Lead Guitar Secrets Review
Lead Guitar Secrets is a 4 DVD-based course aimed at guitarists wanting to get a good practical grounding in lead guitar techniques.
Course Author / InstructorThe author of Lead Guitar Secrets, Dan Denley is also the author of many other popular guitar courses, including several other 'Guitar Secrets' courses, and is a professional musician, member of several bands, and guitar instructor, having studied music at college.
Course Contents - What You Get
The main content of the Lead Guitar Secrets course comes in a CD style box, which contains the DVDs and CDs from the course. The whole course contains:
There are also a couple of bonus videos that you'll get included, as well as a free trial 30-day membership of Dan's 'Guitar Theory Secrets' membership website.
Course Description - What's in the Lessons?
The main content of the Lead Guitar Secrets course is contained on the 4 DVDs. Here's an outline of the contents of each DVD, and also the audio CD & resource CD-ROM:
In-depth coverage of 14 complete solos in several styles, including
Resource CD Rom
The first 2 DVDs cover the technique sessions that you'll need to use to create your lead guitar solos. This includes detailed sessions on scales, including pentatonic and major scales and modes, and shows how to connect the different scale patterns.
Here's a couple of screenshots from the DVDs:
Each topic is presented in the videos in detail, with Dan showing how to play each section of the exercise or solo. He's got a very relaxed presentation style, which makes the videos extremely easy to watch, and take in the content.
The split screen video, as shown above, is used on some of the sessions, and shows the right & left hand action clearly.
On DVD 3, Dan presents each of the 14 different full guitar solos in detail, showing how to play each section, and he discusses the main features of each solo. The full tab for each solo, both the lead and rhythm parts is included in the 200-page course book, so you can follow along with the analysis of each solo with the video.
The audio CD contains the full band audio backing track for each of the 14 solos, both with and without the lead guitar part recorded. This is useful, as you can listen to the audio track which includes the lead part at first, then when you've practiced the solo a few times, you can start playing along with the rhythm only audio track.
The rhythm audio tracks are also ideal for then improvising over with your own versions of the solos.
The final DVD starts by looking at the rhythm parts for each of the 14 different solos. This may seem odd for a course that is aimed at lead guitar. However, as Dan points out, playing and understanding rhythm is actually a big part of playing lead guitar, you'll discover how the lead and rhythm parts work together.
The rest of the 4th DVD covers some important theory on guitar scales and harmony, presented with several practical examples. This is useful info for really improving your understanding of how scales and chords relate, and gives you some useful tools for knowing which scale to use over a given chord sequence.
As mentioned, the 200-page course book has all of the tab/music notation for all the exercises and solos in the videos, plus some extra examples. At the end of the book, there is a 'progress tracker' section, which lists each topic in detail - exercises, licks and solos. By the side of each item is a date, which you can use to record your own progress through the course, as you complete each one.
The support for Lead Guitar Secrets is excellent - you can get in touch with their support staff by phone or email via a web contact form. There's also an online forum related to Lead Guitar Secrets and Dan's other guitar products, which provides good info. The DVDs and book are shipped to any country, and each order can be tracked.
Overall - Our Verdict
If you're a total beginner at the guitar, then the Lead Guitar Secrets course wouldn't be right for you, take a look at some of the other courses that would be more suitable, for example Learn & Master Guitar, or Jamorama.
You need to have learned at least the basics of playing chords and simple scales to get the most benefit from this course.
If you have these basics though, then Lead Guitar Secrets can take you from this point to being able to play a wide range of different lead guitar solos and licks very quickly.
The course has a good mix of theory - e.g. major & pentatonic scales, modes, and practical examples of using that theory to construct solos.
For me though the most useful part of the course were the sections on the 50 lead licks, and the 14 complete lead guitar solos.
The licks section was good, since rather than just being a list of the tab for 50 different licks, each of the 50 licks is shown on the videos in quite a lot of detail. This is a great help for making sure you're playing each lick properly. A large part of being a successful lead guitarist is having your own 'library' of lead licks that you can play in a solo, and this set of 50 is a great start in helping you develop your own 'lick library'.
I especially liked the sessions on the 14 complete lead guitar solos. These solos cover a few different styles - rock, jazz, blues and heavy rock, and let you see how a lot of the scale exercises and licks presented earlier are used to build real lead solos.
On the last DVD, there's a reasonable amount of theory, which can initially seem a bit daunting. However, Dan always shows the practical applications of this theory. For instance, I found the section where Dan gives tips on how to know what scale to use over a given chord progression really useful - very often, as a lead guitarist, you're just presented with a set of chords and asked to 'solo over that'. This part certainly helped me when trying to figure out what scale would work over particular chords.
The 'progress tracker' section in the course book is also a good feature. It's easy, when starting out with a course like this to lose track of where you've got to with the various exercises and assignments, so having a section which lets you record where you're at with each section is invaluable.
A couple of things which I thought could be improved - in some of the earlier DVD sessions, Dan mentions some aspects of theory that he doesn't cover fully until later sessions, it may have been better to have used a slightly different ordering of the session topics. Also, while each session refers to the relevant section in the book, it would have been good to have some of the music / tab shown on screen, to make it even easier to follow.
These are fairly minor points though, and overall, Lead Guitar Secrets does a good job of going through the most important aspects of playing lead guitar, and showing how the theory is used to create memorable lead guitar solos.
If you work your way through this course, by the end of DVD 4, you'll have learned all of the 50 lead licks, understood the 14 full solos from both a lead and rhythm perspective, which will give you an excellent foundation for building on these new lead guitar skills you will have learned.
Price and Guarantees
There are a couple of different price options for the Lead Guitar Secrets course, both of which compare favourably with the overall cost of a series of lessons with a private guitar instructor.
The regular version of the Lead Guitar Secrets course is usually priced at US$199. This version is shipped with the DVDs / CDs plus a spiral bound printed copy of the 200-page course book. However, I noticed that on their website order page, there is a sale price currently for this version of US$149.
As well as the regular version, there is a download version of the course, which is available for a reduced price. With this version, you still get the DVDs / CDs shipped to you, but you need to download the PDF for the 200-page course book, and video bonuses. The usual price for the download version is US$99, but there is also a discount on this version currently available, this currently seems to be around US$59 (the order page for this version still seems to be active at the moment).
There is a full, unconditional money back guarantee on the Lead Guitar Secrets course, anytime up to 90 days after purchasing. This seems to be about 30 days more than other courses, which usually offer a 60-day guarantee period.
If you're serious about really improving your lead guitar skills and abilities, then the Lead Guitar Secrets course can definitely help you towards reaching this goal. Find out more about this course by visiting the Lead Guitar Secrets site.