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Rock Guitar Lesson: Smooth Soloing with Paul Gilbert


For so many of us rock guitar players, our biggest aspiration is to be able to step onto the arena stage under the spotlight and take that face-melting, shredding guitar solo in the fashion of our favorite musical heroes. Who wouldn’t want to unlock the virtuosic stylings of players like Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, or Paul Gilbert in their own playing, right?


Truly learning to shred on the electric guitar is no easy task, however. In the process of working out shred exercises and increasing playing speed, many aspring rockers focus the bulk of their attention on their picking hand and tend to pick every note they play as a result. In addition to being very physically strenuous, picking every individual note can actually detract from the musicality of a solo or shredding melodic line.


In this online guitar lesson, shred guitar icon, founding member of legendary groups Mr. Big and Racer X, and ArtistWorks rock guitar instructor, Paul Gilbert teaches essential techniques to incorporate smooth legato playing methods into your solo and lead playing using a combination of hammer-ons and pull-offs. He even provides a handful of great exercises using scales to employ these legato approaches.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play rock guitar from a master musician like Paul Gilbert? Try some free online guitar lessons now!


“Picking every note, in a way, can be a very arbitrary decision,” Paul explains. “But, often times, the more musical solution is to use other tools. We can often get a much smoother sound and a more consistently good performance in our lead playing by combining picking techniques with well-placed hammer-ons and pull-offs.”


This paradigm of picking every note is not unique to beginner rock guitarists. In fact, intermediate and advanced players alike often over-focus on the picking hand when learning to shred, leaving their fretting hand unaddressed and essential techniques on the table.


“Basically, whenever I’ve got the opportunity to incorporate a pull-off, I take it whenever I can,” Paul explains. “This gives my pick some recovery time, and allows me to actually play much faster, and, often times, with more musicality. It also prevents me from tensing up and allows me to play quickly, but in a much more relaxed way.”


To learn more about properly weaving smooth legato playing techniques into your shred guitar soloing methods, dive into this online guitar lesson from Paul Gilbert:


Smooth Soloing with Paul Gilbert:



Have you always wanted to learn how to play rock guitar? Through our comprehensive guitar lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned shred guitar master Paul Gilbert, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Paul’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner guitar to advanced rock riffs, shred techniques, improvisation methods, and beyond. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as guitarists and musicians.


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



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Each subscription is for a single school. Pricing and features can vary slightly per school.

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