How to Play Lead and Rhythm Together

Hey, guys Claude Johnson here with Guitar Control, giving you a real quick mini lesson on how to play rhythm and lead together.

There are lots of ways to do it, but here’s one way. Let’s take a progression, G major to A minor. That’s your basic chord. Now let’s add some lead. So all I’m doing is starting the chord and going into a lead and then before I
finish the A minor bar, I’m just hitting that chord again. I’m basically using chord tones, or the E minor pentatonic.

It’s actually interesting if you look at the notes in this progression. You have a G chord which is G, B, and D, and then A minor: A, C, and E. So five out of those six notes are in the E minor scale. Also, you have this note, C. Kind of a Southern rock scale. So again, just strum, lick, and when you finish your lick, it’s all about remembering where you are in progression and as you practice your ear, you’ll get better and better at doing that.

Let’s do a slightly different spin on this. Let’s use some of the triads across the neck. We could play up here or there if you’re in A minor. And we’ll use a rhythm. Basically I’m playing on beats two and four. It sounds very reggae-ish, but it’s also good for blues, rock, jazz, whatever. So if you count one, two, three, four… I’m going to try and throw in some licks, again, using the chord tones or E minor pentatonic.

Again, I’m trying to keep that strum and practice it. Your ear will get better and better at keeping your place in the progression.

If you’re playing, your ear just leads you to that A note on the A chord, or let’s say your ear leads you to a different note, like the C. You just have to remember that C is part of A minor and there’s your A minor chord.

Now, if this is a little too much to use the whole neck at once, just use the top three strings. Make sure you know your G and your A minor.

I go over all these chords and more ways to use them in “Killer Guitar Control Secrets”. So check it out at I hope this was informative for you and stay tuned because next time I’ll give you some more advanced stuff you can do with that.

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