Back when I was learning guitar most people learned songs by ear. Perhaps if you got stuck on something you would ask a mate who was better than you, maybe sneak a look at the sheet music in the local store or get a lesson from a teacher, but mostly learning songs was done on your own, with the tape player. When I started it was vinyl records, a real pain to transcribe from. I still have my copy of the Rolling Stones LP Rolled Gold which has been ruined by me dropping the needle on and off trying to steak licks! But 'kids these days', with tabs and all these video lessons The ability to work out songs by ear.
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The main focus here in terms of vocabulary is classic rock, which we're going to define for the purposes of this study as pre-Van Halen, so you'll find no eight-finger tapping, no three-octave sweep picked arpeggios and no 32nd-note legato monster licks. What you will find, however, is a choice selection of medium-tempo classic rock phrases that are stylistically diverse, melodically flexible, and display a wide range of articulation and dynamic devices. They are all also completely useable to guitarists of many levels and in a variety of settings. It's arguable that it's this mid-tempo range phrasing that really establishes the character of a rock guitarist. When the tempo gets cranked up there are generally less workable options. You'll often find the same fingerings and melodic pathways being adopted by a large number of players, but it's the melodic phrasing and note selection that really allows their personality to shine through.
50 rock guitar licks you need to know
For those willing to pay their dues and play the blues, these licks are a rite of passage and a continuous source of inspiration. They are the foundation on which a solid house of blues is built. Presented here for your edification are 12 classic blues phrases, each with a certified pedigree.
They can provide a safe "fall back" option when you're playing on the spot during an improvised solo, or when you simply need to fill out a solo with some tried and tested phrases. The problem is, most guitarists don't know how to learn guitar licks in a truly productive way. That means being able to apply the lick in your own music, in a variety of situations and connect the lick seamlessly to the rest of your solo, wherever you are on the fretboard. So it's about a lot more than simply putting together a cool sequence of notes or transcribing the chops of your favourite guitarist or some guy in a YouTube video.