Flatpicking Guitar Network

For Fans of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

Learning Lead Breaks After Playing Rhythm For Years

I have been playing rhythm guitar for years and I now want to learn some lead breaks. Where do I begin?

Answered by Dan Miller

For guitar players who have a fairly solid rhythm background and are now interested in learning how to play guitar solos, we recommend that you start by learning the chord-melody style of lead guitar playing, or what is commonly known as "Carter Family style."

This style of playing, named after the technique used by Mother Maybelle Carter, combines a melody line played on the bass strings of the guitar with a chordal strum on the treble strings. Although Mother Maybelle Carter used a thumb pick in combination with a fingers, her's is a technique that can be easily approximated with a flatpick. This style successfully combines rhythm with lead playing and can be a logical transitional step for a rhythm player to use in order branch out and start learning lead breaks. This style of playing also lends itself well to solo singers who are accompanying themselves on the guitar because the rhythm never fully drops out when you are playing your lead break.

There are several instruction items available on the market which teach this style of guitar playing. These instructional items are as follows:

  • Easy Guitar Solos by Dan Huckabee (one hour cassette and tab book)
  • Flatpicking Guitar Country Style by Eric Thompson (video with tab book)
  • Easy Gospel Solos by Dan Huckabee (video with tab book)
  • Basic Country Flatpicking by Dix Bruce (video with tab book)

If you want to explore both Carter-style, some bluegrass rhythm, and start flatpicking some fiddle tunes, we recommend one of these books by Joe Carr:

Last updated by Dan Miller May 11, 2008.

Don't Miss These!



Latest Activity

Profile Icongayleo chorney, Bill O'Mahoney, Giuseppe De Chirico and 2 more joined Flatpicking Guitar Network
3 hours ago
Louis Ruoti posted a video

Tennessee Waltz - Flatpick Guitar - Louis Ruoti

Written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King in 1948. I know, another waltz...What can I say? I love those slow soulful tunes. Recorded straight from a Logitech ...
Sep 21
Profile IconTim Kindlon, Jack Abbott, Louis Sessa and 1 more joined Flatpicking Guitar Network
Sep 12
Jack Abbott updated their profile
Sep 12
Jeffrey Glen West posted a photo


Wayne Henderson in action teaching mountain tunes during a weeklong class in Foresthill, Ca.
Sep 10
rich jaeger posted a discussion

the last issue of Flatpicking Mag.

Just got it -Sept /Oct. 2016 issue- wonderful write-up  by Dan Miller "20 Years of Lessons Learned" A must read ( and learn) for all -IMO.A guide that shows how to go about learning  the Guitar , I believe can be applied to any instrument.See More
Sep 1
Profile IconBob Kellett, Ron Bohannon, Steven Franklin Harris and 2 more joined Flatpicking Guitar Network
Aug 30
Ken Gustin updated their profile
Aug 25
Daniel Stolte replied to David Wayne Martin's discussion Up strums
"Hi! I'lm in a similar position as I recently started taking Bryan Sutton's online video lessons. So far, the experience has been transforming, but also difficult as I realized I had to unlearn a few bad habits. I, as well, used to rest my…"
Aug 14
Profile IconAlexander Fleming, Daniel Stolte, Mary Kaczowka and 6 more joined Flatpicking Guitar Network
Aug 12
Ronald L DuPlanty updated their profile
Aug 12
Mary Kaczowka updated their profile
Aug 8
Jim Perkins posted a status
"Hi I'm just transcribing some Kenny Smith 'Winters come and gone' anyone else learnt this yet? its awesome."
Jul 28
Jim Perkins updated their profile
Jul 28
Chris Griffin updated their profile
Jul 24
Profile IconJim Perkins and Michael Strickland joined Flatpicking Guitar Network
Jul 24

© 2016   Created by Dan Miller.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service