Tasteful lead accompaniment

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by rshull07, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. rshull07

    rshull07 Member

    Messages:
    130
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Being a lead guitar player doest always mean burning through solos putting yourself out on the ragged edge of you ability. After graduating from music school and being in the "Real" professional gigging world for about a year I've quickly learned that more often that not my job as a guitarist is to make tasteful light detail, rather than playing THAT scale over THIS chord to get THE sound. Ive never been a fan of all the shredding and lightning fast playing, Its very impressive and take dedication, but to my ear I prefer something with more soul and less notes. So my question to any like minded players out there is how should I approach taking a simple chord progression, like G/D/Em/C for example playing with a singer songwriter (Which here in Atlanta is most of my gigs) and embellishing that. Making what Im playing compliment them instead of step on everybody's toes with tasty licks (which dont get me wrong I DO enjoy some tasty licks) Basically whats a good way to lead, without over playing and how can I practice working more chordal style lead stuff into my trick bag?
     
  2. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

    Messages:
    10,510
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Location:
    Encinitas, SoCal
    I suggest listening to work of bands like the Eagles who always found just the right, tasteful solos to go in between the lyrics.

    The rarely played when someone was singing, but when there was a break in the words the most tasty fills come though. And I don't think they were improvised. I think they spent a long time find just the right thing to play, and would do the same lciks in concert.

    And when it was time to solo, the tried to fit the mood of the song.

    That is completely different from shredding, which is really more suited to live shows where the audience wants it eye to go to different things all the time. You want to shred when somebody is looking, not when they are just listening (we are talking about average listeners here, not players listening to your songs).

    Most people don't think "Oh, here;s the solo, I wonder what kind of guitar player we have here?" - They are just into the song, melody, etc.

    A good lead solo can be YOUR own version of a melody where the chord changes are the most important thing. My goal when writing a solo is to come up with something that fits the song but also has a few surprises - going to notes people wouldn't expect. I mean the notes still work with the chord changes, but melodic notes also "fit together" - so the solo needs to find the notes that fit together in a pleasing way. That is more important than speed or shredding.

    I was watching an Alice Cooper interview where he talks about lyrics and he says "there is something about getting just the right word at just the right time" where you get a real payoff. Lead solos are like that.
     
  3. Long2Play

    Long2Play Member

    Messages:
    2,087
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado
    Study Jimi Hendrix's playing big time. Songs like "Wind Cry's Mary" or "Angel" He would play very tasteful fills between his own vocals. It is an R&B based approach with lots of double stops that can be adapted to many styles. He used simple chordal based ideas that can really make a nice set of sounds inside the vocal lines. You hear these types of moves in tons of music, from classic Stax & Motown recordings all the way to SRV & John Mayer.
     
  4. Michael_V

    Michael_V Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,678
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    I feel you, brother.

    Listen to Daniel Carson, the electric guitarist for the singer/songwriter Chris Tomlin. He has phenomenal musicality. Always very tasteful and appropriate to the song, and his playing always manages to make the song better.

    That is the goal.
     
  5. CowTipton

    CowTipton Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,523
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    Location:
    Haunting Mid-west
    A very simple way that I've been trying to improve my own lead-type playing is to use/make my own backing tracks.

    For a chordal approach like you mentioned, I would create a G/D/Em/C backing track, loop it, and then start playing with different chord voicings, inversions, arpeggios, Dom chords, etc. See what sounds good.

    Or for a shortcut, check out how others have done it. Not just other lead players but singers as well. Lead phrasing and singing can be quite similar. What is it about their takes that makes em interesting? Is it the note choice, the dynamics, the rhythm, etc?
     
  6. stevel

    stevel Member

    Messages:
    12,958
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Location:
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    In a broad sense, "lead" as you're describing it here means to me things like "single note lines", "fills", "countermelody" and bascially "high parts".

    Take a song like Rio by Duran Duran. In the chorus, he just plays long single held notes (in a processed synth-like tone). This is what I mean by single note lines.

    As for fills, I mean the quintessential fill-laden tune, "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits.

    Countermelody involves playing something that's independent, but subservient. "Night Moves" by Bob Seger is a great example. After the first verse, there's the vocal and strumming acoustic, but there's the new "lead" part that's playing a little melodic countermelody.

    I chose high parts intentionally for a broader term but these could be simply doubling the chords in higher octaves in "lead" fashion, such as the arpeggiated parts in "And I Love Her" by The Beatles. But I'd also include in here any "chinky chinky" parts (the ones that become almost snare drum hits, like in "My Girl" or reggae drops, upbeat in ska, rhythmic figures in funk (Play That Funky Music or Love Roller Coaster).

    To be honest, I think the solution is simply to listen to other songs and see what they do. There's a lot more of the "basic" stuff in songs from the 50s and 60s - i.e. before the guitar hero era. But of course the filly stuff is useful and can be found (for guitar) from the 70s on pretty easily (and from the 40s on in the form of horn lines and stabs).

    Best,
    Steve
     
  7. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,476
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer

    You're not leading, you're connecting. Just filling in the gaps between what the vocal is doing and connecting it to the background. IME what you play is not as important as how you play it. Or more so, phrasing and rhythm can be more important than the notes themselves. I think if you focus on the phrasing you'll naturally arrive at the notes that connect. As far as the notes working more off of chord shapes rather than scales should help you focus a bit more and keep you from running off too many notes.
     
  8. rshull07

    rshull07 Member

    Messages:
    130
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Wow, all great advice. As I sit here watching the Grammys I can't help but want to play that stage one day! I'll work through these suggestions, I agree I think it's more about the mindset than the math. Thanks guys!
     

Share This Page