Believe it or not, singers can help you become a much better lead guitarist. The majority of guitarists never think about studying singer to improve their soloing skills... instead they attempt to get better by building speed, learning new licks or looking up new scale positions. Fact is, once you can combine the vocal style of great singers with your guitar playing, your guitar solos will become much more emotional and expressive.

King Diamond is one of the most underrated, yet amazing singers. Even if you aren’t into metal music (or know of Kind Diamond's musical style specifically), you can improve your soloing by leaps and bounds when you study his vocal phrasing style.

[Note: Go to this Facebook post to listen to many examples of his style:]

These are four excellent ways to use King Diamond’s vocal technique to greatly improve your guitar solos:

1.Make The First Note Of Your Solos Unforgettable

What is the best way to quickly grab the attention of anyone listening to your guitar solos? Make the very first note sound truly incredible! King Diamond understand how to do this very well, as you can hear in many of his vocal phrases.

For instance, check out 34:39 in the link above to hear one such example.

To apply this concept into your own guitar soloing, try playing one and ONLY one note as expressively as you can for several minutes. This may seem easy, but you will quickly find out that it is not as easy as you’d think. This will help you spot weaknesses in your playing to help you improve your solos.

To make a single note sound incredible, utilize various methods for applying vibrato, string bending, sliding, string rake technique, artificial harmonics, double stops, and any combinations of these techniques. Watch the video below to see examples of how this can be done :


2. Make Truly Memorable Guitar Solo Phrases Rather Than Just Playing Fast

Unlike so many guitar players who focus only on playing as fast as possible during their solos, great vocalists like King Diamond never waste a single note. Since vocalists do not have the power to sing as fast as guitar players play, they are forced to make every note extremely expressive. THIS is the key to making music that is emotional and memorable for anyone listening (for instance, listen to 17:39–17:52 and 35:36–35:50 in the Facebook link above). Highly expressive phrasing always sounds great (whether it is fast or slow). On the other hand, guitar solos with bad phrasing always sound bad regardless of speed.

To start playing more emotional and inspiring guitar solos, complete these steps:

1. Select a few very short phrases in any one of the King Diamond songs from the Facebook post mentioned above and write down the notes. Use your ear as much as you can (and your guitar as needed).

2. After you’ve written down the notes of the phrase, try to imitate King Diamond’s vocal phrasing style very closely (focusing heavily on vibrato technique, rhythm and bends). Try to match every subtly of his phrasing using your guitar.

3. Make your own versions of the vocal phrases you wrote out. Use completely different notes and phrasing techniques to create your own licks. Learn more about this by downloading this guide on playing better guitar licks and solos.

3. Learn How To Play Super-Tight Lead Guitar Harmonies

Another cool element of vocal phrasing that will help you play awesome guitar solos is knowing how to play tight harmonies (two or more melody lines being played simultaneously). Playing a harmony underneath (or above) a guitar solo melody creates an additional layer of expression for your music and sounds awesome. King Diamond uses this approach frequently. One of the elements that make his harmonies sound so awesome is his ability to perfectly line up the vibrato on the longer notes between all the parts of the harmony (listen to 13:14 and 7:46-8:08 in the Facebook link for examples).

To play killer guitar solos with tight harmonies, you must precisely match the phrasing of the original solo melody with the phrasing of the melody being played in harmony. This is extremely critical while using vibrato. You need to start the vibrato in all parts of the harmony at the exact same moment in time – while also making sure it is played the same way (in other words, all parts of the harmony use the same vibrato that is wide, subtle, fast, slow, instant, delayed, etc.).

You can hear tons of examples of harmonies with vibrato being sung in perfect timing by King Diamond in the Facebook link above (I recommend listening to 8:35).

4. Fill Your Guitar Solos With High Levels Of Tension Using Rhythm

Normal guitarists focus only on the notes they need to play in their guitar solos. Decent guitar players also think about how they should be phrasing these notes. Finally, truly great guitarists focus on the rhythm of the notes they play in their solos as well. You can learn more about how this is done by listening to great vocalists. In the King Diamond video link I posted about on Facebook, listen closely to 23:44 to hear the repeating rhythm in his vocal phrasing. This rhythm helps to build tons of tension when approaching the end of a musical phrase.

To make your guitar solos sound tense like this, observe the rhythms you use in your guitar licks on a consistent basis.

To get used to doing this, do the following:

1. Improvise a short, slow and easy phrase (of no more than eight notes in total).

2. Make about 15 variations of this phrase by only altering the rhythm. Keep all the pitches exactly the same!

3. Make more new phrases (slow and easy ones) and repeat step two with each one.

Doing this will really help you become more aware of how rhythm can be used to play better solos.

You now have a much clearer understanding of how much there is to gain from studying King Diamond’s (and other vocalists’) vocal phrasing style. Now it’s time to implement what you’ve learned and get big results in the quality of your guitar solos. To learn more about how to do this, check out this killer video on how to create amazing guitar solos.


Author's Bio: 

About The Author:
Tom Hess is a professional musician, composer, and highly successful guitar instructor who trains and mentors guitarists with online guitar tuition. Visit to get free guitar playing tips, guitar playing resources, mini courses and more guitar playing articles.