#1
I've played about 2.5 years without learning any licks (well, I got the intro to Down on the Corner and Sweet Child O' Mine, and that's about it). I have focused on chords, music theory, and some scales. I can do a heartfelt slow solo, using major or minor scales, but nothing fast, no shredding.

I was wanting to focus on the neglected parts of my playing: lead, solo, licks. I googled to try to figure out just how much memorizing specific "licks" is part of what lead guitarists do. Like I wondered if rock lead guitarists have a bunch of licks in their "bag of tricks" and when they improvise a solo, they string together these pre-memorized licks when they are soloing. The alternative, I guess, is if they are so comfortable with scales & fretboard that they just make up licks on the spot without need for having memorized licks to pull out of their bag.

What I found was a forum discussion on another guitar website where most of the guitarists said they do not learn or use licks when they improvise. But it was a jazz guitar forum, so that might have something to do with it.

So the question is whether memorizing licks is one of the things that good lead rock guitarists do. I could see myself learning a lick a day or whatever, till I have like over 100 in my "bag." But before I add this to my practice routine, I'm wondering if others think there's better ways to spend my time, like just jamming solos over a backing track, or playing my scales more often till I can play them faster & faster and with more confidence.

Or, to put it another way, how much is lead rock guitar and fast shredding about having a lot of pre-learned licks on your bag?

Ken
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#2
Quote by krm27



So the question is whether memorizing licks is one of the things that good lead rock guitarists do. I could see myself learning a lick a day or whatever, till I have like over 100 in my "bag." But before I add this to my practice routine, I'm wondering if others think there's better ways to spend my time, like just jamming solos over a backing track, or playing my scales more often till I can play them faster & faster and with more confidence.

Ken


You're time will be much better spent learning solos you admire by ear. The best way to learn musical phrases is to learn them in the context of an actual tune, not as licks in isolation. Find a player you like and learn a solo. Then move on to another. Some aspects of their playing will seep it's way into your style. Then take some of their phrasing and ideas and use them over different notes in different contexts.
#4
reverb:

Thanks, I'll consider this... It's a bit daunting since most solos go by so fast I am highly doubtful of my ability to workout a solo by ear. Or it'll take forever, like a Slash solo. Maybe I'll try to tackle Cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson, I think I can kind of hear what's happening in at least some of that.

Ken
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#5
I agree with reverb, but i also think straight up lick learning has its place.

The best thing you can do is obviously to learn phrases and licks straight of the record, studying the players you like. Making sure you understand the lick afterwards. (What chord(s) in the key does it work over? Why? etc)

But then again, depending on what style you are coming from you might just want to look up licks and try them out for yourself, such as superkid mentioned, blues licks. Many blues licks are standard stuff you hear on guitar, so you can learn it off a record or in a book when it comes to that. But when you dive deeper into styles such as blues, rock, jazz etc learning from recording becomes a must.

If stuff are going by too fast for your ear, slow it down! Get some software to slow the tune down and learn it at a comfortable tempo, the important thing is that you get it into your ears and hear the connection between the line and the chord/chordprogression.
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#6
Fills only get you so far.

Ever watch the show Becker? The lead in and outs are superb. THOSE are fills.

If you are facile with the fretboard you'll be able to play fills as needed.


Soloing is about having a statement you can make. Not riffs or fills.
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#7
^ yeah, listening to stuff that's obviously kind of lick-based like that and seeing how it's used will help. i probably ripped off a ton of that becker stuff. i used to watch it as much to listen to the guitar playing as to watch the show

Quote by Sickz
I agree with reverb, but i also think straight up lick learning has its place.

The best thing you can do is obviously to learn phrases and licks straight of the record, studying the players you like. Making sure you understand the lick afterwards. (What chord(s) in the key does it work over? Why? etc)

But then again, depending on what style you are coming from you might just want to look up licks and try them out for yourself, such as superkid mentioned, blues licks. Many blues licks are standard stuff you hear on guitar, so you can learn it off a record or in a book when it comes to that. But when you dive deeper into styles such as blues, rock, jazz etc learning from recording becomes a must.

If stuff are going by too fast for your ear, slow it down! Get some software to slow the tune down and learn it at a comfortable tempo, the important thing is that you get it into your ears and hear the connection between the line and the chord/chordprogression.


+1

a lot of rock stuff (at least the rock stuff I listen to ) is lick-based. But you can get a lot of mileage out of the same lick by varying it slightly and making up your own versions of the lick etc., so knowing how it works in a song is pretty useful. and also stringing random licks together often doesn't sound that good, either, it's sort of a mixture of playign stuff which matches the backing while also having some licks in there too.

I got a couple of books recently with tons of licks in them, just in case I was missing anything. I'd say the quality was variable- sometimes it's like watered down versions of the real thing (either for copyright reasons or cos the person writing the book isn't so great), sometimes a bit basic, sometimes very useful if you just haven't come across that lick before.

like most things, it just depends.
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Last edited by Dave_Mc at Apr 15, 2014,
#8
Quote by krm27
reverb:

Thanks, I'll consider this... It's a bit daunting since most solos go by so fast I am highly doubtful of my ability to workout a solo by ear. Or it'll take forever, like a Slash solo. Maybe I'll try to tackle Cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson, I think I can kind of hear what's happening in at least some of that.

Ken


You just need to get software that can slow down the music and keep it in pitch - Reaper can do it.

That being said, you should be starting with something much slower. Learning shred solos should not be your focus right now - start with something slow with good phrasing. Blazing all over the fretboard is not going to help you understand how each note sounds over a given chord - that's the skill you need to start working on.
#9
also if there's something difficult you just want to learn, just get the tab or music for it. in fact i'd advise that anyway if you're just starting out. it's all well and good saying that you should eventually learn by ear, but you need to make sure you're starting from solid foundations, i.e. that you're doing it correctly. even if your ear's good enough to pick up the solos, a few tips regarding how to play the licks and exactly where to finger them on the fretboard will be helpful at the start.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#11
lick learning/creating is in my opinion something essential to writing and improvising the best you can. I like to use a tab here on UG called "99 secret lead guitar phrases" which is from a dvd by Marty Friedman(God). Its a really good source for phrases to use in your playing.
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