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lead guitar question

Active Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

I have been playing guitar for several years now, but mostly rhythm and riffs of songs I like. I thought I was a decent player until recently when I got more interested in lead guitar. I told a friend, who has taken lessons before, that I was practicing basic scales, and he told me to make sure to only use the tips of my fingers and play each note as perfect a possible while learning this. I have never had any professional instruction before and, until now sadly, never given the idea of striving for precision much thought until I heard that, as the idea certainly seems very logical. However, I feel like a beginner again now that I am so aware and tense about making chord/note mistakes. This one basic concept has slowed my playing down immensely because I now fear training myself to play poorly. I have discovered that I have got a long way to go. I'm now trying "slowly" to learn some scales, but how do I know I am practicing them correctly?

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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5366

We all aim to use just our fingertips when we play melodic lines or scales, and to a large extent we get there. However, you do need to spend a good amount of time getting the basics down before you can focus on exactly what quality of sound you're going to produce - that spontaneous performance of "Happy Birthday" is going to sound rubbish if you spend ten seconds placing a beautiful sounding 3rd note.

So, relax. I'm not saying that you shouldn't care about finger placement and tone production, but right now it's getting in the way of your producing music. Keep it in your mind that you're going to spend a couple of minutes early in each practise session on playing the perfect note and then get on with sounding like you.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at:

Trusted Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 70

I really wouldn't worry about details like finger position yet. Keep it fun and musical and the details will come eventually.

Everyone learns differently too.

Detail oriented people like to learn from the details. While more intuitive, feel people just like to "play" the guitar.

The real point is you have to find what works for you. What keeps you motivated and having fun. There's no one way to get anywhere. Keep finding your own way... the one that you enjoy and you'll reach your goal.

The only way you won't is if you give up! Do whatever keeps you having fun with it.

And forget about perfection... there is no such thing... that's from someone who's been playing professionally for over 40 years.

Rick Honeyboy Hart

"It's about tone, taste, and technique... in that order."