When I was writing the lesson on creating and using guitar licks I had a problem deciding whether as examples I use easy guitar licks, intermediate ones, or more advanced.
After sharing the post on Reddit some people suggested that the guitar lick examples should be easier – while others, that they should be more difficult.
Which is why I’m writing this post.
The following guitar licks, start from the very easy and reach intermediate and advanced levels by the end.
Before we go directly to the first easy guitar licks there is one thing I would like to clear out:
A guitar lick that’s easy to play is not inferior to a complex lick.
Let me explain this.
The first, very easy, guitar licks in these examples will actually stand out less than the ones than the one that will follow.
This is because I will leave out guitar phrasing techniques such as string bending and vibrato (so that you can play them even if you have no idea of these techniques).
Once you’ve got the basic of these techniques, what makes a guitar licks stand out is not the complexity of the lick, but how well you use these phrasing techniques.
Blues guitar masters like BB King can play a guitar lick even on a single note. Yet, in the context of the music, the dynamics and above all the vibrato technique, that one note will please your ear buds as much as an entire melody.
Thus, I suggest that you learn all these guitar licks, easy ones included, even if you’re an intermediate guitar player.
Using B.B.King again as an example, it’s not really that hard to learn a B.B King song note for note.
However, if you have the ability to play those same notes with the same phrasing B.B.King uses, you surely wouldn’t be reading this article.
What this means in practice is that even the easier guitar licks can be improved on, especially when it comes to phrasing techniques like string bending, vibrato and legato playing (hammer ons and pull offs) as well perfecting the accents and the timing,
Let’s start with the first, very easy, guitar licks,
Guitar lick 1:
Still taking it easy for now..
Guitar lick 2:
Another easy guitar lick, this time a bit more adventurous, using more notes.
Guitar lick 3:
Next, let’s welcome the first guitar technique and also one of the most expressive on guitar, vibrato.
When you see a squiggly line on certain notes in the next lick, that means vibrato should be applied to that note.
Though this guitar lick is still easy, applying correct vibrato is a technique you will keep developing and perfecting over time.
Guitar lick 4:
In the next, easy guitar lick, we’ll not be doing anything new. Let’s reinforce vibrato technique a bit more.
Guitar lick 5:
The following lick, introduces one of the most crucial techniques in electric guitar playing: string bending.
As with vibrato technique, you’ll need to use the technique for quite some time until you nail it right.
The most important thing about string bending is that you reach exactly the note you intend to reach. If you push the string a little more, or less, you will sound out of tune.
In this guitar lick, you have to bend the last note of the first bar up two frets, which is indicated by the arrow sign (which means bend) and the word “full” on top of it. The word full indicates you need to bend the string two frets.
Guitar lick 6:
The next lick also uses string bending technique. However, the first of the two bends in the lick is a bit different, since it’s a “bend and release” kind of bend.
This means that unlike the second bend in the guitar lick, it doesn’t reach the next note and stop there, but comes down again to the original note.
Guitar lick 7:
The following lick make use of both upward bends, bend and release, as well as vibrato on the final note.
Guitar lick 8:
The next lick introduces the first hammer-ons (first bar) and pull-offs (second bar).
Guitar lick 9:
The following guitar lick makes use of a slide.
Sliding technique is not only important as a phrasing technique in itself but it also makes it easier to connect scale patterns.
You may have noticed that all the guitar licks above use the same few notes.
In the next lick though, you’ll find a couple of new notes and the reason is that using the slide I’m shifting from the A minor pentatonic in one position to the next position of the scale.
Guitar lick 10:
So far, trying to keep the guitar licks pretty easy, I have avoided shorter subdivisions of the quaver note.
But if you want to go for complexity, semiquavers, and semiquaver patterns will make the rhythm sound more rich.
The next lick starts with a legato semiquaver pattern.
Guitar lick 11:
Semiquavers, give us a lot of options as you’ll see in the next lick.
Guitar lick 12:
The final component I wanted to add to your options when creating guitar licks is rests.
Silence has as much role in music as the notes themselves.
Guitar lick 13:
The last two guitar licks are not easy, you may want to try learning them now, or leave them for when you’re a more advanced player.
Guitar lesson 14:
Guitar lick 15:
Hopefully, these 15 guitar licks that started from a basic level but reach advanced levels by the end, have added to your music vocabulary.
Don’t worry if you aren’t able to play the last few licks. They’re hard, and I would like to remind you that complexity is not the goal.
I just threw in some complexity in the last few licks for those who love a challenge.
What you should be working on is perfecting your phrasing techniques as well as creating as many guitar licks as you can to master the art of improvisation or even start planning your first guitar solo.
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