Master Lead Guitar with the Easiest Beginner Lesson: 4 Versatile Licks for E Minor and A Minor

Learning to play lead guitar can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but for many beginners, it can also feel intimidating. Where do you start? What scales should you learn? How do you know when to come in with your solo? Fear not, because in this article, we’ll guide you through the easiest lead guitar lesson for beginners, focusing on four versatile licks that you can use in both E minor and A minor.

Understanding the Minor Scale
Before we dive into the licks, let’s take a moment to understand the foundation of lead guitar playing: the minor scale. The minor scale is a common choice for guitarists because of its emotional and expressive qualities. In this lesson, we’ll be using the E minor and A minor scales, which are relative to each other, meaning they share the same notes.

The E minor scale consists of the following notes: E, F#, G, A, B, C, D
The A minor scale consists of the following notes: A, B, C, D, E, F#, G

By mastering these scales, you’ll have a solid foundation for creating melodic and captivating lead guitar lines.

The Four Versatile Licks
Now, let’s learn the four licks that will serve as your go-to tools for lead guitar playing. Each lick starts with your middle finger on the G string, sliding from the second to the fourth fret.

Lick 1:

  • Middle finger: Slide from 2nd to 4th fret on the G string
  • Index finger: 3rd fret on the B string
  • Ring finger: 5th fret on the B string (E note)

Lick 2:

  • Middle finger: Slide from 4th to 6th fret on the G string
  • Index finger: 5th fret on the B string (E note)

Lick 3:

  • Middle finger: Slide from 6th to 9th fret on the G string
  • Index finger: 8th fret on the B string
  • Middle finger: 9th fret on the G string

Lick 4:

  • Middle finger: Slide from 9th to 11th fret on the G string
  • Index finger: 10th fret on the B string
  • Middle finger: 12th fret on the B string
  • Index finger: 10th fret on the E string
  • Middle finger: 12th fret on the E string (E note)

Practice these licks slowly at first, focusing on clean execution and intonation. As you become more comfortable, gradually increase your speed and experiment with different rhythmic variations.

Timing and Phrasing
One of the most common questions beginner guitarists ask is, “When do I come in with my solo?” The answer lies in understanding timing and phrasing.

In this lesson, we’ll practice counting measures and coming in on the fourth beat. The metronome will be going “1, 2, 3, 4,” and you’ll start each lick on the “4” count. For example:

1, 2, 3, 4, and 1, 2, 3, 4
(Play lick)

Practice counting along with the metronome and playing each lick on the fourth beat. This will help you develop a sense of timing and know when to come in with your lead lines.

Applying the Licks to Backing Tracks
Now that you have the licks and timing down, it’s time to apply them to real musical contexts. We’ll start with an E minor backing track.

As the backing track plays, listen for the pulse and count along:
1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and

Once you’ve internalized the pulse, start playing the licks on the fourth beat. Experiment with different licks and variations, and don’t be afraid to mix and match them. The goal is to create a melodic and expressive lead guitar line that complements the backing track.

Next, we’ll try the same licks over an A minor backing track. Even though the backing track is in a different key, these licks will still sound great. Follow the same process of finding the pulse, counting, and playing the licks on the fourth beat.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use these licks in other keys besides E minor and A minor?
A: Yes, you can transpose these licks to other keys by shifting the starting position on the fretboard. For example, if you want to play in G minor, start the licks on the 3rd fret of the G string instead of the 2nd fret.

Q: How can I make my lead guitar playing sound more interesting?
A: To add interest to your lead guitar playing, try incorporating techniques such as bends, vibrato, hammer-ons, and pull-offs. Experiment with different rhythmic patterns and phrasing, and listen to how your favorite guitarists construct their solos for inspiration.

Q: What other scales can I learn for lead guitar playing?
A: After mastering the minor scale, you can explore other scales commonly used in lead guitar playing, such as the pentatonic scale, the blues scale, and the modes of the major scale (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian).

Learning lead guitar doesn’t have to be complicated or intimidating. By starting with these four versatile licks and understanding timing and phrasing, you’ll be well on your way to crafting expressive and melodic lead guitar lines.

Remember, the key to success is consistent practice and experimentation. Take these licks, make them your own, and don’t be afraid to explore new ideas and techniques. With dedication and passion, you’ll soon be impressing your audience with your lead guitar skills.

So grab your guitar, fire up a backing track, and start your journey to mastering lead guitar playing today!

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