For any blues guitarist, licks are a very important part of creating cool guitar fills and solos. But what is a lick exactly? You can think of a lick as a stock pattern, meaning it’s just a common pattern that everyone can use. You shouldn’t be afraid that you’re ripping anyone off, or stealing from them, because these are patterns that all guitarists have used and can use.
Blues guitar licks are most often used in fills and as parts of solos, and you can usually identify them pretty quickly just by ear and without having to look them up. After you’ve heard a lot of solos by famous blues players, you’ll start to recognize certain licks and hear them come up more often. If you’re able to identify them, then that’s great, because that means your ear is getting better.
Here we’re including a cool blues lick for you to try out. This piece is from “The Sky is Crying” by Stevie Ray Vaughan, who is hailed as one of the greatest blues players of all time. The main thing you might notice about this lick is the bends. There are two of them, and they are to be full bends, meaning they should be bent a full step up. You should also know that bends are one of the most important parts of playing the blues correctly, and solos in general. Any blues track you listen to is going to have some serious bending going on, so if there’s one thing you should make sure you practice a lot, it should be your bending.
There are tons of other blues licks out there for you to try. Once you start listening to more songs and solos, identifying the recurring licks is going to become second nature to you. In fact, we would encourage you to not simply look up the tabs or music for your favorite songs, but rather to first try to figure them out for yourself first. That’s really the best way to practice, and helps your ear to better hear all the nuances and make sense of the patterns.
Here´s a cool BLUES GUITAR LESSON
So, taking this new knowledge of blues licks with you, go out and try to play some more, or incorporate what you learned here into your next improv session.
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