Manic GuitarNuance is King!! | Manic Guitar

Nuance is King!!

So, your pulling off your sequences at semi-quavers at 140bpm (alternate picked), and that’s slow next to your slurring. Not bad. You’ve memorized entire songs of lead guitar note for note (that was satch for me in the old days). Now its time for the real stuff. NUANCE IS KING!!!

Nothing compares to nuance. What am I talking about here? Well, how do you bend a note? What sort of timing do you put on that bend? Do you end up bending all the way to being in tune, or do you decide to leave it a bit sitting below the tone? How subtle or extreme can you make your vibrato sound? Can you sweep over dead strings until the true note you hit finally lands with a vibrato you just cant get away from? And can you play out of time for an entire sequence, only to finally land spot on the beat in the last note (if you even do that)? That is the sort of thing I am talking about here.

When I learnt guitar, I first got into rock/hard rock and metal for a few years, I then spent a few years practicing classical. I’d put in enough hours here to make at least playing with a pick quite ingrained, something I was not going to loose without practice. Then, a strange thing happened. I barley picked up the guitar for years and when I did I would just bend a note, hit a different vibrato, or dead sweep to a clean note at the end. Inevitably to a clean sound (not distorted). I did this for years, not to a backing, not forming a song, just hitting a nuance I linked. When I finally picked up the guitar again properly, I found this had integrated into my lead playing and produced something I liked much better than anything I had done previously.

With what I am talking about here, I would be quite happy to spend 8 bars hitting no more than 3 different notes, with all sorts of bending, timing, vibrato and silence keeping things really interesting (at least for me). This is the sort of thing that can be slow and mournful or aggressive and piercing (even with a clean sound). You can move through these moods on these limited notes freely in a way that can grab some people’s attention.

So what advice can I give if you want to get into a bit of this? Relax, don’t try to learn anything, break all the rules, slow down, turn off the distortion and just find some sounds you like.

All in all, if I had to say what I thought the most important component of lead guitar was. This would be it.

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