Quick Licks

March 1, 2010


The symmetrical pattern in Ex. 1 is taken from the A Dorian/blues scale and it lays on the fretboard so nicely that it’s both easy and a blast to play. That is, unfortunately, why so many of us have done it to death. Ex. 2 contains the same notes, but employs some string skipping to liven things up. Once these moves are under your fingers, feel free to mess with the rhythm every way you can. Pick every note, use pull-offs, snap the strings against the fretboard—whatever. This is one of the fastest ways I know to sound hip and jazzy, even though you’re playing a bonehead simple lick. What a bargain!

http://www.guitarplayer.com/uploadedImages/guitarplayer/GP310_Lessons_Quick_Sym_Ex-1.jpgEx. 1



http://www.guitarplayer.com/uploadedImages/guitarplayer/GP310_Lessons_Quick_Sym_Ex-2.jpgEx. 2



With all due respect to sliced bread and beer in cans, guitar harmonics are the best thing ever. They can be used in a zillion cool and clever ways, but sometimes the simplest thing is all you need. The three chimes in Ex. 1 are classics and sound amazing over a G, D, or Em chord. The harmonics in Ex. 2 are less commonly used but will work similar magic over a D, A, or Bm. Arch your fingers so you don’t bump into adjacent strings and let all three tones ring together. If you’ve got a whammy bar, use it gently. No whammy? Shake the neck ever so slightly as the harmonics sustain. See what I’m saying?

http://www.guitarplayer.com/uploadedImages/guitarplayer/GP310_Lessons_Quick_Harm_Ex-1.jpgEx. 1



http://www.guitarplayer.com/uploadedImages/guitarplayer/GP310_Lessons_Quick_Harm_Ex-2.jpgEx. 2




These three bars combine some of my favorite things on the guitar: wide interval skips, pretty melodies, and the ability to sound great at any tempo. Although the pattern is laid out as G-Am-F progression, you can (and should) loop any of these bars for as long as you like. Start with a pickup-note tap on the B string and pull off to the notes below. Use a tap on the high-E to change strings, another tap on the B string, and so on. Use these licks in a solo, put a long delay on them to create a spacey overdub, or throw a slap-back echo on them to really blow some minds. This is a sound that keyboardists have had a monopoly on for too long!

http://www.guitarplayer.com/uploadedImages/guitarplayer/GP310_Lessons_Quick_Loop_Ex-1.jpgEx. 1

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