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These short guitar lessons prove flash licks don't have to be difficult

Eddie Van Halen
(Image credit: Ross Marino/Getty)

Guitar lessons: Flash guitar doesn't have to be hard to play – melt the fretboard with these two blazing lead ideas. 

1. Fast hammer-ons and pull-offs

Virtuosos like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai are fearsome players, but beginners can try out techniques like hammer-ons and pull-offs. Instead of picking every note, use fretting fingers to hammer down firmly (known as a hammer on) and to re-pluck the string as you pull away to a lower note (known as a pull-off). It’s a smoother sound than picking.

Tab

(Image credit: Future)

Our lick boils down to two phrases – and this is the first part. Use your first, second and third fingers at the 10th, 12th and 13th frets respectively.

Tab

(Image credit: Future)

The second half of our lick repeats this simple phrase. It’s the same rhythm as the previous phrase, but played on the 9th, 10th and 12th frets.


2. Van Halen-style tapping 

Taking inspiration from late rock guitar legend Eddie Van Halen we’re using a technique known as tapping. The idea is to use a finger on your picking hand to hammer down onto a fretted note, instead of using the pick itself. Follow up a tapped note with hammer-ons and pull-offs and you have a surprisingly easy way to play fast, flash sounding lead lines.

Tab

(Image credit: Future)

Our tapped line is really easy. The circled note is a tap; follow this by pulling your tapping finger away to reveal a 5th fret note; finish with a hammer-on to the 8th fret.

Tab

(Image credit: Future)

You’ll be playing almost the same thing again here, just at the 4th and 7th frets. Use either your first and third or first and fourth fingers.

How to start prog-style guitar tapping using chords