#1
Hey guys
I was just wondering if any of you guys had an effective system of getting learnt licks into your improvisations. I try and learn as many licks as i can, but accessing them at a seconds notice is proving difficult. I need a system that i can use to fully plaster the licks into my brain.
Whenever i learn a lick, i analyse the notes, and ensure that i know how to play that lick in other keys too. Still, i struggle to play anything else other than scales over backing tracks.
Any help would be appreciated
#2
Think with your ears with your fingers. Rather than thinking how you're going to fit certain licks in listen to the backing track and decide what's actually going to work, and more importantly decide what it is that YOU want to hear over it.

A lick is a musical phrase, pay attention to how it sounds and if it works in the context of what you're playing over. Also remember that playing a solo isn't just splicing together a bunch of licks - it's a flow, there has to a coherent thread running through it for it to really work as a solo. The only time firing of random licks really works IMO is in a call and response situation.

That means there's going to have to be some context around those licks that allows you to work them in without it simply sounding like you shoehorned it in there, so listen to how the licks may work in the context of the rhythm and the melody - you may find you need to modify them a bit in order to make them a proper fit.

Always remember, playing the guitar is primarily a musical activity - it's all about your ears and your brain. Technique is secondary, it's just what you use to turn your ideas into audible music.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#3
to play any pattern reliably you just have to sit down and make a point of figuring out where it works and playing it consciously. Break down your licks and such so you know how they work rhythmically, harmonically, melodically, etc. Figure out the relationship between the lick and music.
#4
Guitar notes are like letters in the alphabet. Guitar licks are like words and phrases. Solos are like telling a story with those words put together in a meaningful and interesting way. Start telling stories.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Sep 5, 2016,
#5
Suggest you study use of chord tones as part of your normal playing (i.e. good solid landing note choices against the backing), and then think how to take off from one of these into a lick, and make the mental association. You'll be amazed at how you rapidly become a lot more melodic and convincing with solo ideas.

But, as Cajun says, improvising is not just playing a load of pre-learned stuff ... sure, we all have our favourites in our toolbox, but a lot of time it's much more rewarding to make stuff up on the spot (with a safety net of theory behind you), based on your feelings, the situation, and what your mind is "hearing" (even vaguely), to suggest maybe a phrase (rough idea of rhythmic shape and note choice).
#6
The best thing for me was getting into doing fill in gigs and a lot of sit ins for a few years.

Meet the band, set up, 30 minutes later I'm onstage with them, no idea what they might play, what key it will be in, what changes they might have made, and I have to keep up. the friend who got me into it was telling them I could play anything. Gee thanks...

Go find some open mic nights at a local club, get onstage and screw up a couple of times. Nothing like getting the crap embarrassed out of you to make you learn quick. I always like to put a new band onstage before we think we're really ready, 2 nights onstage is worth 3 weeks in the practice room.

I don't think about what I play, as long as I know where the chord progression is going, I have an idea of a couple of notes I want to start with, from there I just try not to think about it and let my fingers find their way around. I rarely try to play fast onstage, I can, I practiced it for years, then I try to go with tasteful and melodic onstage. I do throw in a few standard licks here and there, but unless I already have a specific lead memorized for the song, I mostly improvise.

For those songs I've practiced with my band, most have a specific lead I do note for note every time, I don't have to think much about those, other than getting it right, some are not easy to play. A few times a night I can just let loose and improvise, then I just have an idea where to start, then just go with whatever feels right.

One thing I do, if I make a glaring mistake, I'll try to figure out a way to do the exact same thing again, or maybe a few times, and make it sound like it was intentional.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#7
The worst musicians play licks. Play something original. Play what you are thinking about. If all you think about are other peoples music, then just cover songs for the rest of your life.
#8
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers
The worst musicians play licks. Play something original. Play what you are thinking about. If all you think about are other peoples music, then just cover songs for the rest of your life.


I far more enjoy noodling around with my own stuff than rehashing somebody else's ideas. What's more I think most high end players are the same: it's why you see so much "original material" by guitarists, or they are playing stuff that's so obscure that they can put their own stamp on it, like John Fahey. If I had the technical skill maybe it would be different for me, but that's not the case. The best reason, of course, to play original stuff is that other folks don't realize when you screw up! I've noodled around on E7-A7-B7 and made tons of mistakes, but people listening think it sounds cool as hell. Thank God for non-guitarists!
#9
I just mean like... for instance, the blues. The blues is the absolute worst music on the planet. For starters, who the fuck wants to play over I IV I V IV I all day? Especially when theyre all dominant 7th chords with no designated 3. Its a bunch of bullshit and it sounds gross. Blues licks are disgusting. They make me cringe. Those arent real emotions. Its all fake. Thats why blues licks exist. Its for people with no soul that want to sound like they have real passion, so they play predesignated licks and concepts that everyone indirectly agreed upon to be "musical". I shouldnt be able to give pure real music a genre or category. Real music comes from the mind and soul finding harmony. That doesnt sound like the blues.
#10
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers
I just mean like... for instance, the blues. The blues is the absolute worst music on the planet. For starters, who the fuck wants to play over I IV I V IV I all day? Especially when theyre all dominant 7th chords with no designated 3. Its a bunch of bullshit and it sounds gross. Blues licks are disgusting. They make me cringe. Those arent real emotions. Its all fake. Thats why blues licks exist. Its for people with no soul that want to sound like they have real passion, so they play predesignated licks and concepts that everyone indirectly agreed upon to be "musical". I shouldnt be able to give pure real music a genre or category. Real music comes from the mind and soul finding harmony. That doesnt sound like the blues.

Yeah this rant isn't particularly helpful or relevant, also it's largely bollocks

Keep it on topic please
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#11
Quote by TobusRex
I far more enjoy noodling around with my own stuff than rehashing somebody else's ideas. What's more I think most high end players are the same:


Most good players spend years studying other people's music and are constantly listening for inspiration in other music, as well as pursuing their own creative interests. Don't assume that the people you've heard of are the only good players out there.

Anyone who wants to be good at music has to develop the skill of listening and learning. There is no way around that. You don't have to "rehash" it, but you do have to learn from it.