Picture of Learn lead guitar completable
*this is a completable so it isn't finished, i will edit it when i can, so come back*

This instructable will teach you some basic lead guitar skills and techniques to use when starting out lead guitar or merely getting a kickstart from a low level playing.

First of all i would like to point out that i am no expert at guitar.

Second i play lead guitar and i don't know a lot about chords and other techniques used in rhythm

Step 1: Buying your first guitar.

Picture of Buying your first guitar.
Remember, looks can be deciving. The first guitar i bought was from ebay and it looked awsome! it cost me £100 got a free amp and strap i thought it was a great deal, i now know it was the worst guitar i have ever played.

My first mistake was buying from ebay, im not discouraging buying from ebay, all i could reccomend is you try out the guitar you want from a guitar/music shop first when your happy with it then by all means buy it from ebay, however if you cant find the make of guitar in your local music shop then this is a sure sign that it isnt good.

My second mistake was not researching guitars,

Here are some things to look out for when buying a new guitar (assuming you can play and inspect the guitar you want). The best thing to do if you are not sure about a guitar is to bring a friend along who has been playing for a year or two and has had some experience with buying and maintaining a guitar.

First of all, you want to inspect the body. If it is a used guitar, are there any major dents or scratches? Are the electronics in working order? Is anything loose or rattling? If it's a new or used guitar, ask someone from the shop to "set it up"- check the intonation and fretboard, etc. They'll probably know what you mean :). If you're completely clueless ;-0, ask if they know any good beginner guitars. Their job is to make you want to come back to their store again, so you'll most likely get some good tips.

Secondly, the fretboard. Are the frets to large or small? Does the guitar feel comfortable in your hands? If you know how to fret a note, check both the low and high notes on both sides of the fretboard for any buzzing (assuming you're fretting the note right), especially the last four frets on each string and frets 7-12. Run your hand along the fretboard to make sure it isn't sticky, scratched, or dented. Make sure that the frets are all straight and none of them run off the edge of the fretboard.

Finally, play something on the guitar. Don't worry about whether what you're playing is "cool" enough to play, or worry about making mistakes. Play through the same type of amp you plan on getting, and try different settings and tones to see what you like. If it's comfortable in your hands and has a good sound, that guitar might be the best for you. There may be other players at the store you're at who are playing fast and looking cool, but don't be intimidated! Your job here is to waltz in, find a good guitar, and waltz out. Also, this only applies to certain people, but don't feel intimidated about asking a sales rep if you can try out three, four, or even ten guitars. You're doing them a service by buying one of their products, and as long as your intent is to buy a guitar, they'll be happy. Be careful with the expensive guitars though :)

Remember a couple of things- If the guitar comes with a crapload of stuff (amp, case, statue of Jimmy Page), you may want to look a bit closer at the guitar itself. It would really help if you knew a couple of songs and could play them moderately well.
Aadieu1 month ago
not much info past the "how to shop" intro (which is kinda full of sh!t).

1. a friend who has been at it for a year or two is gonna THINK he knows his stuff... grab a slacker uncle instead.

2. unless you've got 500-700 for the axe alone, do NOT go for recognizable brands...go for something that says "Made in Japan". old Japanese gear is your friend. also, if it's intact after 30-40 years, it'll keep rocking long after you're gone (something that can't be said for ANY new instrument for <700-1200)...also, Japan only had several big contract manufacturers, so almost all MiJ instruments come from the same 4 or so production lines. thus, brand on headstock does NOT matter, it's the "Made in Japan" on the back or neckplate that does.

3. craigslist craigslist craigslist - just don't believe a word anyone says. verify claimed pickup upgrades, NEVER believe an "American strategy w/ a Squier neck replacement" story, etc. and try to Google an old catalog or something for old Japanese axes.

4. if you DO have 500-700, it's stupidly simple: used ESP (real full ESP made in Japan - NOT ltd models!)...don't play metal? don't matter, just get one without EMG pickups. The guitarist for the Rolling Stones plays an ESP telecaster after all... and the best classic strat you'll ever see outside the armoured glass cases in any store is hands down the ESP Vintage Plus model.

5. if looking for a new guitar only (bad idea but whatever), bring at least 1200-1500, and head over to the PRS wall. ignore fender and Gibson. ibanez can be good, but new good ones are ONLY "prestige series" and cost 1200-2000+., and are NOT good deals new (old Japanese ibanezes are pretty solid, except for rather boring pickups just begging for an upgrade). new non-custom shop ESPs are now called E-II, but those cost $2k+...and oldies for 500-700 are probably better anyways
jrivera362 years ago
Can I have a comment about the pickups...
Specifically the humbucker part.
The main advantage of the humbuckers over single coil pickups is that it can cancel the "hum" that the single coil produces when placed on a loud amplifier (let us say a Telecaster set on the bridge pickup, a single coil, and the amplifier's volume set to the loudest volume, 10 at least, the pickup produced a "hum" sound). The build on the humbuckers are basically two single coils stacked together in opposite polarity to cancel the hum. The three pickup selection on the humbuckers are just entirely on the build on the guitar, and can go on with single coil pickups and basically depends o the manufacturer or the user's preference (Fender Stratocaster has three single coil pickups that can switch in 5 different positions, you'll get the point).
Hope you read this out :)
Nice instruction btw ;)
Source: one year experience plus extensive research
Great strings! I used them constantly for years, until I started playing in lower tunings more- Now, most of the time I use Ernie Ball Power Slinkies! :)
Just a little addition here- To remember the names of the strings, you can think "Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie!" :)
I use Di'Ardios
Good strings, but I have an update... I started using Dunlop strings, at first because they were a dollar cheaper per pack, but found they sound better- sound better for longer, and last longer than other strings I've used before. They also make a "heavy core" series for downtuning, which work great!
Now, I noticed that Zakk Wylde has a signature set of them as well. Check them out! :)
freeza363 years ago
freeza363 years ago
not all guitars have a tremelo locking system at the base of the neck. the only guitars I have seen with them are ibanez
sconran4 years ago
Seek And Destroy(Metallica) is a commonly known song to a lot of guitarists including myself
ClemensY2906 years ago
still have it wrong, the only thing the tremolo is , is the bridge/whammy bar, your locking nut has nothing to do with it at all, please learn the guitar better, before looking like a pro on a website
If you want to nit-pick, you have it wrong... the assembly mounted on guitars is a vibrato system, as opposed to a tremolo system, which is a circuit built into amplifiers to change the VOLUME of the signal, as opposed to the PITCH... common mistake, and one that is commonplace-
But, I don't like to nit-pick.
In a double locking vibrato (or Whammy bar) system, the locking nut is an important part of the setup- very important, since without that, a Floyd Rose (or most other systems of that type) won't stay in tune. On a traditional system with no locking nut, that's obviously a part that's left out, but those systems don't stay in tune very well, and they never have- just listen to some old Jimi Hendrix live recordings! lol!
The only correction I would make so far- and this is not to be mean spirited at all... I think you're doing fine, and we could ALL use more practice and more tips- is that most guitars don't have 24 frets- that's an option they put on some guitars, and it's getting more common, but a good amount of guitars still have 22 or even 21 frets, depending on the model and type. Also, I've never - and I've never heard any of my friends who played guitar or bass- in 25 years of playing in bands, gigging, etc, call the wood between the frets a "fret." Everyone I've ever known has always put the right name on the little metal piece that marks the location of notes by it's proper name.
Keep rocking!
yeah if you liv in colorado around enver brighton boulder westminister, skip that rip off guitar center and hit universal music. i got my guitar there for about $300 and its one of the greatest guitars ever. no one i have so far met has seen anything at all like it eexcept the people that work there. their business plan is repeat, not like most other paces which try to get money once and then never see you again. i prefer to buy there beause of the deals and steals but dont ask me, go check them out 200 East 104th Avenue Thornton, CO 80233 and http://universalmusicco.com/
ski4jesus5 years ago
i still like electric tuners...
ski4jesus5 years ago
this is what i use. they are pretty sick strings
ski4jesus5 years ago
sick guitar dude! and assassin, he obviously doesnt have them so he doesnt need to know much about them. i think some people need to chill out on this website. just let the kid live happily!
Chin7975 years ago
I found my first when we were cleaning the house and it was hidden behind alot of junk the guitar is still junk but when i went looking for a pick, strap and an amp the guy from the store told me I chose a bad Amp and told me about a better one he had for only 10 bucks extra so i bought the amp for 45 bucks and there was a guitar that came with it for 75 bucks extra and with the guitar came a lesson dvd strap some picks and a cable i then started looking around on the internet for some tabs and explanations about tabs, but now i take lessons and i think lessons work better because someone teaches you a good way to play and helps you when you get stuck
caseyC0885 years ago
"Remember, looks can be deciving. The first guitar i bought was from ebay and it looked awsome! it cost me ���£100 got a free amp and strap i thought it was a great deal, i now know it was the worst guitar i have ever played"
haha i made the same mistake for my first bass :)
Hi, this is great advice. If you are new to guitar playing and find theory a tad boring, just watch your favourite music vids and mimic your heroes. Never had lessons Iv never read a book on guitar playing, I don’t know the name of a single chord but i can play ok. Have a listen http://www.northgatestudios.co.uk/danny.mp3 and if you want some advice on advancing your pracical skills you can contact me through my website guitar body.
harley_rly5 years ago

dude what you have labeled as a power chord is what most of society call a power chord, but if your going to teach something to somebody you should teach 'em the correct way. Thats actually a fith chord, a power chord is achieved by playing the fifth(what you have) and the octave so it would look like this...


JAZ975 years ago
i use /  for slide up and \ for slide down

this is mine i dont know how it sounds its an example.

The Jamalam6 years ago
Hi, can I collaborate? I am grade 5 standard (I havent done the exam yet) and listen to a lot of music. I'm also grade 4 piano and grade 3 recorder, all with high passes (merits and mostly distinctions), so I am quite musical. I know my way around. So can I?
ClemensY2906 years ago
ur tab is upside down, the low e string is on the bottom not top, unless u play left handed
ClemensY2906 years ago
also know that a tremelo is not ur nut, its the bridge, the nut is lockable also on that, and that makes it a bit better in my opinion, so u labeled it wrong... im just helping so you dont fall into a serious group and you say o hey i got this guitar with this locking tremelo, and then you point to the nut, and then you get kicked out
skipernicus6 years ago
I usually replace the strings first thing when buying a guitar. Often, the strings they come with aren't very good. And many reputable guitar sellers will "set up" a guitar for you for a small fee - adjusting it for playability, and putting new strings on for you. This can make all the difference in the world for a new guitarist.
Moomoomilk6 years ago
you should check out jamplay rock lesson for tapping techniques
Moomoomilk6 years ago
- I <3 that song, the bass rocks
benthekahn7 years ago
Or you can make it. Here is the electric guitar i made. I made just about everything from scratch (including the pickups). I made this with absolutely no knowledge of guitars.
guitar pic.jpg
Dude! That is an absolute beast
Thats pretty beast I must say. does it play well?
Not too well. The homemade pickups aren't very effective. I think I'm gonna make another (better) one sometime.
Zackiffer6 years ago
did you do that paintjob yourself?
Grmgunner7 years ago
911tabs.com is a great site their database of links to tablature is enormous. they even have all hte links from ultimate guitar as well as many other sites.
It's true, but I cannot stand 911tabs, I'm just not sure. Ultimate-Guitar has everything. Also, for White Stripes, your one stop shop and I swear 100% reliability is brokenbricks.com
what are you talking about 911tabs has every single entry on ultimate guitar and MORE
I just don't like the way 911 tabs is set out.
ahhh totally acceptable. even if their set up is kinda weird you gota admit they do got a lot of tabs
They do have alot of tabs, I'll admit that, but most of the time I can usually find them on UG. If I can't, I go to 911tabs. Also gametabs.net is awesome.
Oh i see very nice I've not been there before. Might have to drop by.
Pbyrd Noodle936 years ago
Me either because they gave me a link that tried to give me a virus.
1 ur tabs upside down...... and 2 ur warmup tabs have some numbers underneath each other. i dont mean to be picky i just dont want you to learn it wrong or maybe it was just a mistake lol who cares. anyways nice instructable!
jaybee17 years ago
"Second i play lead guitar and i don't know a lot about chords and other techniques used in rhythm" I can only suggest to go and get as good (preferably better) at rhythm than you are at soloing, and you'll NEVER be out of a band - soloing is simple, you "do as you please" (more or less that is ;-), with rhythm, you keep the canvas together the soloist is painting on...
Danny (author)  jaybee17 years ago
I'm actually a drummer in my band.
Flumpkins Danny7 years ago
Really? Which brands do you use for each of the following? Sticks: Cymbals: Drum Heads: Stock Kit: for me Sticks: Pro Mark Cymbals: Sabian Drum Heads: Remo, DUH Stock kit: A very crappy Groove Percussion kit. I threw out the stock cymbal when I got too good for it.
Danny (author)  Flumpkins7 years ago
I use At home: Sticks: I use various different brands, but I'm almost religious about 5A's Cymbals: I use a cheap Zildjian cymbal pack Drum heads: Remo... Kit: Performance percussion. I make it work crap as it is At school where I play: Same sticks Sabian cymbals Remo heads Kit is pearl
Flumpkins Danny7 years ago
My thoughts about your drums/accesories:
5A size sticks = I love 5a. I have a pair of Vater (I know I said Pro Mark) color wraps. It's red and sparkly. 5A size.

Zildjian = I prefer sabian, but at least it's not some weird brand no one has heard of. Ziljian is still good though.

Remo = I have Coated emperors on every drum. They're great.

Performance Percussion = Never heard of it. Must be pretty bad if it's bad with remo heads and Zildjian cymbals.

School set thoughts:

Sabian = Sabian rules!
Remo = look above
Pearl = aren't Pearls expensive?
Danny (author)  Flumpkins6 years ago
Well the cymbals on the performance percussion where seperately bought however i sold the kit as i didnt like the toms (i couldent quite get them to stop the resonating jazz feel) But at school, its an old pearl so probably not expensive, i bough a new alesis DM5 pro electronic drum kit as neighbours where complaining
Flumpkins Danny6 years ago

I like playing on electic drums to fool around with effects and stuff. To be my permanent drum set, I dunno. It would feel like cheating since I could pretty much do 32nd notes on them :D
Baron A Danny7 years ago
I agree. I play lead as well, but being a rhythm player makes you a much better lead player becuase you can learn to play in the pocket and incorporate chordal values in the lead. To be a great lead guitarist, you should be able to play lead and rhythm at the same time. However, B.B. King can't play a chord and he's pretty awesome. I make him the exception to the rule.
that is also the bassists job
King_Banana6 years ago
yeah my first guitar is/was a Jay Turser J-55P and it sounds amazing (not expensive either) pretty good distortion with my Crate 15 watt amp too
rocker5016 years ago
u ave got ur tab upside down
Warlock, nice.
wazupwiop6 years ago
you told us about the parts. you didnt say to get some straplocks.. nobody wants to be rippin it up and then end up with their amazing guitar busted on the floor!
wazupwiop7 years ago
dude seriously complete it
Metal4God7 years ago
what guitar is that????????
Danny (author)  Metal4God7 years ago
Its a custom Warlock from BC rich, usually all black
I am making a BC rich electric guitar. I was wondering if I could paint that blood design on it, if that is okay with you. Here is a pic of it. So, could you comment back to me, telling me if it is okay or not that I can use that blood design? (I am good at painting). So, I made it. I'm pretty proud of it.
You don't need to ask permission it's a guitar made by BC Rich, and as far as I know he doesn't make guitars for them.
Metal4God Danny7 years ago
Go to mine on tapping ppls.
Add me as a collab? ive written 2 pretty good ones
wazupwiop7 years ago
I play rhythm and lead. I would be willing to talk about chords, power chords, etc.
Metal4God7 years ago
OK first off, i go to the music store ATLEAST once a month, and i asked the guys their, if they recomended getting a 600-900 dollar guitar for a begginer, they said "Yes, Because if a kid has a good instrument, it will sound good, that way will keep learning, but changes are if they get better they won't get a new guitar" Danny, Me, Myself and I have a Jackson CUSTOM made, it has active EMG 81/85 pickups, licensed floyd rose (darn those metric ones, it's from japan) a 6 mm thick neck. and do i need to mechon the paint job and here are the accessories i use for it GHS boomers 10 gauge Jim Dunlop .88mm or 1.0 mm and i have a Jim Dunlop pick holder that sticks to my guitar and a Leavy's guitar strap, that has a bunch of lil americian flags for effects i have a Digitech rp 200 and all the effects in my Vox DA 5 pratice amp pretty soon (like in the next month) i'm getting a Line Six TonePort so i can use gear box (takes deep breath)
BC rich guitars are weapons, not guitars =P
transmothra7 years ago
do not run with sharp objects.
RATM7 years ago
Great instructable, you obviously put hours of work into this. By the way, your tabs are upside down, it should be: e B G D A E
Danny (author)  RATM7 years ago
How the hell did i make that mistake? oh and would you like to be a collaborater? you could write a slide section.
it's still backwards in many places
RATM Danny7 years ago
I'm actually just learning slide and was looking for info on the technique, I'll do some research and get back to you.
Danny (author)  RATM7 years ago
I assume your wanting to play rage against the machine - dont think there is that much skill in tom morello's playing to be honest
he just has kickass effects
smidge1477 years ago
I thought you didn't like Deans.
i like deans
Instructo robot.jpg
Danny (author)  Metal4God7 years ago
Have you played one?
Metal4God Danny7 years ago
quite a few, manly the dime ones
Danny (author)  Metal4God7 years ago
I liked it when i first played one then i realised i didnt like it i had just built up a false expectation of the guitar because they are overated, and i made myself belive that they where infact good when i much prefered my ibanez to a £1000 dean.
Metal4God Danny7 years ago
cool, i like the steve vai ibanez, but jacksons are my fave guitar
Danny (author)  smidge1477 years ago
I dont, i like the look of the razorback
theadamlevy7 years ago
you almost have to use this to play fluently and accurately? phew good thing for that almost or else i might have actually learned how to do that!
Danny (author)  theadamlevy7 years ago
Was that a dig at the unfinshed instructions?
pinkpooj7 years ago
pinkpooj7 years ago
Oooh! I have a Jackson! It's got a Floyd on it too!!!
zupHC7 years ago
No. this is my guitar! XD
salobyte7 years ago
wow... thank you!! I really appreciate doing this for us man... this is like the ultimate guide :D....I consider myself an intermediate level guitarist and i use guitarpro.. you can slow down songs in midi sound like formats and that's how i get challenged and motivated.... and you're totally right.. you gotta enjoy what you're doing, no matter what, you get better and better no matter if you don't feel it, you just do....
Danny (author)  salobyte7 years ago
Thanks! Wanna be a collaborater?
salobyte Danny7 years ago
sure!! how can I help?
Danny (author)  salobyte7 years ago
However you feel your contributing, edit steps, complete them or just add your own!
Awesome! I can't wait for you to add more. I'm definitely going to have to use the practice advice- I've been playing for about 5 years but only learning by playing songs I like. I think this will expand my playing a lot!
RATM7 years ago
Also, perhaps a slide section?
PoisonedV7 years ago
Could I write about how to read sheet music?
Danny (author)  PoisonedV7 years ago
Sure! that would be a learning curve for me and others because im clueless!
PoisonedV Danny7 years ago
Ok, what page would I put it on?
Danny (author)  PoisonedV7 years ago
On a seperate page just after how to read tabs, i will add you as a collaborator now.
PoisonedV7 years ago
This is awesome and already comprehensive, are you going to continue working on it?
Danny (author)  PoisonedV7 years ago
of course, would you like to be a collaborator (Assuming you play guitar)
PoisonedV Danny7 years ago
Na, i just started to learn guitar. I play other instruments {keyboards, ocarina,} but I'm still a noob with guitar.
Metal4God7 years ago
did u get those from MAB's DVDs?
Danny (author)  Metal4God7 years ago
did i get what?
Metal4God Danny7 years ago
those warm up riffs
Danny (author)  Metal4God7 years ago
No, i dont know what MAB's DVD's is... the first one is just simple... second one is a spider... and the third one is a scale.
Metal4God Danny7 years ago
MAB is michael angelo batio, he has thoes SAME riffs in thoes dvds, also he uses that SAME dean guitar
i have a bass that looks similar to the black one
smidge1477 years ago
complete this! i wana see your warm ups.
Danny (author)  smidge1477 years ago
Done the warmups step
great instructable, i have a b.c. rich warlock bronze series my brother has a rare fender telecaster cherry red, 1977. and he just got a ibanez hollow body
Danny (author)  GorillazMiko7 years ago
look at the completable now.
Hey man, nice guitar. I got a guitar just like yours in your picture. Well, it's black.
MerleCorey7 years ago
Hey you should add something about reading music.
Danny (author)  MerleCorey7 years ago
if you look now u will see the steps i have to complete
Metal4God7 years ago
u took out my whammy bar part!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lftndbt7 years ago
Nice work... Might enthuse me to dust of my guitar and get back to it.. Thanks for posting under "Compleatables" :)
Danny (author)  Lftndbt7 years ago
ive added an overview of steps to do.
mspark4007 years ago
Great Instructable, I am a long time guitarist and this is a great way to put the basics in useful terms, i would say that this would also be equally helpful for the beginning rhythm guitarist as well, good job :)
Danny (author)  mspark4007 years ago
its not finished lol there is a lot more work to do but i published it as completable
Metal4God Danny7 years ago
i worked on a bit of it
Metal4God7 years ago
i edited some of the boxes,