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Watch the Lead Fills online guitar lesson by Robbie Calvo from Guitar Interactives


Lead guitar fills are single note lines that are placed between vocal phrases as musical accents or melodic connections between sections of a song.

The idea here is to let the vocal breathe and not step on any aspect of the lyrical content. Of course we can’t know when the singer is going to improvise so don’t get hung up on that, they need to be listening too right!

Listen to the vocal phrasing and melodies and then try to come up with complimentary parts that enhance the vocal lines. Keep the phrases simple unless you feel that a more involved line is required.

A typical place for lead guitar fills is at the end of a song where the chorus lines repeat. Our example delineates this approach. We are building the excitement in the song to a final crescendo so you’ll notice I start my lines lower on the fretboard targeting chord tones and work my way up the range of the guitar to the final fill.

One of my favorite guitarist’s, Keith Scott, is a master of playing between vocal phrases. Check out his playing on any of the Bryan Adams records and you’ll see what I mean.