Lick Vocabulary 1 (6)

In this post, I plan on increasing your lick vocabulary.  A lick in improvisation is a short series of notes that creates a cool musical pattern or phrase. You can never learn enough licks.  I want to add a few licks to your vocabulary so you can demonstrate the licks in some backing tracks or songs.  I will feature a few of my favorite that I created myself, then feature a few famous licks.

Every guitarists has their own style. Some famous musicians use licks over and over again during sets. Some musicians that repeat licks in solos are Hendrix, SRV and Clapton, which are arguably the three greatest guitarists ever.


This first lick I made up and use it all the time during improvisation sessions.

e-----9------------------------------| Tab for 
B----9-12b-12-9----------------------| first improvisation
G-11b-----------11-9----9----9-------| lick
D--------------------11-9-11---9-11--|
A------------------------------------|
E------------------------------------|

I played this in the Key of E so it is relative to the 3rd form of the major scale.  See my post on major scales to learn more.


I often use this second lick to transition from one form to another very clean and smooth.  It starts in the first form and moves its way to the third form.  This lick is also being played in the Key of E

e-------------------------9-11b12--9----9------| Tab for
B--4-5-4-5s7-5-7s9-7-9s12------------12--12-9--| second
G----------------------------------------------| improvisation
D----------------------------------------------| lick
A----------------------------------------------|
E----------------------------------------------|

This last lick I am going to show you is also great for transitioning.  It will move you from form 2 to form 3. If you can’t tell by now, I live in form three! 🙂

e------------------------------------------| Tab for
B----------------------12----10p9----------| third
G--------------------------9-------11p9--9-| improvisation
D-----------------9-11-------------------9-| lick
A------7---7-9s11--------------------------|
E--7-9---9---------------------------------|

A big shocker that this is also played in the Key of E.  I’m making it consistent for you.


YouTube is also a great source of information with a bunch of eager guitarists putting out free lessons with new licks.  I created a small video playlist featuring a few videos of other guitarists and their licks.

I hope my tip will help improve your playing and if you want more tricks and tips you can SUBSCRIBE in the upper-right hand corner.

Leave comment below if you have any questions or requests of tutorials, riffs, or solos.

– Josh Yager

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