TASTES VARY when it comes to what we all like in a lead guitarist. Putting jazz and country to one side for a moment (I’ll return to these another time), opinion is divided between ‘feel’ players and out-and-out technicians. Many years ago when I was editing our sister magazine, Guitarist, a common letters page debate was exactly that - feel or speed - with heated exchanges often going on for months. Usually the protagonists sat firmly in the blues (feel) and rock (technique) corners. Well, to me there’s always been a middle ground: modern rock guitarists that possess all the chops and yet have a feel to die for. I can easily reel off Randy Rhoads, Michael Schenker, George Lynch, Ritchie Kotzen, Andy Timmons and of course Joe Satriani. But there are plenty more whose rock sensibilities are imbued with real feel. So we thought we’d give you the chance to get some fire into your fingers with some licks that combine all we love in the best electric blues, with that wonderful added element of flash. And, just occasionally, who wouldn’t like a bit of digital dexterity to turn a head or two? Another thing about these rock players is that they often come out with off-the-wall notes that really prick up the ear. I remember hearing Steve Lukather’s solo in Rosanna for the first time, and couldn’t for the life of me find where some of the notes were on my fretboard - they certainly weren’t among my hackneyed shapes, so it was a great lift when I did finally work out what Luke was doing. We’ve enlisted the help of Jacob Quistgaard (currently on tour with Bryan Ferry) to come up with 10 great examples for you. His list of players goes from hot blues (SRV) to full metal jacket (YJM) but each one shares the same characteristics of spice and feel. And remember, you don’t have to play the licks at full tilt, even though Jacob has done so in order to let you hear how great they sound played fast. Learn the licks from the tab at whatever speed is comfortable - you can always run them through your practice routine with the metronome to notch the BPM up a few beats each day. Do enjoy them - and I’ll see you next month.