Rock In E Minor - Jam Backing Track
To help you practice playing lead guitar it's nice to have a piece of music to play over which has the leads removed. That way you can play over the track and add your own leads.
Here we're going to provide you with a rock jam track in the key of E minor. So playing leads sticking to the E minor scale will keep your leads in key and they will sound like they fit the jam track.
If you want to dive right in, here is the Jam Track
Rock in E minor
Sound clip - Backing
Download 'Rock in E minor' mp3 file - (Right-click on link and select 'save as..')
The track basically consists of two main riffs. One plays twice, then the other plays twice and then it repeats many more times.
Because of the tracks repetitive nature you should be able to jump in and out at any point if you make a mistake. It will also let you refine your ideas and licks without the track changing to much causing you to have to jump back and forth to the bits you want.
If you need a little inspiration, here is a short example of the kind of leads you could play.
Rock in E minor with lead
Sound clip - Lead
Let's take a look at the tab for that example.
The top tab shows us what the rhythm guitar is playing in the jam track. The bottom tab is showing us the lead part.
Let's have a look at what is going on.
Every note played in the lead part is from the E minor scale
In bars 1, 2 and 3 we start each bar with a note that matches the chord. An E power chord in bar 1, then a C power chord in bar 2 and then a D power chord in bar 3. So at the beginning of each of those bars we play a E note in bar 1, a C note in bar 2 and a D note in bar 3. This helps give the lead some structure and musicality.
In bar 4 we break out of this pattern and play a lick starting with some bends. Since the Riff ends in bar 4 it makes sense musically to change the pattern of the lead and play something different to mark the end of the riff.
In bar 5 the riff starts up again and we start playing something similar to bars 1, 2 and 3. But since we don't really want to copy the exact same thing again we play in a different position and change the notes around a bit. Playing similar but different licks makes the lead sound composed and structured. Playing many totally different licks would make it sound spontaneous and energetic.
Bar 8 plays a fast lick that needs to be picked fast using alternate picking.
After bar 8 the riff changes.
Bars 9, 10 and 11 play some fast legato licks. Using hammers and pull offs makes the licks easier to play as we don't need to pick so much. These licks also repeat the same notes often so they are easy to remember. These types of lick are common to rock music.
Bar 12 plays a lick that requires some fast alternate picking. Palm muting is used for the fast part to help keep the lick tight sounding. Playing fast on the lower strings can sometimes sound a bit messy and noisy without palm muting. Also notice that the last two notes match the chords. They don't need to but it can sound good.
At bar 13 this second riff repeats again. The leads also play something similar. Again we use some fast repeating legato licks and we've moved to another part of the neck to help separate this part from the previous part.
In bar 16 we end with the same lick as from bar 12.
We hope our example gives you something to think about and some ideas.
Feel free to learn to play our example exactly if you wish but as soon as you are confidant try to think of your own ideas and your own style.