August 2012 Quick Licks

January 30, 2014

VooDoo Doll

This is the intro lick from longtime GP contributor Jimmy Leslie’s new single on Guitar Player Records. “I had a conversation with Buddy Guy at his club Legends in Chicago,” recalls Leslie. “That night I dreamed about jamming with Buddy on this lick. The trick is to use either a freehand or hybrid picking-and-pulling technique to alternate between plucking the bass note and pulling the fretted-note-plus-open-string slides on the treble side. It’s basically E blues, but I tuned up a half-step in the studio to add energy to the vocal. Onstage I either tune standard, or down a half-step and capo at the 2nd fret.”

More Monkey Business

Mr. Monkeys and Slides, Allen Hinds, submitted this slippery line. “Here is an example,” he says, “of why legato phrasing can be as much fun to practice as it is to play. Pay close attention to the fretting-hand fingerings—they are über-important in making legato stuff work. This lick weaves nicely all the way from the 13th fret down to the 3rd fret. Viewing the fretboard in large sections is important. Also notice that in legato, if your fretting hand is strong enough, you only need to pick when a note or phrase is started on a new string. Other than that it’s either hammered on (for an ascending lick), or pulled off (for a descending lick). Be creative. Think of this as a geometric pattern that, by changing only one or two notes, can also be used over Gm, Gmaj7, etc.”

Organ Donor

This bit of blues you can use comes to us from the Atmos Trio’s Rob Michael. “Inspired by organ players like Jack McDuff and Jimmy Smith,” says Michael, “this is a versatile blues lick that works well as a turnaround or as a stop-time ending of a blues in A. It’s a nice phrase that outlines the harmony (V-I), has a funky rhythmic element, and gets you outside the typical blues box. The first two measures are based on the E Mixolydian mode combined with a hefty helping of chromaticism, while the last two measures combine A Mixolydian with the A blues scale. Though this gem has enough grease on it to be Chitlin’ Circuit-approved, you can play this in just about any musical setting with any kind of tone: overdriven blues, clean jazz, or even on nylon- or steel-string acoustic guitars.”

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