Applied Guitar Theory logo

5 Pedal Point Licks That Make Great Lead Guitar Exercises

A Pedal point, or pedal note, is a sustained or repeated note. They’re used in rhythm playing as well as leads and you hear them often in rock, metal, and neoclassical music. In this lesson, I’m going to give you 5 examples of pedal point licks that also make great lead guitar exercises. They’re great for building left hand and right hand technique. Enjoy!

Pedal Point Licks

As is the case when practicing pretty much anything on guitar, start slow and build up to the proper tempo. If possible, use a metronome as well.

Lick #1

The first pedal point lick is from Anastasia by Slash feat. Miles Kennedy and The Conspirators. This intro uses multiple pedals, but the example here just includes the first. The pedal note in this lick is the F note on the high E string.

Anastasia pedal point licks

Listen to the lick: Anastasia pedal lick

Lick #2

The second lick is from Skid Row’s I Remember You. This lick pedals on the G note of the B string and walks down the G major scale to end on G note of the D string, which is an octave lower than the pedal note.

I Remember You pedal point lick

Listen to the lick: I Remember You pedal lick

Lick #3

The next pedal lick comes courtesy of Metallica’s The Struggle Within. It’s a classic example of the heavy metal pedal point.

The Struggle Within pedal lick

Listen to the lick: The Struggle Within pedal lick

Lick #4

The fourth pedal lick comes from the icon intro to Thunderstruck by AC/DC. In addition to being a cool pedal point lick, this lick is a great exercise for improving picking/fretting hand synchronization.

Thunderstruck pedal lick

Listen to the lick: Thunderstruck pedal point lick

Lick #5

With this lick we’ll venture into the world of classical music and pull an example that’s been adapted to the guitar in many ways…Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by JS Bach.

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor pedal point lick

Listen to the lick: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor pedal lick

Wrap Up

While applications of pedal points vary, I particularly enjoy them in lead playing. Pedal point licks make great exercises. They are fun to play and help build timing and coordination.

AGT book of scales cover

Get notified of new lessons!

Get The Book of Scales when you sign up for lesson updates.