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#1
One important aspect of improvising is to have an arsenal of licks in your hand. How do you find and add licks in your arsenal?

Do you learn other peoples licks from songs? or make up your own?
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#2
I Take the licks of my favorite songs and then shake them up a little bit.

All of my made up licks sounds really bluelsish but there cool
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#3
All my favorite "licks" I've come up with myself. If I've made one that I really like then I change it to fit the format.

If your in search of "licks", one of my favorites is adding an open string to your notes. Say If your playing something in E minor, play the notes on the B string and then add the open high E to them to really accent the intervals and give a open feeling.

Edit: I forgot to mention I use other musicians ideas as inspiration, but I try to keep from directly using them.
Those with closed minds bring on themselves nothing but limits.
#5
Quote by gflip69
One important aspect of improvising is to have an arsenal of licks in your hand. How do you find and add licks in your arsenal?

Do you learn other peoples licks from songs? or make up your own?


Both
shred is gaudy music
#6
Quote by gflip69
Do you learn other peoples licks from songs?


Yes. Then expand on it. Use the lick as a pedal point then add other notes around it. Which is pretty much what you say here below.

or make up your own
#7
I don't really have a certain "set of licks" that I have memorized. I'm pretty good at improvising naturally and I can figure out how to get the sound I want most of the time. So I guess I make them up on the fly.
#8
Since most licks I want to play are modal or use the blues/minor pentatonic (I know that the minor pent is modal so please don't go into some big arguement here haha I've seen it happen) anyways I've been using those scales so long and I guess I have a good ear most of the time I can play note for note anthing I want as long as I can technically too haha. Anyways it just takes time but you'll be able to just improvise your licks really easily eventually
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#9
Quote by gflip69
One important aspect of improvising is to have an arsenal of licks in your hand. How do you find and add licks in your arsenal?

Do you learn other peoples licks from songs? or make up your own?


wrong. the most important aspect of improvising is understanding how intervals resolve to other intervals. in my opinion at least..
#10
Quote by LawnDwarf
wrong. the most important aspect of improvising is understanding how intervals resolve to other intervals. in my opinion at least..


He said "an" important part, not "the most" important part. Play nice.
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#11
to think of improvisation as a way of chaining already practiced "licks" together is wrong.
#12
Having practiced and memorized licks is one of the best ways to learn "how intervals resolve to other intervals." Yeah, playing every lick you know isn't improvising, but it's invaluable to learning how to truly improvise. Besides, you can improvise the way you play the licks. Change the notes, change the rhythm, play it slower/faster, etc. Just rushing in and calling him wrong without answering his question doesn't help him.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#13
Using the "lick" strategy trains your ear anyway and eventually you'll know not to use lick X because it ends on Y note which clashes with chord Z. Gradually you'll be more and more capable of creating your own phrases.

I do have a handful of very short licks I use regularly personally. However, what I generally try to do is play a melody I have in my head.
#14
Yeah, just like everyone else, I get 'inspired-by-other-musicians' licks and pure homemade ones I stumble upon. Yeah, some of the homemade ones I can hear in other music now that I know them but that doesn't really matter. It is very satisfactory to get an all personal lick solo in that sounds right with the chord progressions, but that's very difficult and if I try to do it, the solo sounds bad. Metaphor time: I'm painting a picture (song) and I have the background (chord progression.) Now I want to fill in the foreground (fills and solos and melodies). I have a large selection of available hues (licks) and brush strokes (articulation) and if it doesn't go well with the background or, for you experimental types, doesn't contradict it enough, the end product blows goats for quarters.
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#15
Quote by LawnDwarf
to think of improvisation as a way of chaining already practiced "licks" together is wrong.
I agree with you on this point, but play nice otherwise. Using words like wrong and fail and anything slightly offensive is looked down upon here. We're music theorist's, the ugliest, most controversial word we use here is "modes."

Also, I think phrasing is the most important aspect. And than note choice (which is what you said and a little more). Licks are important, but only when you've run out of ideas.

The best licks are taken from the main melodies (like the fills and the singing melody) of the song your improvising to. This is what alot of guys did back in the dixieland age. You can ninja a lick or two from someone or you can repeat a phrase you've found sounds good, but dont get reliant on licks.
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#16
I agree with teh demon! Its fun to see where pure improv takes one! Many times, I end up miserably failing, sounding kind of unremarkable but when I get it right, I have to change my shorts. Yeah, its that good that I get kind of disturbing.
#17
Quote by Fedayee
I agree with teh demon! Its fun to see where pure improv takes one! Many times, I end up miserably failing, sounding kind of unremarkable but when I get it right, I have to change my shorts. Yeah, its that good that I get kind of disturbing.
lol, all you need to sound good is a slab of beer and maybe a gram of pot. Whether you sound good to others is another issue though.
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#18
I just take random things that I've learned from other songs and mold them around until they are slightly different. Picking patterns and stuff are pretty much universal. Sometimes I'll take a simple thing like a bar trick or a slide or something and expand it out so it is really long or take something long and make it short. Meh, whatever.
#19
my licks? stolen from blues and some classical type stuff and a little tiny bit of jazzy stuff.... why? cuz it sounds good and thats the important part (in fact the solo to i hope you stay is jazzy in nature, i just wish i remembered how i played it)

i suggest though for copping some somewhat original licks, listen to stuff you like and try to figure it out by ear. alot of times you won't be able to (especially if its fast or your ear isn't trained real well) and what comes out will sound different and pretty cool. i do this all the time and it still serves me well.
#20
Oh yeah, Twenny is right. Learn things by ear! That way since you most likely won't be playing it exactly the same way you can play it to your strengths and make it your own.
#21
I have this same problem... I go up and down scales like its my job. I got the hammer on pull off stuff down pat, but my licks lack finality. Each thing I play seems to be begging for more. I want to learn the one lick per 15 seconds Gilmour-like stuff. Licks that really "haunt." I understand blues is the best place to look for this, but I have never really listened to blues. Is there a place I can look up generic blues stuff? Is there one artist that would be more helpful? I don't have time to immerse myself in blues like I probably should so maybe you guys could point me in the direction of a few "essentials." I just don't want to learn one musicians style, because I don't have ONE that I particularly like. I just want to learn the most broadly applicable blues, jazz, rock licks without having to learn tons of songs in each genre.... There's no database for this somewhere? C'mon its the freaking web, there's gotta be something.
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#22
I write everything I play although the vast majority is improv

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#23
Quote by tubetime86
I have this same problem... I go up and down scales like its my job. I got the hammer on pull off stuff down pat, but my licks lack finality. Each thing I play seems to be begging for more. I want to learn the one lick per 15 seconds Gilmour-like stuff. Licks that really "haunt." I understand blues is the best place to look for this, but I have never really listened to blues. Is there a place I can look up generic blues stuff? Is there one artist that would be more helpful? I don't have time to immerse myself in blues like I probably should so maybe you guys could point me in the direction of a few "essentials." I just don't want to learn one musicians style, because I don't have ONE that I particularly like. I just want to learn the most broadly applicable blues, jazz, rock licks without having to learn tons of songs in each genre.... There's no database for this somewhere? C'mon its the freaking web, there's gotta be something.



I agree with him. So does anybody know where to find it?
-When you have eliminated all which is impossible,then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth

-PRS Tremonti SE with SD SH-1 '59 (Neck) and SD Distortion (Bridge)

-Schecter C-1 Elite

-Line 6 PODXT

-Floorboard
#26
O yah? Where can I download "the force?"


Edit: I will bump this thread until I get a decent response...
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Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
Last edited by tubetime86 at Aug 7, 2008,
#27
Quote by tubetime86
Edit: I will bump this thread until I get a decent response...


You've had many. Don't bump your threads.
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#28
Quote by tubetime86
O yah? Where can I download "the force?"


Edit: I will bump this thread until I get a decent response...



Have you tried books...like the signature licks in the style of (artist) books?
-When you have eliminated all which is impossible,then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth

-PRS Tremonti SE with SD SH-1 '59 (Neck) and SD Distortion (Bridge)

-Schecter C-1 Elite

-Line 6 PODXT

-Floorboard
#29
Quote by tubetime86
I just want to learn the most broadly applicable blues, jazz, rock licks without having to learn tons of songs in each genre.... There's no database for this somewhere? C'mon its the freaking web, there's gotta be something.


I've been working on this but it's a big job

This is the direction I'm heading, with some sample licks:
http://www.guitarviz.com

The general idea is that there are certain common "DNA"-type licks in rock guitar that are common to a lot of famous players and songs. My guess as to how you could generally categorize them might be something like:

* basic bends: e.g. some notes in the penta scales are more commonly bent then others.

* oblique bends: again, really common

* double stops: lots of territory here to explore, from basic "Chuck Berry" type double stops used by everyone from Led Zep to Metallica... also thirds, fourths, and sixths... triple stops too (e.g. SRV)

* riff shapes: from basic boogie-type things to outlining triads (e.g. Manic Depression by Hendrix, or the rhythm guitar part in Wind Cries Mary solo)

* chord embellishments: common things to do with a given chord shape, little licks and riffs that work especially well as fills, "friends of the chord" so to speak
#30
Pretty good list, at least as a start. I like the idea of categorizing... you need to add hammer on pull offs to that tho. Keep me posted as to how it goes, I'm dying to learn some licks to throw into my improv. I'm less concerned with the notes to play, i can figure that out, I just need help combining bends, slides, ho/pos, etc into interesting lick. I'm always listening to songs and I'll hear a lick that sounds impossible to play on guitar, because of either its complexity or just becuase it is a creative combination of a few techniques. I want people to hear me play and say how the hell does he make those noises. Right now anyone with any experience at guitar can tell you exactly what I do when I do it.
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Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#31
Quote by demonofthenight
I agree with you on this point, but play nice otherwise. Using words like wrong and fail and anything slightly offensive is looked down upon here. We're music theorist's, the ugliest, most controversial word we use here is "modes."

Also, I think phrasing is the most important aspect. And than note choice (which is what you said and a little more). Licks are important, but only when you've run out of ideas.

The best licks are taken from the main melodies (like the fills and the singing melody) of the song your improvising to. This is what alot of guys did back in the dixieland age. You can ninja a lick or two from someone or you can repeat a phrase you've found sounds good, but dont get reliant on licks.


offensive?
#33
Quote by tubetime86
I have this same problem... I go up and down scales like its my job.
Slow down, keep to pentatonics if your a beginner and copy your favourite singers phrasing. Try to sing with your guitar =\
Quote by tubetime86
I got the hammer on pull off stuff down pat, but my licks lack finality. Each thing I play seems to be begging for more.
You need to resolve. Heres a few tips.
If you can figure out what intervals your notes make with the harmonic content, try to hit a perfect fifth or a root note. The approach to hit these notes is by using downward diatonic movement (like C-B-A would resolve to A) or from below in a semitone movement (G#-A would also resolve to A).
Otherwise, the best way to resolve is to hit a note thats a semitone above what you just played.
Quote by tubetime86
I want to learn the one lick per 15 seconds Gilmour-like stuff. Licks that really "haunt."
I dont really know much gilmour-like stuff, but if I want those haunting sort of licks: I play really low, use minor pentatonics and some slow bends, usually in and out of dissonant notes like b5's and M6's. Remember though, your phrasing is your best path to get the sound you want.
Quote by tubetime86
I understand blues is the best place to look for this, but I have never really listened to blues. Is there a place I can look up generic blues stuff?
Depends on what sort of blues you like. I'd say Son House for some delta blues, Robert Johnson for your later missippi/southern blues, Miles Davis for jazz blues, Black Sabbatj for that heavier metalish blues, Allman Brothers/Lynyrd Skynyd for that southern rock blues. So take your pick, those are just a few guys I like.
Quote by tubetime86
Is there one artist that would be more helpful?
No. With music theres no "better" or "worse" artist, just different. You could even copy an emo singers phrasing for improv.

Actually, poprock/emo has some really nice singing melodies, has anyone been "influenced" (as in shamelessly stolen) by phrases in their singing melodies?

Quote by \m/Gaz
no it isn't.
Improvisation means creating something NEW on the spot. It does not mean "amalgamate your old licks into a frankenstien of a solo."

Quote by LawnDwarf
offensive?
Yep, just dont say the word "modes," or else half the regulars will start a flame war.
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#34
Quote by demonofthenight
Improvisation means creating something NEW on the spot. It does not mean "amalgamate your old licks into a frankenstien of a solo."


Then I guess Charlie Parker even self-professedly wasn't an improviser. You're kidding yourself if you think all those amazing improvisers are creating something new on the spot.
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt.
He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.


Remember: A prudent question is one half of wisdom.

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#35
Quote by Resiliance
Then I guess Charlie Parker even self-professedly wasn't an improviser. You're kidding yourself if you think all those amazing improvisers are creating something new on the spot.
What would make you say that?
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#36
Analyse some Parker solos and you'll see what he means. Recurrent licks, notes, typical resolutions over the changes he favoured(all those heads he wrote from "I Got Rhythm") only with the accents switching around?

Parker was a genius not only because of his melodic vocabulary but because of his amazing rhythmic vocabulary.
#37
Quote by demonofthenight
What would make you say that?


Oh, well, let's see...

Analyze Charlie Parker's stuff and you'll see 99% of the time he's using the same licks, the same resolutions, the same patterns, the same motifs, the same themes. Same goes for Oscar Peterson. Same goes for Michael Brecker. Same goes for Clifford Brown. Same goes for pretty much anyone that's known for their improvisation (or non-improvisation, according to what you said up there).

Do you honestly think those guys are going to be making up stuff they've never played on the spot while playing cherokee at 200bpm? Hell no. Improvising in music, for all practical intents and purposes, consists of integrating and ornamenting licks, patterns, all kinds of stuff which after a while, like Kyrl said, make up your vocabulary and furthermore style.

The "trick" is being able to apply them. And this is what people like Parker excelled in.
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt.
He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.


Remember: A prudent question is one half of wisdom.

Click.
#38
Quote by Resiliance
Do you honestly think those guys are going to be making up stuff they've never played on the spot while playing cherokee at 200bpm? Hell no. Improvising in music, for all practical intents and purposes, consists of integrating and ornamenting licks, patterns, all kinds of stuff which after a while, like Kyrl said, make up your vocabulary and furthermore style.

The "trick" is being able to apply them. And this is what people like Parker excelled in.

Thank you. "Improvisation" as per LawnDwarf's definition would be nigh impossible on a song like "Cherokee". There's no point in trying to avoid licks you've already come up with, that's just ridiculous.
#40
Both, usually my licks I play in whatever key I feel like. I also don't really have them memorized, I just know there's the one that goes like this, and the one that goes like that. Then I just variate and throw them together.
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