View Full Version : some good licks?

03-30-2005, 12:40 AM
i am having trouble with my solos. i seem to revert back to variations on the same couple of licks. i know my scales reasonably well and have tried to learn more licks. i just have trouble plugging them in.

does anyone have any sugestions for exercises or good link for improving your improv?

03-30-2005, 01:17 AM
Do a search.

And stop trying to plug in licks. Play by ear. You can LEARN licks, but you have to really learn them, as in get the sound in your ear and learn how to vary it in a way that fits the context of your solo. Try singing everything you play.

03-30-2005, 02:14 AM
"playing by ear" often means hearing a phrase you know really well, inside and out and playing it without thinking about it. I've never actually met anyone who can instantly mimic anything he/she hears, I'm sure there are some who can, I've just never met them. Most good players can mimic phrases in their genre very well, but outside that genre its a bit harder to "play by ear". Reverting back to variations of what you know is pretty standard for everyone, you hear it all the time in blues. The same notes in different phrasing/timing.

Do a search.

But to really get certain phrases in mind is to sing that phrase, and sing/play that phrase a lot over different types of progressions. You can play a minor pentatonic lick over so many differnt kinds of music, from funk, to rock-a-billy blues, to minor slow blues, to whatever. Try playing that phrase over all kinds of progressions. You don't really begin to completely learn a phrase until you use it outside the context of the original song you learned it in. I use that program, transcibe!, and slow down different kinds of progressions and play a phrase over several different backings, if I really want to learn that phrase as my own, most phrases don't fit so neatly over other progressions and take a little effort to get the timing to line up exactly (enter 3 8th notes early or whatever). A 12 bar blues solo you know won't fit over a repeating 4 chord progression, but you can try to make it fit. I've been doing this more and find it fun and really beneficial. Anyway, not sure what exactly you wanted to know, but heres a couple good licks.

03-30-2005, 05:41 AM
i appreciate the suggestions but i guess i am really looking for exercises that will help me work out of different scale positions.

03-30-2005, 07:13 AM
"I've never actually met anyone who can instantly mimic anything he/she hears, I'm sure there are some who can, I've just never met them."

I have and i always try and break there fingers when i do meet them lol

03-30-2005, 07:58 AM
I agree. I'm actually pretty good myself at hearing a lick or phrase and mimicking it pretty close if not perfect first time. As long as it's not insanely fast then yes, you have to take bit of time to work it out.

Having said that though i think it's a combination of your ear hearing the key and notes and intervals and your memory/knowledge adding in the likelyhood of it being based on a certain scale.

The reason I perhaps find it easy is that in the blues/rock genre I know I'm not going to come across too many strange scales that often, it's likely to be something fairly mainstream.

With the band I'm with at the moment we always play something we call the "Burning The Studio Down Blues" as our last track of a rehearsal. (Don't ask about why it's called that, really,, don't:rolleyes: )

But we start with one of us plays a lick, then the other tries to copy it and embellish slightly and so on. We have a little guitar battle if you like before one of us eventually launches into a phrase which takes us into the 12 bar proper. Then we take it turn to improvise our solos. We learn alot from it and you learn how to copy/mimic something straight off. but again I say it's a bit of ear and a bit of knowing the likelyhood of a scale being used.

In fact just the other day my mate whipped out a lick and I thought hey, thats a Page lick, heard it before but don't know it, heard him play it and on my turn to mimic it didn't quite nail it first time but got it in the end. Good fun and I learnt something too.

@12bar, theres plenty of information out there on all the positions for penatatonic scales so i wont bore you with that but add: Learn them, practice them and find ways to link them.

Also try mixing the rhythmic pattern. find ways of moving through the scale that change the pattern of the notes.

Don't forget to practice your vibrato and bends, you can do lots with them and keep the notes you use to a minimum.

Hey, if I get time I'll powertab some of what I mean for you.

03-30-2005, 08:21 AM
"I've never actually met anyone who can instantly mimic anything he/she hears, I'm sure there are some who can, I've just never met them."

I have and i always try and break there fingers when i do meet them lol
The mandolin player that was playing with John Mclaughlin when I saw him a while back was able to instantaneously repeat a line Mclaughlin played note for note. He would often start his solo's with the last 5 seconds of Mclaughlin's solo. As if he was saying: "That was an insane 16th note run at 200 bpm and now here it is again." No joke, one of the most amazing things I have ever heard. To say this guy had perfect pitch and perfect ear to hand memory is a rediculas understatement.

Anyways, back to the original question. Whenever I learn a lick I don't really learn the actual notes as much as I learn the concept behind why it sounds the way it does. Analyze licks from your favourite players and learn why they sound cool. Does it arpeggiate in a certain way, or does it use a certain chromatic passing tone? This way you can insert a similar lick and build off of it in any situation.

03-30-2005, 08:37 AM
now that is impressive stuff!

Los Boleros
03-30-2005, 03:26 PM
Here's some in the "post your favorite riffs thread" (http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6584&highlight=post+licks)

03-30-2005, 04:23 PM
"I've never actually met anyone who can instantly mimic anything he/she hears, I'm sure there are some who can, I've just never met them."

I have and i always try and break there fingers when i do meet them lol
I have and its currently something im working at. It's a very hard thing to do. VERY hard. I'm gettin there tho

03-30-2005, 05:30 PM
the only person i have met that even comes close to perfect pitch was a fiddle player in my dads old country band. she was able to pick out minor tonal problems with any instrument. it was really pretty amazing. she would do that old page/plant rutine were the singer and here would trade off.
los boleros, thats a great thread. i'm am surprised that i havn't seen it before.

03-30-2005, 10:58 PM
hmmm for some reason i have know a good bunch of people who could do that....the first was a kid i knew at like 16...he could play anything he heard right off the bat...i think it was the first time i decided to quit playing lol

04-01-2005, 01:21 AM
Well you can goto sites and find the scales fitting the key and make your own little solo runs up like this one i made up (not the best but i like the slides) its based on a F lydian. The powertab doesnt sounde right cause some slides you dont hear and some sound strange so play it yourself to judge.

04-01-2005, 06:26 AM
IMO it's all just experience man. If you jam long enough to a track you'll figure what works what doesn't.

But improv. has a lot of putting what you hear in your head into the fretboard. I don't have perfect pitch or anything, but I can nail most of what I hear into the fretboard and make it sound exactly the way I imagined it to be. That's very important for me. Sure you can just run up and down a scale while staring at a scale chart but that's not going to help you in a live situation is it? When I figure out a cool rift going with a track I sit down and analyze it. You'll find that you've been playing over a mode or a chord shape without knowing.

Soloing over anything does have a lot of theory behind it. It's cool to know that d dorian over a A-C-E sounds right and stuff, but it's more important to hear it. It's cool to mimic other players and throw in their rifts into a jam session, but it's more important to find your own sound, think what you want to sound like and make it happen.

The strictly threads are great thx to Russ. It helps you realize more tonal possibilities that you may not have thought of. Hearing the tonal quality of a mode is more important than knowing which notes are in it.