Systematic Phrasing

Create More Interesting Guitar Leads Using Systematic Phrasing

If you are a beginner guitar player who has never heard of systematic phrasing, keep reading. This article is written for people of all levels.

It is clear that as far as lead guitar playing goes, what you are playing is not nearly as important as how you are playing it.

A lot of popular guitar players aren’t actually playing anything that is particularly complicated. When it comes to an impressive guitar solo, it’s really not about how fast technically advanced it is, but rather how it is phrased. A good use of legato, vibrato or slides is what can really make a difference in your sound.

A few artists I recommend checking out who have mastered playing simply but effectively are:

• Eric Clapton (aka “Slow Hand”)

• Dave Gilmour (guitarist from Pink Floyd)

• Jeff Beck (whose expressive guitar playing has been mimicked countless

(Did you really need these recommendations? No, of course - but sometimes it’s good to go back to basics!)

So maybe you already know how to play hammer-ons, slides or bends. Or perhaps you can already play with a decent vibrato, but when exactly should these techniques actually be implemented in your playing?

To just say “when ever you feel it’s right” is really not going to make anything more clear. So instead I put together this simple and efficient exercise that you can play through that will really start to make these techniques stick. It is easy enough for a beginner to pick up on, and useful enough that even professionals continue to work on mastering it.

Next time you start stressing over trying to quickly fit the most amount of notes in your next guitar solo, think of these techniques. Even if your lead guitar playing consisted only of a few choice notes, you can use this to get the most out of those notes and really connect to people.

Tommaso Zillio is a professional prog rock/metal guitarist and composer based in Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Tommaso is currently working on an instrumental CD, and an instructional series on fretboard visualization and exotic scales. He is your go-to guy for any and all music theory-related questions.

Tommaso Zillio

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