Guitar Classroom

Lead Guitarist

5 Ways to Be a Well Behaved Lead Guitarist

By Ismail I M Mohd

Some lead guitarists think that a band's only purpose is to play backing for their solos. But an attitude like this can get you into trouble with your band. Your attitude can often show up in your habits at the band's practice sessions. Here are some of the bad lead guitarist's rehearsal habits you should avoid if you don't want to be thrown out of your band.

Guitar Solo (Queen on fire live at the Bowl 1982)

Don't Play Too Loud

You don't need to play three times louder than the rest of the band. Ask if everybody can hear you clearly or if you are too loud. Once you've found a good level don't push up the volume of your guitar as the rehearsal goes on.

Don't Play Too Much

The best lead guitarists don't play lots of notes, or play all the time. Leave some space and air around your leads and they will be more effective and remarkable for it. Remember, silence is golden.

Don't Play Over the Singer

A special case of "don't play too much" that you really must pay attention to. Keep your lead lines for the solos in the song or fills between the vocal phrases. Don't play leads over the singer.

Don't Practice Your Licks between Songs

Often when the band stops playing a lead guitarist profits from the quiet to test how their licks sound through the Marshall stack at full volume. The other band members are deafened and can't hear what they are saying.

Maybe the lead guitarist thinks he has to do this because he can't play that loud at home. But it is annoying and disrespectful of the other musicians and won't make you popular.

Don't Twiddle Effects Endlessly

Guitarists are prone to this habit more than other musicians. A little more reverb, a bit less delay, a touch of fuzz, fiddle with the distortion... Meanwhile the rest of the band is waiting to play.

If you want to experiment with effects, do it at home on your own time, or book some time in the rehearsal room for yourself to do it. Don't force the rest of the band to listen to you playing with your effects all through the rehearsal, or for half an hour before it can start.

These rehearsal habits really show your attitude to the other musicians in your band. Make sure you avoid bad ones like these to show your fellow musicians that you respect them. You will all get along much better and you'll reduce your chances of being thrown out of the band.

Ismail Mohd is the creator of where musicians can meet bassists, drummers, guitarists and vocalists living near them. They can also upload or download instrumental tracks to jam along to.

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