tempo disco tracks and i copied them onto a word document.

My goal would be to learn said tracks over the next year or so and then at that stage i feel like i could put myself out there.

Any advice from experience lead players how i should approach learning the tracks for prospective bands?


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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2084
    Get out there and play.  Play anywhere you can.  It is not important to be highly skilled before you try.  My advice is to get out there and play.  Enjoy.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • BradBrad Frets: 162
    edited June 18
    Rocker said:
    Get out there and play.  Play anywhere you can.  It is not important to be highly skilled before you try.  My advice is to get out there and play.  Enjoy.
    +1

    It's a little like driving. It's only once you've passed the test and you're out on your own that you really learn to drive. Get out there and play, have fun, make mistakes, learn from them. You'll get better quicker by doing so. 

    Some good advice I was given was to 'do the simple things well'. For me having great rhythm skills is most important but for lead playing - good time, tone, intonation (bends/vibrato) and being melodic are the most important aspects IMO rather than being too flash at first. Don't feel you have to try and impress people or play too much, serve the song first and foremost. Those are the musicians I like playing with most and besides, the sax player takes all the glory anyway wink 

    Try and get a lot of varied repertoire under your fingers. Keep your ears open and be adaptable because no matter how much homework you've done things don't always follow the recording you've worked off. But do make charts of what you've learned so that you can refer back to if/when needed.  

    Learn to bullshit too smile  You'll be surprised what you can get away with if you can blag a bit and project an aura of confidence and control, even when you and the band are actually clinging on for dear life! 

    Get a set down but as soon as you can get out there, play and enjoy it. That's the best and only education really. 
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 103
    Defo listen and learn lead guitar parts to your favourite artists. Just cos you're "lead" doesn't necessarily mean you have to be a widdler or high speed shredder. Some of the best lead lines are cool little phrases, e.g second verse of "Learn To Fly" by the Foo Fighters, there's a lovely little lead phrase underneath the chords. 
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  • Do you guys use a lot of triads and arpeggios over rhythm parts? Should i approach learning a set in this manner?
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 1839
    This advice of "just go out and play" is painful, just like when you see some guy wanking out of tune and out of time at a gig. 

    Ideally you should be practicing solos in the correct genre, getting to know your scale patterns, moving between positions cleanly, vibrato, bends etc

    Where are you at with your theoretical knowledge?
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  • This advice of "just go out and play" is painful, just like when you see some guy wanking out of tune and out of time at a gig. 

    Ideally you should be practicing solos in the correct genre, getting to know your scale patterns, moving between positions cleanly, vibrato, bends etc

    Where are you at with your theoretical knowledge?
    Pretty happy with theory, understand harmonised scales and chord makeup.

    Just feel like I need to learn a full setlist then put myself out there.
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  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 57
    Do you guys use a lot of triads and arpeggios over rhythm parts? Should i approach learning a set in this manner?
    These are useful techniques to learn, and they can be played during songs and sometimes in solos. However, I'd suggest learning some solos and then trying to play them along with the songs. Pick something that sounds simple to start with and ensure you get the phrasing, timing, bends etc right. You may be surprised at some of the subtleties when you listen closely and try to replicate the solo. Over time, pick solos to different types of songs to improve your technique, eg blues, rock, metal, ballads.
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  • GrunfeldGrunfeld Frets: 2054
    edited June 19

    My goal would be to learn said tracks over the next year or so and then at that stage i feel like i could put myself out there.
    Any advice from experience lead players how i should approach learning the tracks for prospective bands?
    Some wise advice on here already:
    Don't take a year!  Learn a set list in a couple of weeks; month at the max.  They're only songs.
    Then polish them all. 
    Lead playing:  A well-played simplified solo sounds good; a poorly-played difficult solo sounds bad.  Rule:  simplify all difficult stuff until you can play it easily.  (Or you will sound bad.)  It's quite acceptable to gig with simplified solos.  Joe Punter will not know any difference whatsoever.
    FOR SALE:  BARGAIN:  NEW EMG -mini-humbuckers;  :  Akai Headrush E2; Marhsall 1960a 4x12
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  • DulcetJonesDulcetJones Frets: 336
    I would suggest learning the pentantonic scale patterns (there's 5) and how they apply to most pop/rock/blues etc..., doing this helped me learn the basics of most solos I needed and allowed me the option of improvising instead of copying.  This will be of immense value if you go to an open jam.  I find myself at these a lot where I'm on stage with a bunch of people I don't know all that well and the guy at the mic shouts "12 bar shuffle in E" and then just rips into the song.  Having a set list of songs like you suggest is good, but this will make it easier to accomplish.  

    Whoever called it "rush hour" should not be allowed to name anything else.

    Dulcet Jones Creepy Music Blog http://dulcetjones.blogspot.com/

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  • Grunfeld said:

    My goal would be to learn said tracks over the next year or so and then at that stage i feel like i could put myself out there.
    Any advice from experience lead players how i should approach learning the tracks for prospective bands?
    Some wise advice on here already:
    Don't take a year!  Learn a set list in a couple of weeks; month at the max.  They're only songs.
    Then polish them all. 
    Lead playing:  A well-played simplified solo sounds good; a poorly-played difficult solo sounds bad.  Rule:  simplify all difficult stuff until you can play it easily.  (Or you will sound bad.)  It's quite acceptable to gig with simplified solos.  Joe Punter will not know any difference whatsoever.
    Yeah that sounds good. If I knuckle down I could achieve it this summer.
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  • I would suggest learning the pentantonic scale patterns (there's 5) and how they apply to most pop/rock/blues etc..., doing this helped me learn the basics of most solos I needed and allowed me the option of improvising instead of copying.  This will be of immense value if you go to an open jam.  I find myself at these a lot where I'm on stage with a bunch of people I don't know all that well and the guy at the mic shouts "12 bar shuffle in E" and then just rips into the song.  Having a set list of songs like you suggest is good, but this will make it easier to accomplish.  
    Thank you. Im pretty comfortable with the shapes and can solo reasonably well and also solo with arpeggios but I need to sit down and learn the songs and get my technique perfect.

    I think the main thing I'm gathering is to keep it simple and try and get out there as quick as possible.
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 348
    I try to stay mindful of where the tonic and dominant notes are, and then fill in the gaps  =)
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 3081
    Learn to play the melody and the hooks. Means you've always got somewhere to go.
    You may have noticed me at the R.E.M. gig - I was in the corner, under the spotlight.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1261
    edited June 20

    ... my aim would be to get my lead chops up to a high standard in order to play lead/rhythm in a good function band.

    ... My goal would be to learn said tracks over the next year or so and then at that stage i feel like i could put myself out there.

    Is your desire to play lead, or to play in a band? The reason I ask is that guitarists are two a penny, whereas decent singers are rare. With the ability to sing and play rhythm guitar, and previous band experience, you shouldn't find it too difficult to join a band. 

    Lead playing in function bands is quite limited. Most audience members are there to hear songs which they know, and lead work is limited to a few well known solos. You can get away with learning simplified versions of these, as and when you need to. Opportunities to play your own composed solos can be rare, and even rarer are the times where you need to make up a solo on the spot.

    More often you will find riffs or melody fragments which drive the song along, for example Run To You, Get Back, and Message In A Bottle. It's worth learning these for songs you like, or expect to play. In doing so you will pick up techniques like slides, hammers and bends, and a sense of timing.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 5875
    Yeh, the old if you want to play guitar in a band learn to sing or buy a van. 

    I suppose it depends what you mean by a good functions band, if it's playing Mustang Sally down the pub to two old men or playing corporate functions or your aunt's wedding. Although in all of these outstanding soloing chops probably aren't what would get you the gig.

    Function bands often have to learn stuff quickly for a gig and not just only do their regular set. If you are going to auditions you might have to learn something quickly for that as well. Working out / transcribing songs so you can play a working version in a relatively short period of time is probably more useful than learning every note in a solo over six months in terms of being able to hold down a functions gig. @octatonic did a wonderful Discussion on how he learns cover versions which is well worth a look if he or someone else can dig it up. 

    Just as a for example I went to see Imelda May the other week. She had two guitarists in her band neither of which had played on any of her records, so in effect this was a function gig to 1200 people for them. Very little of what they played was note for note off the records - they did good versions of themselves rather than bad versions of Marc Ribot, Jeff Beck and Darrell Higham. If anyone cared they were probably in a tiny minority, I noticed ( but didn't care) and I suspect that made me in a small minority as well.
    Let's turn our attention away from the Lion King to the lion bastards - the politicians. 
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1042
    I think this may be what you were referring to @EricTheWeary ?

    http://thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/85579/the-inaugural-learn-a-song-a-day-for-a-month-challenge/p1

    Quite inspirational, I keep it open in a tab on my browser, very good resource, well presented, nice one @octatonic ;...

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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 16239
    Yeh, the old if you want to play guitar in a band learn to sing or buy a van. 

    I suppose it depends what you mean by a good functions band, if it's playing Mustang Sally down the pub to two old men or playing corporate functions or your aunt's wedding. Although in all of these outstanding soloing chops probably aren't what would get you the gig.

    Function bands often have to learn stuff quickly for a gig and not just only do their regular set. If you are going to auditions you might have to learn something quickly for that as well. Working out / transcribing songs so you can play a working version in a relatively short period of time is probably more useful than learning every note in a solo over six months in terms of being able to hold down a functions gig. @octatonic did a wonderful Discussion on how he learns cover versions which is well worth a look if he or someone else can dig it up. 

    Just as a for example I went to see Imelda May the other week. She had two guitarists in her band neither of which had played on any of her records, so in effect this was a function gig to 1200 people for them. Very little of what they played was note for note off the records - they did good versions of themselves rather than bad versions of Marc Ribot, Jeff Beck and Darrell Higham. If anyone cared they were probably in a tiny minority, I noticed ( but didn't care) and I suspect that made me in a small minority as well.
    I agree with the 'learn to sing or buy a van' thing.
    I've been able to learn to play drums in less time that it has taken me to find a band to play guitar in.
    I'm now gigging in two bands as a drummer and could potentially join 5 more.
    If I want to play guitar in a band then I pretty much have to start it, or just dep for other people, which I do a bit of.

    On transcription- don't be worried about note for note transcriptions unless you are in a tribute show for a specific band, even then you can take certain liberties.
    This isn't classical music, you should feel comfortable about doing your own version of a song, up to a point.
    The most important skill here is being adaptable and able to think (and play) on your feet.

    You want to learn how to rapidly learn songs good enough to gig- I see people get bogged down on the first few songs and then give up.
    You don't really want to busk them either, unless you are a really advanced guitarist.
    I've been known to treat a gig as a rehearsal session and it can go ok, or it can go very badly.

    This is how I approach transcribing songs:


    I am the juice of four limes.
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  • Brilliant guys thank you
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 5875
    I think this may be what you were referring to @EricTheWeary ?

    http://thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/85579/the-inaugural-learn-a-song-a-day-for-a-month-challenge/p1

    Quite inspirational, I keep it open in a tab on my browser, very good resource, well presented, nice one @octatonic ;...
    Yes that one although it's a bit more chatty than I remember it! 
    Couple of the comments were things like learning a song a week is feasible and for the OP setting himself that kind of challenge might be ideal. He doesn't have to memorize 52 songs in the next year but it's getting used to the process.Eventually he will be looking at auditions and they will say ( something like)can you learn these three songs for next week and if the answer is No then that's that audition failed then ( assuming they are popular cover versions and not a band doing Frank Zappa songs at weddings). 

    As a disclaimer I'm not particularly good at that kind of process myself but I do try to work out the basics of something from time to time just to exercise that bit of my brain. 


    Let's turn our attention away from the Lion King to the lion bastards - the politicians. 
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  • TheBlueWolfTheBlueWolf Frets: 1439
    Learn some songs in the genre you're hoping to get into. I say *songs* because ( IMHO ) some of the better solos match the melody of the piece. Not that there's anything wrong with the widdly stuff mind ;)

    Arpeggios are a good place to start as you're outlining the chords but you need the tension and release that a scale offers to liven things up a bit, so maybe add some scale tones in once you've got the arps down :)
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  • vizviz Frets: 4202
    edited June 24
    I agree, the trick to good solo writing is good tunefulness, so try to avoid just noodling in the relevant chord scale (or arp) as the respective chords change and shift underneath. That makes for a very static-sounding melody. 

    Instead think of simple tunes that flow naturally with the music and play them. Good tunes don't have hop about too much, they can be quite lyrical and chromatic, with notes close together that are easy to play. 
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9123
    Just remember that Kerry King made a career from just going apeshit in E minor.


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