#1
Is it worth/necessary to build a "lick library" (master a lot of licks a build a vocabulary)?
#3
I'd say yes, probably. It'll help with soloing and improvising if you can throw in a couple licks to fill in space. They also just plain sound cool.
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#4
It isn't necessary. It doesn't hurt though. If you're serious, it'll definately be a good resource.
#6
In my own opinion, yes.
If you know licks you have something to play in a improv situation that you know sounds good.
You can change the lick and use it aswell.
You might use the lick for a song your makeing.

There really isent anything bad about it, so why not?
#7
Yeah, but it also goes beyond just learning that lick, as you're supposed to take that information and apply it, which is essential for great improvising and writing solos, the more styles and information you master, the better you get.
#8
I say yes. Without one, yore solos would be straight up scales, and that can get boring.
#9
Yes and no.

If you devote your time to learning licks as opposed to getting a feel for melody, you're limiting yourself. It's useful to improvisation to have a "lick library" as you call it, but little else. Since improvisation is really a parlor trick rather than a foundation as far as actual composition goes, no.

That said, if your emphasis as a player is to learn songs and improvise the solos, then you might as well. The amount of time you spend learning enough licks to string together a good solo using them could be better used to learn melodic control and how to use melody and intervals rather than relying on preprepared licks and runs to build the bulk of your solos.
#10
I would say yes. But when you learn them make sure you understand the "concept"/general idea of the lick... and then modify it and articulate it with other licks until you can improvise hearing those licks/phrases in your head
#11
just learning them seems kinda pointless, being able to play with them and make them your own is where i want to go
#12
Almost everyone relies on "licks" to an extent - if you play them like a boring carbon copy then you'll be boring, but you don't need to.

If anything, licks are brilliant for those days where you suck at coming up with good ideas.
#13
do you have to? no.

however imo it is a great idea to because learning them is a great exercise in phrasing....

right now can you take a lick played by SRV and then make it sound like Dimebag Darrell? Kirk Hammet? Kerry King? John Mayer? Mark Tremonti?

if you said no to most or all of those, learning their licks will help you do that. what happens if you have a killer song and the solo you hear in your head has a bluesy feel but uses dimebags phrasing? if you had a library of bluesy licks and dimebag licks, that would be pretty easy to do, however with out them it will take much more work because you will have to cram on both of those things and by the time you figure out how to, the idea will be gone.
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#14
Quote by ChucklesMginty
Absolutely, if you want to be a good improviser it's essential.


I'd be curious to hear your improvisation..
I personally think while a lick library would be a useful tool, but isnt improvising.... improvising? Taking the harmony you have and using your ear to play a melody over that?
#15
Quote by greeneyegat
I'd be curious to hear your improvisation..
I personally think while a lick library would be a useful tool, but isnt improvising.... improvising? Taking the harmony you have and using your ear to play a melody over that?


Having a catalog of ideas that you know exactly how they sound in most contexts and you know well enough to change on a whim is a bad thing? I don't think that instantly leads to stale improvisation which is definitely what you're implying.
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#16
Quote by greeneyegat
I'd be curious to hear your improvisation..
I personally think while a lick library would be a useful tool, but isnt improvising.... improvising? Taking the harmony you have and using your ear to play a melody over that?

okay so what you are saying is "knowing what licks will already sound good is bad if you are trying to improv", this seems pretty ignorant...

i think I'd like to hear you improv, since it means that I won't hear any licks that have been used ever before. this means you didn't use any licks and change the key or postion or add passing tones, or changed the timing or add any bends or vibrato, you are going in totaly clean slate. that must be interesting, however I'm going to tell you right now that I don't believe that is what I will hear.

a lick library is not really a collection of licks you use as is, it's actually a collection of licks you know will sound good over certian chords or progressions that you can pull from for certian sounds. most of the time since you aren't neccessarily playing over the song they came from, the phrasing will change due to differences in tuning, key, tempo, time signature, or personal preferance for certian techniques. you can take a simple lick and make slight phrasing changes to make it sound like it was being played by kerry king, or jimi hendrix, or eric clapton, or tom morello, or john5, or buckethead, etc. yet it is just one lick contained in your lick library.
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#17
I think it's a lot like cooking.. You kind of get the basics for the recipe and then make it your own. It's nice to learn a few licks or more importantly what the ingredients make up certain licks. Then you can use them like spices. I almost never play someone else's lick note for note. I'm a session guitarist so that would be a bad thing anyway, but I never did copy.

I still learn licks to jump off from. You need to taste it to know if you're going to like it.

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#18
Quote by krypticguitar87
i think I'd like to hear you improv, since it means that I won't hear any licks that have been used ever before. this means you didn't use any licks and change the key or postion or add passing tones, or changed the timing or add any bends or vibrato, you are going in totaly clean slate. that must be interesting, however I'm going to tell you right now that I don't believe that is what I will hear.


You do realize that there are a finite number of notes that one can play on an instrument. Anything anyone plays over a chord progression could be related to another guitarist's approach over a similar progression. That doesn't mean that you're playing a memorized lick. That just means that you applied similar phrasing, knowingly or otherwise, to a melody/solo.

Quote by krypticguitar87
a lick library is not really a collection of licks you use as is

Actually, given my understanding of TS' question, that's exactly what he thinks a lick library is.

Quote by krypticguitar87
....it's actually a collection of licks you know will sound good over certian chords or progressions that you can pull from for certian sounds. most of the time since you aren't neccessarily playing over the song they came from, the phrasing will change due to differences in tuning, key, tempo, time signature, or personal preferance for certian techniques. you can take a simple lick and make slight phrasing changes to make it sound like it was being played by kerry king, or jimi hendrix, or eric clapton, or tom morello, or john5, or buckethead, etc. yet it is just one lick contained in your lick library.


Or you could learn melodic control, to borrow a phrase from Marty Friedman, and understand not how to apply a preprepared lick, but how to play what you hear in your head. Having a lick library can be useful to a beginner or a poor improviser, but understanding melody will improve your composition and your improvisation.

If you're messing with a lick as much as you indicate, why not learn to play without needing someone else to have written the basis for your melody before you ever heard the progression? It's much more effective and much easier in the long run to learn how to play a melody over a chord progression based on how the progression sounds and what kind of melody you want to hear yourself play over top it.
#19
Having a lick library can be useful to a beginner or a poor improviser, but understanding melody will improve your composition and your improvisation.


Even the best improvisers use and recommend learning licks - although obviously learning how things work (even if by ear) is necessary to progress past a certain level.
#20
That could have been worded better. What I should have said is "having and relying upon a large lick library is most useful to a beginner or a poor improviser". I stand by the remainder of what I said, though. Learning melodic control (I love that phrase!) is much more important than memorizing a list of licks, in my mind.
#21
I think one way or another everyone ends up building a library of basic structures they fall back on, especially when nothing else comes to mind. We are creatures of habit after all. It's only a problem when you use those licks all the time rather than trying to bring to life what's going on in your head.
#22
Quote by Geldin
You do realize that there are a finite number of notes that one can play on an instrument. Anything anyone plays over a chord progression could be related to another guitarist's approach over a similar progression. That doesn't mean that you're playing a memorized lick. That just means that you applied similar phrasing, knowingly or otherwise, to a melody/solo.


Actually, given my understanding of TS' question, that's exactly what he thinks a lick library is.


Or you could learn melodic control, to borrow a phrase from Marty Friedman, and understand not how to apply a preprepared lick, but how to play what you hear in your head. Having a lick library can be useful to a beginner or a poor improviser, but understanding melody will improve your composition and your improvisation.

If you're messing with a lick as much as you indicate, why not learn to play without needing someone else to have written the basis for your melody before you ever heard the progression? It's much more effective and much easier in the long run to learn how to play a melody over a chord progression based on how the progression sounds and what kind of melody you want to hear yourself play over top it.


yes I do realize that there are a finite number of possibilities and everything can be related to someone else, that was kind of my point. sorry but some one who just pulls from a library of licks can sound just as original as the person who spent the time to write all of their licks.

what I was responding to was someone who seems to believe that having a set lick library is bad for improv. and it isn't, having the tools to create the sound in your head is never a bad thing for improv. I'm not saying it is neccesarry to learn a billion licks, my point is that a lick library is an excelent tool to have.

also I get that TS may think that a lick library is set licks you always use 'as is', if I didn't I wouldn't have stated in both of my prior posts that a lick library is good for learning how to rephrase and gives you set things that you know sound good, I never once said learn other peoples licks and use them exactly as you learned them everytime.

and again I never said to rely solely on a lick library, but I mention that the lick library is a useful tool not a requirement. I advocate building both a lick library and writing your own licks, because subconsiencely you will still use the licks you wrote over and over again, which is still technically a lick library, the licks were just not written by someone else.
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
#23
Christ, i didnt mean to sound like such an ass. What i meant was that having a collection of licks may not be useful in certain contexts. If you use one lick from the library out of key for example, it could sound like shit. I didnt at all mean that improvisation had to be different from every piece of music ever played

Quote by krypticguitar87
okay so what you are saying is "knowing what licks will already sound good is bad if you are trying to improv", this seems pretty ignorant...

this means you didn't use any licks and change the key or postion or add passing tones, or changed the timing or add any bends or vibrato, you are going in totaly clean slate. that must be interesting, however I'm going to tell you right now that I don't believe that is what I will hear.


I actually believe i said playing over a set harmony. so depending, i could play passing tones or change timing or key, if it were appropriate to the piece i was playing over.
I apologise to Chuckles, i didnt mean to sound like such an ass.
#24
Quote by greeneyegat
Christ, i didnt mean to sound like such an ass. What i meant was that having a collection of licks may not be useful in certain contexts. If you use one lick from the library out of key for example, it could sound like shit. I didnt at all mean that improvisation had to be different from every piece of music ever played


I actually believe i said playing over a set harmony. so depending, i could play passing tones or change timing or key, if it were appropriate to the piece i was playing over.
I apologise to Chuckles, i didnt mean to sound like such an ass.

honestly I wasnt sure and it seemed like you were saying to never do it. but since you already have an understanding that wasn't really just an elitest comment, like I got out of your post, I appologize.

also if you take a lick and change the key of the lick, but keep the intervals it should sound fine.... the way I've always used the licks in my library is as shapes starting on a specific scale degree that sound good, if that makes sense....
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
#25
No i get what you're saying too, no hard feelings over a misunderstanding, i only meant that to me, it didnt sound like a good idea to play all your solos from a lick library. That takes away the hard work and isnt what improvisation is about, as i understand. Shot, and sorry again
Last edited by greeneyegat at Apr 27, 2011,