ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Performing Arts

Five Blues Guitar Licks All Guitarists Should Know

Updated on May 3, 2010

I'm a firm believer that a good guitarist should have a large vocabulary of guitar licks up their sleeves. Jazz guitar giant Pat Metheny once said that only 30% of his improvisation is improvised, the rest are licks that he had worked out previously.

In my opinion, the blues is the best place to start practising guitar soloing, so developing an arsenal of blues licks is essential. Therefore, I would like to share with you, five blues guitar licks that I think all guitarists should know.

The Minor Pentatonic Scale

All of the following licks are in the key of A and can be played over an A blues chord progression or a static A7 chord. The scale used is the A minor pentatonic scale, as shown below.

Blues lick 1
Blues lick 1

Blues Guitar Lick 1

The minor pentatonic scale is the most basic scale which can be used to play the blues. The following guitar lick is a must-know for all blues guitarists which incorporates a health dose of bending.

Blues lick 2
Blues lick 2

Blues Guitar Lick 2

The second lick is tricky because only one note is played per string. But don't worry, you will nail it in no time. The good thing about this lick is that it's also one of the less cliched licks that guitarists play.

Blues lick 3
Blues lick 3

Blues Guitar Lick 3

This is one the more familiar sounding licks which is nevertheless useful to use when you're playing the blues. This lick can be heard in Led Zeppelin's song, Black Dog.

Blues lick 4
Blues lick 4

Blues Guitar Lick 4

At certain times in a blues guitar solo, you may want to break out into a blues run, which is essentially a fast-paced lick that runs either up or down the pentatonic scale. The speed at which this is played makes this tricky but once again with good practice this should be easy in no time. Be careful not to abuse blues runs - whilst it sounds impressive when used sparsely, overusing can make the guitar solo boring!

Blues Guitar Lick 5

Bending and releasing the 3rd note by a half-step of the minor pentatonics scale can give you a very sexy blues sound as the following blues lick demonstrates. The same note can also be bent to a whole-step too - the key is to experiment with the scale and develop your own variations of these licks.

For more free blues guitar licks and guitar lessons, visit my frequently-updated blog at http://www.shadowguitarist.co.uk.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

    • blues lessons profile image

      blues lessons 7 years ago

      Blues guitar has so many different sounds. Blues guitar has many many different styles. There's a huge number of ways to pick the blues. Even though I'm fascinated by the old acoustic guys, many of the more modern 'icons', such as Buddy Guy just blow me away. Genius is genius, no matter when the music was made. For me, it seems that it all came from the roots, that's why I keep keep going back to that music. You can detect the sounds of Broonzy and others in all present day rock. Additionally, ragtime guitar can be heard in some jazz. Students learning the guitar would be advised to begin from way back and make their way forward until they find their way.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)