Shred to impress with these fast guitar licks that sound harder than they actually are

Steve Vai live onstage with the original G3 lineup in 2024
(Image credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

Having a set of fast lead licks is a useful tool to add some flair and spice to solos. Quite often, these licks may sound a lot harder to play than they actually are, creating quite the illusion for the listener. 

There are many techniques that work well for playing fast lead licks. Legato is a great example of this. Even a simple two-note trill played at speed can sound flashy. Adding a third note takes the excitement up a notch. 

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Simon Barnard

Simon is a graduate of the UK's Academy of Contemporary Music and The Guitar Institute, and holds a Masters degree in music. He teaches, examines and plays everything from rock to jazz.