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Monday, March 30, 2009

Dump the 'Lead Breaks'

A wise musician pointed out to me that when performing solo, I should, "leave out the lead breaks." I said, 'but, that's how they do it on the record.' To which he replied, 'No, on the record they have a screaming electric lead over the acoustic guitar.' Viva la difference!

Today's audiences have the attention span of a gnat. Don't give them an excuse to drift off and turn their attention away from your performance.

By leaving out the lead break, you'll be able to shorten the song, thus creating more space for additional tunes at the gig.

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  1. Good advice as is all on this blog. Thanks for sharing your insight. Of course if you are using a looper, you can loop the rhythm guitar part and play lead over it - assuming you play lead.

  2. F*#! the audience. Do what you want.

  3. Leave it to the next musician who lacks fluency and depth in leads, and more importantly improvization, to come up with some BS about what the audience "wants". What they want is what they came out for: to have a good time. Certainly I enjoy playing pieces that don't gain from forced leads, but there are songs like Folsom Prison Blues that have a break that IS an expression of the rhythm.

  4. If you can play a great lead, without having any accompaniment, then do so. I've seen way too many performers just strum through the lead break. It's just better if that doesn't happen.