Talk:Lead guitar

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Satriani[edit]

Is it considered lead guitar when a professional guitarist has a backup band? Does lead guitar imply that the musician is a member of a band and not a solo musician? If it is the case that a solo musician cannot be labeled as a lead guitarist, certain names, namely Joe Satriani, should be removed. (Ngoah89 16:32, 12 May 2006 (UTC))

I've never listened to Satriani myself, however if what Ngoah89 says is true then Satriani is infact not a lead guitarist because a lead guitarist must always have a band to be a lead guitarist.--Mikeoman 21:02, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Electric?[edit]

Should the first paragraph mention that lead is usually on an electric guitar?Kansaikiwi 10:49, 10 April 2006 (UTC).

No, it shouldn't lead guitar can be acoustic, for example if we take Nirvanas 'MTV unplugged' session for an acoustic session, the article should have emphasis upon lead guitar's role within a musical band no matter what kind of music it is following.
--Mikeoman 21:02, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Did you notice I said usually? Why does everyone want to argue so badly these days? Kansaikiwi 15:59, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Whether or not it is electric is not important- the objective of this article is to describe what lead guitar is (i.e the melodic part in a music band) and the clear definition needs to come first, as to whether or not it's popular can come later, if you like I can make a another case study in here or tweak it so we have one example of an acoustic and one example of an electric, in the article a lot of the examples I use are from electric guitarists and people can get the idea. Practically speaking lead guitar is easier to play because electrics have lower action leading to faster playing and I can see where your coming from. However, in the first paragraph we need a short statement describing what is is, by saying that it's often electric guitar can mislead people into thinking that acoustic or classical lead guitar is rare- which it isn't, also from the point of view from a musician who possesses both electric and acoustic guitars I don't want to be lead into thinking that acoustic are only used for fingerpicking and strumming, you may disagree but we can compromise if you like. as for the arguing comment- we're all academics in a talk page to discuss the article- that's what we do!--Mikeoman 22:35, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Iron Maiden[edit]

I think, Dave Murray of Iron Maiden should be removed, or Adrian Smith and Janick Gers should be added. All guitarists there play both lead and rythm guitar. --Martinxxxx72 22:03, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, I overlooked, that this is an alphabetical list. I thought, all the guitarists of one band should be listed together. --Martinxxxx72 16:51, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Cluttered list[edit]

Currently the list of famous lead guitarists constitutes more than 50% of this article's length. I will be removing those bands who do not have a significant international reputation, as Wikipedia is an international website after all. Not many people will bother about a guitarist they have never listened to before. Ariedartin JECJY 17:49, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

I have already said that the list is too long. Those who wish to add more names to the list, please state your rationale here. Thank you. :) Ariedartin JECJY 05:25, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
That's no reason for arbitrarily removing every single name that is alphabetized from A to D, which is what your revert amounts to. Pay attention - you are preserving what is clearly either a mistake or an act of vandalism on somebody's part. Also, while I agree that the list is a bit on the long side, some of your other choices for removal have been, to put it mildly, extremely questionable (Hendrix? Hard to imagine a better example of someone who belongs on the list). PurplePlatypus 05:32, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
I chop off the A to D, simply because they coincidentally happen to be insignificant on an international level. As a Canadian, you should probably know them, but in the international rock scene, relatively few people will. Their albums aren't sold in Asia, for a start. I agree that perhaps my edits are too arbitrary, but I try my best to keep it as spherical a view as possible. And Hendrix? I don't believe he has that much fame, but I'll leave him be. If you believe that strongly in him, I trust that you definitely have a good idea of his significance. Ariedartin JECJY 05:42, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
You "don't believe Hendrix has that much fame"?!? The man is a cultural icon almost on a par with the Beatles. He's widely considered the greatest rock guitarist of all time. There are maybe three names on that list better known than him, tops (one of whom is in the As through Ds, by the way - Eric Clapton). I'm sure you were trying to improve Wikipedia but I have to question both your knowledge and judgement. PurplePlatypus 05:38, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Above Comments noted, i intend to trim the list, i will list the deleted items (names unknown to me as a non-USA wiki user and guitarist or those which seem unjustified) on this page, should anyone wish to reinstate.
The following names i have deleted from the famous guitarists list. Please do not reininstate them simply because you like the band, or you happen to know the name of the guitarist (where few have), if i have made any glaring errors, i apologise. I have deleted on the following criteria:

The list is too long, therefore if the guitarist is not famous on the scale of the more illustrious names on the list (Page, Hendrix, Clapton, Hammet(I realise this is very subjective)) i have removed it. If the band is famous, but the guitarist is not, i have removed the entry.


Realistically, somebody else should further edit the remaining list, to further shorten it to a reasonable length.
Would this better be suited as a category and not a list? Categories seem to be easier to browse and are automatically alphabetized. (I'm not sure about policy on new categories, as I see categories deleted every day). —TheMuuj Talk 20:21, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
An excellent proposition, TheMuuj. I'm all for it, then at least we could at least do away with the list. Its excessive and nobody is doing anything about it. Ariedartin JECJY 10:55, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I heartily endorse this product and/or service. PurplePlatypus 19:05, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps a separate List of lead guitarists would augment the existing list, but the random deletions of numerous guitarists with extensive credentials, particularly withing their particular musical realms, is a bit harsh. If pruning needs to be done, it should be on a case by case basis, rather than indiscriminantly. Ombudsman 23:08, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Of the above-listed names, the only one I would disagree violently with removing is Trower, who seems to command tremendous respect among fellow musicians. It's true that Garcia is an icon, but (unlike Hendrix) I don't think his reputation rests to that great a degree on his lead playing. (Then again, someone who can stand the Grateful Dead might be in a better position to judge that.) I'm not in that good a position to judge most of the newer names on the list, but I will say that from what I've heard of most of those bands, musicianship is... not their main selling point, to put it diplomatically (Dream Theater being perhaps the most notable exception). Most of those guys don't seem to be so much famous lead guitarists as famous people who happen to be lead guitarists, if you see the distinction. And He Who Does Not Capitalize Properly Or Sign His Posts is correct that Corgan wasn't the lead player in SP, if I recall correctly (and while Iha is pretty good, I wouldn't say he is that well-known, unfair though that may be). PurplePlatypus 01:49, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

More than a year later, I've pretty much realised I've been so, very wrong on many counts. I'm really very sorry for the deep offense I have made to all guitar enthusiasts by calling Jimi Hendrix, a god amongst guitarists, "non-notable". Hah. The worst mistake I have ever made. Emabarrassing too, but I must apologise. Really sorry guys. Ariedartin JECJY Talk 02:41, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

One-guitar bands?[edit]

I was surprised at the number of people in the list who are the only guitarist in their bands (The Edge, Tony Iommi, etc.) Does their inclusion in the list indicate that they are primarily known for their solos? Or is "lead guitarist" a common term for "only guitarist" (which I guess isn't that strange if, unlike me, you call an electric bass a "bass guitar")? This also raises questions about how one-guitar bands handle multi-guitar songs in live performance, but I am sure this answer varies from band to band. Boris B 02:21, 1 August 2006 (UTC)


In agreement with the above statement, while guitarists such as Iommi are worth mentioning, maybe a separate list should be created?--88.111.194.74 22:06, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

I disagree with the above statement, a lead guitarist provides the melodic part to the music, the rhythmic part doesn't necessarily have to come from another guitarist, for example if you listen to the Emily Remler quartet (piano, bass, guitar and drums) you'll here that at times the piano provides the rhythem and at times the guitar will become rhythemic, thus it does not refer to an only guitarist(saying this however not all bands even have a lead guitarist and are replaced just by rhythem). In responce to Boris' comment on multi guitar- songs being live and in a recording studio is very different because in a studio you can multi track (add an extra guitar in the background (not meaning to name names here but... The White Stripes and of course famously Led Zeppelin)) and thus a live version upon a song without the multi tracking, is created (they may use more bass drums instead to make up the rhythemic section). Those who don't multitrack alternate between rhythem and lead for example if you listen to the purple haze by Jimi Hendrix- whilst he's singing, listen to the guitar- he repeats and repeats the same 3/4 bars and then when he stops, he uses the scales to create solos and fills. --Mikeoman 23:38, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Over emphasis upon rock music[edit]

I think this article is flawed, the opening suggests, that it is most common in rock music, this isn't necessairly true, for example with blues when the singer isn't singing, then the lead guitarist makes a riff BB King for example. or perhaps more obviously in jazz if we make an example of Herb Ellis or Emily Remler, they solo whilst the other musicians vamp.

The opening needs to be more open ended, soon I will add my own introductory and it will sound like this 'lead guitar refers to guitar being played with scales/modes or appegios in complimention to the rhythem guitar" i'll think up a better way of saying this.

I propose we make 3 different paradigms, lead guitar in rock, lead guitar in the Blues and lead guitar in Jazz. Blues and rock are two styles of guitar that I have experience with, the rock article is fine I think it needs a few thing adding to it and I will encorporate a lot of the stuff from the current article and put it in the rock section. With the Blues I will keep it basic, I will introduce it by briefing stating what the blues are, then going on to explain that the blues predomintely uses a pentatonic scale, talk about call and responce and mention a few notable guitarists. I will keep it basic for now and if people want to improve it they're welcome to.

Jazz lead guitar I know very little about, all I know is it uses modes, so what I will do is i'll leave it as a stub and then somebody who knows better can upgrade it. I'll make the changes on the 8th or 9th March, if anyone has any objections please let me know before then. --Mikeoman 09:57, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

OK I've made some general changes, the article reads better now, at a later date I plan on including more lead guitar techniques, include info on who uses these techniques and i'll create a blues section.--Mikeoman 11:40, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

False fact[edit]

The article claims that heavy metal was the music that sparked fast techniques, this isn't necessarily true, though I am unsure as to the first fast picking guitarists, I know that fast lead guitar stems as far back as the 1940s with Django Reinhardt, this statement needs editing although I am unsure, does anybody know who pioneered fast lead guitar? for now I will leave it as it is --Mikeoman 09:56, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Confusion over what lead guitar is[edit]

There seems to be a lot of confusion over what lead guitar is, so I think as wikipedia's for everyone- not just academics musicians etc., we should make it simpler, so I'm going to add a few examples of the relationship between the melodic and the rhythemic, firstly i'll talk about playing lead over strumming a few chords as that seems to be popular, also it's what turns up in the electric guitar exams in Britain so it's worth a mentioning, i'm going to have a shot at describing dissanance (excuse the spelling) but it may be dubious so i'll keep it very simple, secondly i'll talk about vamps because I think people may only think that the guitar can only be played with the guitar, the only example I have in my record collection is Jimi Hendrix with his Jelly 402 with the bass playing vamps, there's loads others, but none come to mind, i'll add some more later after doing some research.--Mikeoman 18:04, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Problem with article[edit]

Can't have a lead guitarist in classical and other forms of music other than modern? Shouldn't the article at least mention this? Secondly, speed has always been pursued by all musicians of all instruments, probably because it shows off capabilities unlike anything else, it didn't start in heavy metal. Plus it makes it sound that guitarists use distortion just to get a sustain, there are other ways to get sustain, there is more to it. Overall the article seems very shallow and poor. -AresAndEnyo 05:00, 7 September 2007 (UTC)


Right as for your critique:-
Can't have a lead guitarist in classical and other forms of music other than modern? Shouldn't the article at least mention this? Before in my introduction I made reference to this however a very inconsiderate person has removed this, I shall ammend this. The 3 main one are Blues, Jazz and Rock are the three heavyweights for us to discuss I can make subarticles for these for you, Jazz I know nothing about so I shalnt bother. As for classical guitar (as in classical music) that's entirely different- we look classical as only part of a grander piece and therefore it has no role here in this article- flamenco on the otherhand I have no knowledge of but theoretically it could have a part, if you're talking about it as an instrument and not as a style then it's acceptable to mention this as it has many advantages such as power over dynamics, fingerstyle and so forth.
speed has always been pursued by all musicians of all instruments, probably because it shows off capabilities unlike anything else, it didn't start in heavy metal OK, misworded perhaps the word i meant to say was something like 'fast lead guitar is popular in heavy metal,', if we take waynes world or bill and teds excellent adventure films we can see the way heavy metal are worshipped as demi gods and if we compare the speed to say the beatles a cultural change has been made in rock, it's that heavy metal is unique in the way that it contains more virtuosos than other rock genres. In my opinion if we compare heavy metal lead guitar with blues. Heavy metal tends to have more semi demi quavers, semi quavers playing a riff simultaneously changing the riff a few times followed by semibreve large bends/ vibrato, blues on the other hand has triplets, grace notes and the riffs are a lot more varied with more bends, more vibrato, the intention of blues lead guitar is to play with feeling- to display your emotions- we blues players use speed but it's not for the sake of being fast it's for the sake of being bluesy whereas with heavy metal the fast riffs is like a climax to a song and that's why that reference was made, we may differ in opinions here- but heavy metal's about speed.
But the earliest guys take us back to the forties to a guy who in my opinion is the greatest lead guitarist of all time- Django Reinhardt but we need to find a jazz guitarist to write us an article- if you know one then please- do talk nicely talk him into writing us an article!
it makes it sound that guitarists use distortion just to get a sustain, there are other ways to get sustain, there is more to it true, we have guitar volume, tone, amplifier setting, delay effects and choosing the right pick ups on the guitar (tell me if i've missed anything)
Right thankyou for your critique it has opened my eyes to the gaps in the article what I shall do for you then is:-
create a blues lead guitar section
create a heavy metal lead guitar section
create a stub for jazz lead guitar
rewrite the effects pedal bit- maybe renaming it.
But I want you to read the article and critise the gaps in the article.--Mikeoman 21:50, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Heavy metal lead guitar[edit]

I've created a new section here on Heavy Metal lead guitar, a lot of the stuff I wanted to mention wasn't in wikipedia so it's a tad short, please critise it or suggest what needs to be added.--Mikeoman 13:34, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Blues lead guitar[edit]

I've created a new section here- please give me your comments, critisms, whatver here- I want to know that the section is understood —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mikeoman (talkcontribs) 13:35, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Kurt Cobain[edit]

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana? Lead guitarist? Really? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.233.54.197 (talk) 02:39, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Dinky Article[edit]

I think it is pathetic that this article is so short. Bestows the mental capacity of media zombies who are destroying the universe with their dinkyism. Sorry for not having anything more positive to say but I am not an editor or a media person... I actually play lead guitar instead of this garbage being played elsewhere in the media and it annoys me quite a bit at how lead guitar work is marginalized these days. Hey! Make this article longer! It is 1/3 the length of the "Rap Music" article. Have a nice day, none-the-less. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.114.44.235 (talk) 00:50, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

How did it get the name "lead"?[edit]

Does anyone know how it got the name "lead"? To me, that implies that other band members and vocalists would be following the "lead", which, since the lead guitar is usually improvising, would sound quite bad. Maybe the namer was thinking of some songs that begin with a lead guitar solo. Or maybe the namer orders guitars by pitch from highest to lowest; the lead is usually playing the highest notes. But if the lead guitar is leading your band, you're in trouble. In my opinion, the bass guitar is the "real" lead guitar. But then, I play bass :)

--Jerrykrinock (talk) 01:36, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

A "lead" is another name for a "solo," at least among rock guitarists. When I was taking guitar lessons in the 70s, the teacher would say, "Now, when you're going for a lead over this chord progression...," or someone might say, "After the second chorus, the lead starts." I don't know how common this term is for jazz guitarists, though. Alloy (talk) 08:57, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Additional citations[edit]

Why and where does this article need additional citations for verification? What references does it need and how should they be added? Hyacinth (talk) 22:42, 29 April 2012 (UTC)