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Considering Giving Up On Lead Guitar....

  • Thread starter TheRedMageGuitarist
  • Start date


Expectations, my friend.

Among the more hidden & dangerous, yet subconscious mistakes we tend to make is having expectations overwhelm us without us knowing.

I've watched countless interviews of ZV saying that he had to force himself to learn arpeggios to play those harmonizing parts with @Syn Gates , although ZV was more comfortable playing punk and rhythm, palm-muting, down-picking riffs. Does it make him a better guitar player? Certainly does. Could he have chosen not to learn those parts? He could, but he knew what he needed to do for the band. Else, Johnny would've taken that role despite lacking 2 strings. (also, ZV has one of the cleanest picking next to Syn)

My humble advice would be to drop the expectations at the time you are practicing and close the 'comparison door'. Why? Because practice is for you and you only. We tend to give ourselves imaginary deadlines hence demotivates us from pursuing, say for example, a guitar solo. We have that voice telling us that we need to master a solo in 2 weeks, for example, but in actual fact, nobody is expecting or telling you to master that in that timespan. Nobody is telling you what should or should be or what is right or wrong in your guitar journey.

Another thing would be the 'label'. Don't worry about not being able to 'play lead' for now. Take a break, move on to something else. The world of music is not limited to what you see and hear yourself being in. It's vast, it's beautiful. You'll probably be able to play lead one day again when your hands are warmed up from all the other things you've played and learned. Trust me.

You don't just learn how to run by working your legs. Your upper body plays just as an important role. Metaphorically speaking.

We've all been there, syster. You've been doing well and you'll only get better :)

Cheers, Jak! :rock-hand:
This entire comment spoke VOLUMES to my soul in such a deep level i can't even describe. But when you said "We tend to give ourselves imaginary deadlines hence demotivates us from pursuing, say for example, a guitar solo", that is exactly my thought process every time I pick up the guitar. It's deadlines. End game. Etc...
Your words were amazing and beyond inspiring. Thank you🙏🙏
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I've been playing for a lot less time than most here and I don't feel like I can give proper advice on this, but I just wanted to say: don't be too hard on yourself and play what you love to play. If some solo is not where you want it in x days, move on to something else, and then maybe come back to it with a fresh mind and possibly some improvement gained while working on another lick or song. Don't beat yourself up over this, you don't need to be the best in everything to be great (that, you already are) ❤

Side note: I love playing rhythm, I'm much more comfortable with it myself. I struggle a lot with solos 🥲 but I know I'm just at the beginning and can't leave that behind.
Thank you Sys... you always come in when I need help. I appreciate this love and support so damn much. Thank you🙏 I really needed to hear this

Dominik Gräber

Hot Topic Tourer
Contest Winner!
  • Nov 11, 2019
    Haven't read through every other responds but here's my opinion:

    Every guitarist is different and so everybody has different strenghts and weaknesses. That also means that how well you can play someone elses solo should not influence your decision on what kind of guitarist you want to be. I know your abilities and know you can play sick solos. Just write Solos you can do. You and your Body know best what you can. So If you write something without trying to make it like someone elses solo you will automaticly write something that is 100% you and that you can actually perform. That's how it is for me at least


    Hot Topic Tourer
  • Jun 5, 2020
    I haven't 100% read through everything everybody else has said, but I just wanna give my opinion on this as an anxious, perfectionistic person 😂

    It is totally okay to decide something is not for you (right now). You can't be and don't have to be incredible at everything you do or try. Like others have said, this should be, at the core, something you do for yourself and because you enjoy it. Everybody learns and progresses in different ways and at different speeds so just because someone else was able to do it after [insert period of time] doesn't mean you have to do it in the same time or that this is some sort of race/competition where we all have to beat each others 'scores'.
    I think it comes down to the same thing that was said in the "move on with what you are practicing" thread: it's fine to take a break from something and focus on other aspects. And also don't put the bar too high for yourself 😉
    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    Matthieu Dubois

    Stairway to Heaven Tab Studier
  • Nov 11, 2019
    If you start thinking like this, then You are on the good way. You know why? Because it's not an Easy adventure to reach the top. I bet, Syn himself has (used to have) those moments of doubt. I bet Syn himself keep asking himself if he will reach John Petrucci Skill level, or Slash, or Dime. ( Or maybe he doesnt lol).

    Keep the hard work. Start listening different things, why not trying to write you own guitar
    solo over an A7X rythm guitar backing track?

    Give your hand and brain some rest.

    Don't forget you are on the good way.

    Last edited:


    Sold-out Crowd Surfer
    Nov 11, 2019
    Just my two cents here

    A lead guitarists is nothing without a great rhythm guitarists, that the first so if you're better at rhythm go kick some ass on rhythm and lead guitarists will love you for it.

    Than there is the part about struggling with bends, I play gypsy jazz a lot and really bends rarely exceed half steps and they sounds amazing so nothing wrong with not being able to do the big bends. You can write great solos without it just fine. No need to worry about be bends all that much(you could even create your own style and slide up instead of bend up to a note for example)

    In the general sense I genuinely believe anyone can learn anything at least to some level. Maybe you want be able to be a Syn level lead guitarists(let's be honest how many people really are?) But you could be a kickass rhythm guitarist like Zacky who also happens to be really great at playing lead(he does have to follow Syn in harmonies in the end ya know).


    Hey everyone! I am not going to lie I was not anticipating this enormous amount of outpouring love and support. I want everyone to know I've read everyone's comments and they've all been super helpful. I'm going to set some time aside today to respond to everyone individually because it's totally needed and deserved for everyone's passionate responses. I love you guys so much!

    guitar man

    New Student
    Nov 17, 2021
    Hey everyone! I am not going to lie I was not anticipating this enormous amount of outpouring love and support. I want everyone to know I've read everyone's comments and they've all been super helpful. I'm going to set some time aside today to respond to everyone individually because it's totally needed and deserved for everyone's passionate responses. I love you guys so much!
    We love you too! Which is why we don't want you to give up!!!!!
    Last edited:
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    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    Ryan Vega

    Garage band Groupie
    Nov 11, 2019
    Hey everyone....

    I'm really considering throwing in the towel with lead guitar and I'd like to say why.

    As a guitarist, I've ALWAYS been more heavily rhythm inclined. Even when I was learning, I'd spend HOURS and HOURS on the simplest solo, only to still struggle with it after a year of working on it. The Hail To The King solo is right back at 80% bpm, and even after working on it for almost two weeks it's not comfortably any faster. I'm struggling. My bends always feel weak, and no matter how much I try to strengthen them, my hands just feel like they're lifting a hundred pounds and have been weak for almost my whole guitar life. There's so much pressure to being considered a "great guitarist" by how well you can play lead, so I'm sitting here busting my fucking skull into the wall with 3-4 hour practice days and I can barely get that time in because I'm mentally tired of it. Learning lead and playing lead exhausts me.
    A while ago, I made a post about "Is it time to move on?" because I had been practicing a part of a solo for almost two weeks to barely only improve by about 15 bpms. And honestly, it's getting to a point where it's discouraging and I feel like I'm beating a dead horse.

    My heart is broken because I have dreams of playing my favorite solo alongside Syn one day on stage, playing in Trans Siberian Orchestra, and having the ability and skill to compose amazing solos full of rich harmonies. But it just doesn't seem to happen. I've been fighting with lead guitar, playing it religiously for 4 years and nothing seems to TRULY be moving forward. I'm always fighting with something. I'm always sucking. Never truly comfortable.

    I feel like my time could be better spent on writing amazing songs. Solidifying my rhythm work to play classical, bossa nova or even the amazing thrash shit I've been wanting to do for a long time now. It's just like, it literally consumes 80% of my guitar practice time and I'm not seeing a lot of real, true and consistent growth. I'm exhausted. I hardly have any time to work on solidifying my own work or writing new things.


    I had this thought. Am I playing stuff that's too hard, therefor getting myself discouraged? I'm trying to play Northtale shit, attempting to mimic someone's skills who's been playing religiously for over 20 years. Should I try to find solos that are within my abilities to do? I've seen improvement yes. But I dunno. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. Any words of advice are strongly appreciated
    I personally always go through phases where I want to practice a lot or I want to write a lot. Just do whatever your soul is feeling bro and don't worry about what others think if you have the means to write music and put it out then do it bro go hard and don't stop, maybe it will inspire you more to practice also without realizing it.