Welcome to Sophie Lloyd's melodic rock soloing masterclass – essential techniques to take your lead playing to the next level

Sophie Lloyd
(Image credit: Future / Jen Rosenstein)

Sophie Lloyd’s stock in trade is a blend of shred and melodic rock, and here she takes you through some licks that you can employ in your own solos. 

First up is a three-note-per-string idea. It takes practice to develop the dexterity to play them well, but once you’ve made progress it’s a shortcut to speedy soloing. And you can always practise higher up the neck if Sophie’s stretches in G are a bit much. 

Moving on, Sophie outlines a cool lick using 5th intervals. It’s a clever take on a simple idea – the 5th is the powerchord interval, remember. 

Next is Sophie’s take on easy sweep picking. It’s a challenging technique but follow Sophie’s three-string shape and see how far you get. 

Sophie follows this with a pentatonic idea that, with a little creativity, could be applied in blues just as easily as hard rock. Finally, Sophie wraps up with a shred lick that combines pick- and fret-hand tapping.

Oh, and don’t miss Sophie’s guide to becoming a better player, where she shares her tips for getting better faster.

Example 1. Melodic three-note-per-string lick

(Image credit: Future)

Here, Sophie outlines the benefits of learning a three-note-per-string lick in a melodic rock context. As she explains, “it allows you to go up and down very quickly and efficiently, while also going diagonally across the fretboard, so you can cover a lot of ground.” A tapped lick follows the three-note phrase. Practise bite-sized phrases.

Example 2. Stacked 5ths lick

(Image credit: Future)

You know what a 5th is, right? It’s the interval between the two notes in a powerchord. Easy! Here, Sophie takes this idea, but, instead of playing powerchords, she creates a cool rock lick. It’s quite simple but the position shifts come thick and fast, so be sure to practise those moves slowly first. 

Example 3. Easy sweep picking

(Image credit: Future)

It’s easiest to think of these as six-note phrases that go down and up through each shape. The picking is key to making the lick work. Play: upstroke, pull-off upstroke, then three downstrokes to outline each six-note arpeggio. Those consecutive downstrokes are the core of what is known as sweep picking, because you’re using one single ‘sweep’ of your pick to achieve the downs. 

Example 4. Pentatonic cycles

(Image credit: Future)

Pentatonics are essential weapons in the arsenal of every guitarist – they apply in rock, blues, jazz, metal and more. Here, Sophie uses the old trick of repetition, where you take a bite-sized lick and repeat it to get the listener’s attention. 

Slash, Eric Clapton and Angus Young have all employed this technique. The beauty is that you can repeat as long as you like, take a melodic detour, then return to your initial idea again. It’s a very open concept. 

Example 5. Shreddy tapping

(Image credit: Future)

There are two ways to aid your learning process here in Sophie’s shreddy tapped lick. First, practise four-note phrases one at a time. The circled notes are tapped with the pick hand; the square ones are hammered on with a fretting finger. 

The second approach is, as Sophie advises, to focus on each hand individually. In particular, it’ll help if you memorise where the tapped notes are on the fretboard so you don’t have to look at your finger every time you tap.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Charlie Griffiths

Charlie Griffiths plays guitar in acclaimed prog-metal outfit Haken, and has a wealth of experience handling corporate and session gigs for genres as diverse as rock, heavy metal and pop. He has been a regular contributor to Total Guitar, Guitar Techniques, and Guitar World for over a decade, and released his debut solo album Tiktaalika in 2022.