#1
So i was searching for help with licks and why they are important but came up w/ nothing so hopefully someone will inspire me one way or another. Do you think having "back up" licks that you can stick to, is more important, or should you know the scale and play what comes to you?

I study mostly hendrix, and john frusciante who mostly play off of emotion and let the solos flow. I really think that emotion gives guitar playing an almost lyrical aspect, allowing you to fully express yourself through any solo. But so many guitarists stick to licks they've always known and vary them slightly, etc etc... Also, could these be combined in some way? I play mostly blues rock and funk/punk, but i'm open to just about any music style. Metal's probably all based on licks and scales. But i'd love to hear anyone's opinion or advice on soloing in either "style"
#2
metal is not based around "licks" its based around the same general emotion now a days...anger...now listen to Nevermore...Jeff Loomis is a beast...he has fall back licks live but he knows his **** and improvs alot live too
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#3
It depends on the feeling you're trying to get across I guess.
#4
uh huh..... i think having a little bit of theoretical knowledge and knowing your song can do more for improv'ing than having a repetoire of licks. don't get me wrong its good to have some under your hand so to speak if you need them but you do realize that hendrix and frusciante, alot of their stuff is blues licks right? im not knocking'em i like both of their playing styles but it is really blues based licks.
#5
If you actually look through a lot of blues artists solos you find many tend to recycle licks in various places. If you change the speed/vibrato/accents in a certain lick or even the backing it is played over it can convey different "emotions". I would honestly say most blues guitarists rely more heavily on these "licks" than most metal guitarists.
#6
Quote by chipmunksurfer
But all guitarists stick to licks they've always known and vary them slightly
This is a more accurate quote.

As with anything, you shouldn't go into a solo with no clue what you're going to play.
#7
Quote by bangoodcharlote


As with anything, you shouldn't go into a solo with no clue what you're going to play.


sometimes i think going in with nothing more of a vague notion than "the songs in this key so i can play around in something like that" and that can quite often yield the best results imo (or it can sound friggin awful if you have no idea what you're doing)
#8
Quote by z4twenny
sometimes i think going in with nothing more of a vague notion than "the songs in this key so i can play around in something like that" and that can quite often yield the best results imo (or it can sound friggin awful if you have no idea what you're doing)


This is what i usually do, but it seems there's no real way to improve, unless you sit down and improvise over some backing track (i usually just put x # of repeats on a guitar pro progression, but even that is limiting). But if you're looking to simply "wow" an audience at a show, well-performed fast licks usually get the job done. but on recordings, i'd like to experiment and go into whatever groove the songs in and whatever emotions coming through. I think it adds more to interpret, especially for guitarists. I can't say I'm great at this, but John Frusciante is definitely an inspiration (yes, his old work was mostly licks; but most of stadium arcadium and especially a live b-side track "lyons.6.6.06" is all in the moment. sorry if you're not a fan)
#9
^ well the best way to get better is to practice improv a LOT and make a mental note to not use licks, also really getting down how intervals sound together will help a lot. being able to put whats in your head directly to guitar takes a lot of time to get down.
#10
I consider myself a moderately good improviser, but I can't say that I've ever stolen a lick from another song before. I don't know why, but when I do have to fall back on licks they're usually my own that I've discovered and subconsciously remembered from other improv.

Also, I know what you mean about Frusciante on Stadium Arcadium. It's kinda funny when you compare a solo like Hollywood (Africa) from Freaky Styley to the utter chaotic mind**** that is the last couple minutes of Turn It Again; you can tell the difference in the emotion/spontaneity versus having to fall back on licks from time to time.
#11
Quote by chipmunksurfer
So i was searching for help with licks and why they are important but came up w/ nothing so hopefully someone will inspire me one way or another. Do you think having "back up" licks that you can stick to, is more important, or should you know the scale and play what comes to you?

I study mostly hendrix, and john frusciante who mostly play off of emotion and let the solos flow. I really think that emotion gives guitar playing an almost lyrical aspect, allowing you to fully express yourself through any solo. But so many guitarists stick to licks they've always known and vary them slightly, etc etc... Also, could these be combined in some way? I play mostly blues rock and funk/punk, but i'm open to just about any music style. Metal's probably all based on licks and scales. But i'd love to hear anyone's opinion or advice on soloing in either "style"

you dont think hendrix played licks? he most certainly did. playing licks doesnt mean you arent playing with emotion. playing scale runs doesnt mean that either.

no one can truely improvise in music. improvising involves putting together things you already know on the spot. so this includes scale runs and licks. but you dont do it the same each time. id say at least 80-90% of improvising isnt truely made up right then on the spot. most of it is playing things you've already played but maybe playing them in slightly different ways.

the point of learning licks and runs is so you can be free to do what you want and not think about it. so that you can play emotionally. when your string together all these runs, licks, stock phrases, you get what we call improvising. but if you are just playing certain licks and runs just for the sake of playing them with no real reason behind them, then you have a problem. you should be using these things because thats what you feel should happen and thats what you hear in your head.
#12
If you know what you are doing you won't be restricted to playing the same old licks and will be able to think ahead to what you want to play. Licks and patterns and things that involve speed are good ways to travel between notes and to create tension, and often sound badass. EVERYONE plays licks. EVERYONE plays with emotion.
#13
This imho is not a black or white issue. Knowing licks is good, but you also have to know how to transition to and from them. Emotion is critical in improving, for example you have to feel how a lick, pattern, or whatever will fit into the context of your improv. In blues especialy you can sit on one note through a whole 12 bars and it CAN sound awesome (feel). Some easy licks can trigger you into a wild solo.

Basically it all WORKS TOGETHER!

BUT you have to know HOW and WHY it WORKS!
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#14
well, i went on a hiking trip for 3 weeks and got back a few days ago. i got home and realised what a great time on this trip i had. me and my friends just dicking around in the woads for three weeks. i really wish it was longer but it simply isn't. i went and picked up my guitar after not playing for three weeks and played the best solo i have ever played. i almost always use licks and it sounds extremely repetitive and boring but this time i played from the heart (sounds cheesy but its what i did) and i tried to convert my feelings in my brain to the vibrations on the strings. man i was shredding or at least for me i was.

point is: emotion > licks
#15
Every guitarist relies on licks. The entire phenomenon that is muscle memory is based on this. It's pretty much impossible to consciously enduringly improvise, play, or write, without using licks or patterns.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with licks. Some of the people heralded as the greatest improvisers in the history of modern music (Charlie Parker, anyone?) use many, many signature licks upon analysis of their style.

As for emotion, I'm just going to say what I've been saying for a few years here now to the "shred=no emotion" crowd. Music has no emotion. Emotion is in no way a qualitative or quantitative attribute of music.

What does this mean? Simple... Emotion in music is extremely subjective. The emotion is in you. A certain piece of music can trigger it. This doesn't mean that piece of music "has emotion".

So please, people... Don't use it to arrogantly justify your own tastes, because that's all it is, taste.
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Click.
#17
Quote by chipmunksurfer
I study mostly hendrix, and john frusciante who mostly play off of emotion and let the solos flow.
River:Water::Hendrix and Frusciante:Licks


Psst...that means they use lots of stock licks.
#18
Quote by ouchies
No matter what you play, you will always be able to chop it up into licks.

Learning licks is necessary and is a good way to learn.


^This

Learning and creating licks is an excellent way to learn to navigate the fretboard, the sound of intervals, and that many ways that different chords and scales can be used.
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#19
It's more about being able to create tension and release within the textures of the other instruments you are playing with. Whether you are using preconceived licks or you are noodling around with something new, the reason Froosh can play with "emotion" is because of how well he relates what he's playing to the other members of his band. That's the most important thing most bedroom guitarists overlook. Sure you can play a Steve Vai song note for note, but if you can't improvise in basic 4/4 with other musicians you're ten steps behind. Listen to the solos in Californication or Zephyr Song or any of his slow solos and how he flows with the rythm of the song. David Gilmour is even a better example of this(see: comfortably numb)