There are several proven techniques to make your lead guitar solo pop.

First and foremost, you need to hold the attention of the audience with your lead guitar solos. There are several ways to do this effectively. Here are three of the more important ones…

  1. play the spaces
  2. repetition
  3. play with the band


Play it again Sam!

Repeating yourself reinforces your point. Repetition works, it makes it easy, especially for unsophisticated listeners to grasp. Remember, you are not playing to impress other musicians. KISS (keep it simple)

Variations: Build new phrases by having a Q&A (question-and-answer AKA call and response) type conversation with yourself.

Play with the band by not playing with the band

Don't step on other instruments parts, steer clear.

There can be only one focal instrument at any time.

You should develop your ear so that your parts do not clash with the other instruments. Instead, do Q&A phrasing with the other instruments. Find the spaces – that’s the subject of the next section.

Play the spaces

This advice may seem counter intuitive and requires a bit of discipline, but you should not fire a barrage of notes without breaks in.

You can say as much in the spaces between your phrases as you can with the actual notes you play.

Listen to this Blues track that I play on. Can you hear the space? It makes you gag for the next phrase. You wonder where it’s going. Playing the space keeps the listener’s interest much better than the constant stream of notes.

Benny's Blues Feat. Mark Dorricott
play the spaces!


It is often said that notes are words and phrases are sentences.

That is why I have placed so much importance upon phrasing.

Try singing your phrases in your head before you actually play them out loud. Develop your ear so that you can identify motifs within the track you are playing to. There is no ‘one size fits all E pentatonic scale’ type of lead guitar solo you can recycle again and again. Play with the track you have got, not the one you would like it to be!


Use repetition, watch your phrasing and play the space.

It is difficult, but not impossible, for Lead guitarists to get your listeners hanging on your every note. Not so hard if you are already famous, they will give you credit because they've already made up their minds. So, until that day you inevitably become famous, you've got to work even harder!

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