Ask Abbie; How Do I learn To Play Lead Guitar?
Playing lead takes an understanding of the guitar to a whole new level. If you have not mastered the art of note bending, slides, pull-offs and hammer-ons, you will probably have a difficult time playing lead. Guitar solos are sometimes more about the application of effects (chorus, reverb, delay), and technique, than theory.
Listen to David Gilmore of Pink Floyd. He can do with several notes than some guitarists can’t do with hundreds of notes. Additionally, many of the great 70’s artists performed live being both the rhythm and lead guitarist. An example is Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page). Jimmy wrote wonderful chord progressions and often mixed catchy riffs, or arpeggios to transition between chords.
Playing is emotion, effects, amps, guitar type, pickups, technique, and theory just to mention a few. I would recommend you begin by learning patterns. Look up the key of a song you like, go to the web and type “lead guitar patterns in A major” or “Blues Pentatonic Scale in A.” You will see a guitar neck with dots all over it (usually grouped). By playing any of those spots on the guitar noted by a dot, you can play a lead pattern over any song in that key. There are patterns often sectioned together which you can memorize and apply to any song withing that key. I am obviously simplifying the process, but this is a great place to begin.
Additionally, go to the web and search for “Guitar Tablature.” This will display numbers on lines. The six lines are the strings of the guitars, and the numbers represent the frets. Many of them are usually put together my novice players, and are often not very accurate. But it is a great place to get an idea how another guitar player pulled off a lead solo or guitar riff.
Good Luck and Keep Rocking Gods House!