As I sat at my computer this evening, surfing the web for all things guitar-related, I stumbled across this video that I thought I’d post under the heading lead guitar lessons. At first I thought this was just another bedroom guitarist shoveling mediocrity into the guitar interwebs. And if you don’t pay attention you might think the same.
But look again! Or I should say, “listen again!” Because this guy, with his grainy-effect video and goofy-looking headphones can teach you a lot about how to play lead guitar.
“But he’s just playing along to Radiohead”, I hear you cry. “And it’s not even that fast or technically challenging – in fact my mate taught himself to play that the other day and he’s only been playing a couple of months”.
Ah yes, but can your mate play this piece properly? He might get the notes in the right order. They might even be in time, but what about the dynamics, the intonation…the feel?
The tubby bloke in the video has got this down. Pay attention because you can learn from him.
Listen to the dynamics of what he is playing. The softness of some notes. The loudness of others. He introduces these subtle variations expertly and effortlessly to create lead guitar with true feeling. If this passed you by, don’t sweat it – you’re a beginner, that’s why you’re reading this blog – but do yourself a favour, go back and watch the video a few more times. Listen to how David varies the volume of the notes. He attacks some of them and barely brushes the string with his pick on others.
This kind of guitar playing is where the men can distinguish themselves from the boys. Shred all you want. Those high gain, effects filled, blistering solos do sound impressive but they can hide sloppy technique and, to be honest, you can get away with murder if you just keep widdling away with that kind of playing.
A true master can blow you away with an apparently simple piece, played with real feeling and perfect technique.
Watch Dave, follow his left hand, practise until you can play the notes and they become second nature. Then you can add the emotion and feeling into the mix through correct use of dynamics. Once you can do that, you’ll be one step closer to playing like a pro. And get some lead guitar lessons, if you can learn a lot from watching Dave’s video, imagine what a good guitar teacher can do for you…