In this guitar lesson you are going to learn some lead guitar licks inspired by Guns n’ Roses/Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash. They are lead ideas that you can use in your own solos over most any major chord or major key.
sus4…What the heck?
(Video Guitar Lesson 1 of 4)
So one of the first things to explain about these guitar licks is where the notes come from. The title of this lesson is “Slash Inspired sus4 Lead Guitar Licks”. So what is the sus4 part of that?
Sus4 is a type of guitar chord. Without going into a ton of music theory, here is what that means in a nutshell.
Chords are build from scales. If I had a C major scale, that would be the notes from C to C with no sharps or flats.
C D E F G A B C
Now give each one of those notes in the scale a number from 1 to 7, and when you reach C again it starts over with 1.
C D E F G A B C 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
A basic major chord is made up of the 1 3 and 5 of that major scale. So a C major chord is the notes C E and G.
C E G = C Chord 1 3 5
A Csus4 chord is made up of the 1 4 and 5 of the C major scale.
C F G = Csus4 Chord 1 4 5
Very often in music you will hear a sus4 chord followed by a major chord. So Csus4 followed by C. There is only a one note difference between the 2 chords. The “4” in the sus4 chord resolves down a half step (1 fret) to the 3 in the major chord.
This is what all of the lead guitar licks in this lesson are going to be based on. The 4 of a sus4 chord resolving to 3 of the major chord.
Don’t worry if all of that doesn’t make sense at the moment, it will over time. And you don’t have to understand it all to play and make use of these licks.
Asus4 and Dsus4 Chords Shapes
We are focusing on lead guitar in this lesson, but here are 2 important guitar chord shapes to know because our licks are based around them. Play Asus4 followed by A, and then Dsus4 followed by D. That will help get this important sound into your ears.
sus4 Guitar Lick #1
(Video Guitar Lesson 2 of 4)
The first lick I am going to show you in 2 different places on the neck for 2 different chords. A D chord and a G chord. The reason is that in the video guitar lesson I was playing over a jam track that used those 2 chords. And later in this lesson you are going to improvise over that same jam track.
Dsus4 Lick #1
Gsus4 Lick #1
With any new guitar lick that you learn, it’s important to know have one note that you can use as a guide to help you know where to play it on the neck of the guitar. So in the case of the first lick you just learned the guide is the note you played on the 1st string.
When you played the lick so where that note was on the 1st string 10th fret, that was a D lick…because that is a D note. When you play the lick for G that note on the 1st string at the 15th fret was a G. If you wanted to play the same lick for a B chord, then that note on the 1st string would need to be at the 7th or 19th fret on the 1st string.
Lick #1 variation
Here is a variation on the the first lick. It’s actually exactly the same notes, just instead of the bend on the 2nd string, you are going to play the same note on the 3rd string.
Which position you play sus4 lick #1 just depend on what position of the neck you want to play in, and what other scale shapes you might be using in your solo. The guide note is still that note on the first string.
Dsus4 Lick #1b
Gsus4 Lick #1b
sus4 Guitar Lick #2
(Video Guitar Lesson 3 of 4)
The next lick I am going to show you again has 2 different places you can play the same notes. I am going to show you the lick on the 2nd 3rd and 4th strings, and also on the 1st 2nd and 3rd strings. They are the same exact notes, just sometimes in a different octave.
The guide note for this lick is the note on the 3rd string.
Dsus4 Lick #2
Gsus4 Lick #2
Lick #2 variation
So here is the same exact lick for D and G only on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings. The guide note is on the 2nd string.
Dsus4 Lick #2b
Gsus4 Lick #2b
sus4 Guitar Lick #3
(Video Guitar Lesson 4 of 4)
Alright, one more sus4 lead guitar lick to add to your arsenal. Again I am going to show it to you for 2 chords, and on 2 different sets of strings. Lick #3 is really just an extensions of Lick #2. You are just adding 3 notes to the end. A 4 3 and 1 note added an octave lower.
Dsus4 Lick #3
Gsus4 Lick # 3
And here is the variation on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings.
Dsus4 Lick #3b
Gsus4 Lick #3b
Time to Jam!
Now it’s time to put these guitar licks to use. Below is a jam track at 2 different tempos that is 2 measures of a D chord, followed by 2 measures of a G. So you can mix and match any of the licks you have just learned.
Jam Track at 65 bpm
Jam Track at 80 bpm