It’s great to see so many new guitar students interested in learning lead guitar. Although you will be playing rhythm guitar most of the time, lead guitar is an important skill to master. Nevertheless, it can be difficult for guitar beginners to know where to start with this area of guitar playing. So, with that in mind, I constructed a list of my top 3 solos to teach to those beginning lead guitar. Although there is nothing easy about playing guitar, my 3 choices below will present an excellent starting point. This is because I consider them easier than most other guitar solos that you will come across. Without further adieu, let’s have a look at my first pick for ideal guitar solos for beginners:
1) “Use Somebody” – Guitar Solos For Beginners
Ever since this tune came out in 2008, I have shown it to a large number of beginners. This is because of the catchy, repeating motif, as well as the moderate tempo. Furthermore, the semitone string bend on the G string is perfect for those who have never attempted the technique before.
I have included a transcription of Matthew Followill’s guitar solo below. Firstly, you may notice that the first four lines are identical, which certainly makes learning this solo much easier! Secondly, you may also notice that there are some unusual position changes on the neck. This is because I transcribed this solo from watching this YouTube video of Followill performing the song. As you can see, although the position changes are unconventional, it really helps this solo to sound as good as it does.
2) “Californication” – Guitar Solos For Beginners
Not just a classic Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s song, but a classic guitar solo too! Similarly to “Use Somebody”, it utilises a catchy repeating motif at a moderate tempo. This makes the solo very manageable to learn, which is important for beginners. Additionally, the light use of string bends is another excellent gateway for those new to the technique. I’ve ranked this one as more difficult to learn than “Use Somebody”, but only because the melody changes halfway through.
If you’d like to learn how to play the solo to “Californication,” then check out this link for an excellent tab.
3) “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
My final pick for guitar solos for beginners to learn is Nirvana’s classic “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” While Kurt Cobain’s lead break might be the trickiest on this list, it’s still a good one to learn early on in your lead guitar development. One of the reasons for this is the manageable tempo. Another is the melody is instantly identifiable as the verse vocal line. Furthermore, the addition of string bends and pull offs make this a decent choice for fretting hand technique. Finally, it’s basically the same melody repeated, which makes it easier to memorise!
Click here for a good tab of the solo to this song.
I hope you have found this short list useful. As always, have fun, and enjoy learning these solos. If you’d like to improve even more, then consider booking some lessons with me.
Until next time,
2 Thoughts to “Guitar Solos For Beginners: Top 3 Picks”
Hi Paul, I’m really new at learning guitar solos. I know that you picked some great songs to learn as easy places to start, but even just the first few notes seems like it gets challenging. What’s the right way to start to get the timing and the “feel” of the music right? Really struggling with this.
Hi Tim, I’ve found the best way is to practice along with the original recording and try to match your notes to the original guitar part as best as you can. If you’re struggling to do that at full speed, try slowing the recording down, which you can now do on YouTube by changing the video speed. You can also try looping specific passages that are causing you issues at a slow speed until your notes are matched to the record. Hope that helps! Paul.