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A Jazzy Blues Lick that resolves to the strongest tone of all.

Guitar Lick by Kirk Lorange

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The Lick explained

This is a fun one, rolls right off the finger tips once you get it down. It’s moveable, so it’s a good one to remember.

This one is a good example of how the Chromatic scale — which is all notes — can be used to link up scale notes and chord tones. They’re often called ‘passing tones’ because you pass through them on the way to scale notes.

To be specific: the opening line moves from a 1 to a flat 7 — both chord tones of a dom7 chord — via the 7. So the 7 here (the major 7) is there briefly as a passing tone between the two chord tones. A bit later on there’s a little chromatic run up from the 5 to the 6 passing through the #5. I encourage you to experiment with the chromatic scale and see how you can insert those passing tones into lines you already know. The trick is to compress the timing so that the original notes still fall on the same beats.

You’ll see another flat 3 to 3 move in this one. It’s definitely a standard move in the blues and jazz genres. The sooner you get those 3s locked into position, the better.

I have written out the scale degrees as if the whole lick is in A. That’s an easy way to interpret and track it. However, you can harmonize it so that it moves to a D7 halfway through (when the ’6′ shows up in the video) and back to A7. If you interpret it that way you wind up with a lick that is almost exclusively chord tones of A7 and D7 link — again highlighting the fact that ‘melody loves chord tones’.

The trick to this one is keeping it all flowing nicely. You’ll see in the tab that those first two notes lead into the downbeat of the bar, and you can accent that b7 as being the first beat. That’s how I was hearing this one in my head and how I played it. Remember though that you can juggle these licks around note-wise and timing-wise. Experimentation is the best way to find your own way of expressing yourself and find your own sound. Playing other players’ licks note for note, inflection for inflection is a good way to start out playing ‘lead guitar’ but make sure you also experiment with it all. That’s how you get your own sound.

Note that this one launches from and resolves to the 1, the tonic, the root, the strongest tone of all.

PS: The 'trick' to being able to see the fretboard as one long, ever-changing chord is the subject of my book/dvd/slide-rule package PlaneTalk. To find out more, click here.


Guitar Lick by Kirk Lorange

Kirk LorangeAs well as putting together these guitar licks and lessons, I am also the author of PlaneTalk - The Truly Totally Different Guitar Instruction Package, which teaches a mindset, a way of thinking about music and a way of tracking it all on the guitar fretboard. Yes, there IS a constant down there in the maze of strings and fret wire, a landmark that points to everything at all times. I call it The Easiest Yet Most Powerful Guitar Lesson You Will Ever Learn and many testimonials at my site will back up that rather superlative description. If your goal as a guitar player is to be able to truly PLAY the guitar, not just learn by rote; to be able to invent on the fly, not memorize every note; to be able to see the WHOLE fretboard as friendly, familiar territory, not just the first 5 frets and to do it all without thinking about all those scales and modes, then you should read more here.