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Play Acoustic Guitar 6: Lick Lexicon

Supercharge your acoustic guitar licks with this Acoustic Learning Path core course.
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Overview

Welcome to Play Acoustic Guitar 6: Lick Lexicon for intermediate to late intermediate students of acoustic guitar. This Acoustic Learning Path core course is presented by 2 top TrueFire educators: David Hamburger and Joe Dalton. The Lick Lexicon curriculum is comprised of select acoustic guitar lessons from the educators' existing TrueFire course libraries.

Music is a language. In the same way that words and sentences are connected to form stories, musical licks and phrases are connected to form solos. And just like any language, the more robust your musical vocabulary is, the more interesting and diverse your solos will be. The video guitar lessons in this core course will equip you with an essential vocabulary of licks along with the technical skills required to take your soloing skills to the next level.

Play Acoustic Guitar 6: Lick Lexicon is organized into 3 sections. In the first section, David Hamburger shows you how to assemble a collection of blues licks into full fingerstyle blues performances. Joe Dalton shares 14 more acoustic blues licks in the second section. In Section 3, David Hamburger returns to guide you through 3 full length fingerstyle blues études.

When you've completed the lessons here in Lick Lexicon, you'll find more lessons focused on building your vocabulary in Lick Vocabulary, also a Play Acoustic Guitar 6 core course.

The educators demonstrate all of the key examples over jam tracks (where and when applicable) to simulate a real-world application, in a musical context. Key examples are also tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. Take as much time as you need to work through each video guitar lesson before moving on to the next lesson. If you want to dig deeper or wider into any of the topics covered in this core course, check out the rest of the courses in the Acoustic Learning Path where you'll find more examples, techniques and insight from top TrueFire educators. Grab your guitar and let's get started!

About

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Play Acoustic Guitar 6: Lick Lexicon - Introduction

01: Play Acoustic Guitar 6: Lick Lexicon - Introduction

Welcome to Play Acoustic Guitar 6: Lick Lexicon for intermediate to late Intermediate students of Acoustic guitar. This Acoustic Learning Path core course is presented by 2 top TrueFire educators: David Hamburger and Joe Dalton.

2 min
Blues Construction Kit - SECTION 1: Overview

02: Blues Construction Kit - SECTION 1: Overview

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fingerstyle blues tunes are performed in the keys of E and A, which is why all of the examples in this section are focused on those two keys. David Hamburger shows you how assemble a collection of E licks, A licks, D licks and turnarounds into full fingerstyle blues performances.

1 min
Train Whistle (& Then Some) - E Lick 4

03: Train Whistle (& Then Some) - E Lick 4

Train Whistle (& Then Some) - E Lick 4 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. You gotta love the train whistle lick.

4 min
10th Story Walkup - E Lick 6

04: 10th Story Walkup - E Lick 6

10th Story Walkup - E Lick 6 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. Tenths, or an octave plus a third, are closely related to sixths.

4 min
Syncopated Double Stop 7ths - E Lick 8

05: Syncopated Double Stop 7ths - E Lick 8

Syncopated Double Stop 7ths - E Lick 8 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. More syncopation!

4 min
Swingin' with John - E Lick 10

06: Swingin' with John - E Lick 10

Swingin' with John - E Lick 10 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. John Hurt, that is - Mississippi John Hurt.

2 min
Travis Train Whistle - E Lick 11

07: Travis Train Whistle - E Lick 11

Travis Train Whistle - E Lick 11 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. As in Merle Travis, singer, songwriter and fingerpicker extraordinaire, composer of both "Sixteen Tons" and "Cannonball Rag".

3 min
Lightnin's Minor Pentatonic - A Lick 2

08: Lightnin's Minor Pentatonic - A Lick 2

Lightnin's Minor Pentatonic - A Lick 2 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. This Lightnin' Hopkins-esque move has us based in open position but sliding up to get the fifth and flat seventh on the top two strings.

3 min
Buddy Guy Hammer On - A Lick 4

09: Buddy Guy Hammer On - A Lick 4

Buddy Guy Hammer On - A Lick 4 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. We start with the 9th-fret "Robert Johnson chord" in measure one, then get into some blues-scale hammerons and pulloffs in measure two.

3 min
Magic Sam - A Lick 6

10: Magic Sam - A Lick 6

Magic Sam - A Lick 6 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. I saw Pete Anderson play recently and asked him afterwards about how much playing he was doing with his bare fingers - with no pick at all, that is.

2 min
High Root Boogie - A Lick 9

11: High Root Boogie - A Lick 9

High Root Boogie - A Lick 9 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. This lick is, rhythmically, in a similar vein as A7 Boogie, and this kind of chord shape, where you reach up on the high string to grab a high root.

2 min
Double Stops Up and Back - A Lick 12

12: Double Stops Up and Back - A Lick 12

Double Stops Up and Back - A Lick 12 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. With this lick we extend the reach of our double stops up to the A7 voicing on beat two of measure three.

2 min
Hubert! - B Lick 1

13: Hubert! - B Lick 1

Hubert! - B Lick 1 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. As in Hubert Sumlin, longtime guitarist for Chicago blues icon Howlin' Wolf.

4 min
bVI Stop Time - B Lick 3

14: bVI Stop Time - B Lick 3

bVI Stop Time - B Lick 3 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. Me personally, I love the sound of a bVI chord on the turnaround in this case, the C9 chord we're playing on the third beat of the first measure of this turnaround.

3 min
The Sliding C7 Shape - D Lick 3

15: The Sliding C7 Shape - D Lick 3

The Sliding C7 Shape - D Lick 3 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. The syncopated approach to this D7 voicing comes from a lick I remember watching Roy Book Binder do when we were both teaching at the National Guitar Workshop back in the 1990s.

3 min
Mississippi Stop Time - D Lick 6

16: Mississippi Stop Time - D Lick 6

Mississippi Stop Time - D Lick 6 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. There was one summer in high school when I listened to Stefan Grossman and John Renbourn's Under the Volcano LP every morning before leaving for work.

2 min
Turnaround in 6ths - E Turnaround 1

17: Turnaround in 6ths - E Turnaround 1

Turnaround in 6ths - E Turnaround 1 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. I think of this as part of the family of "E7 shape" turnarounds, because the shape you play on the second beat of the first measure looks like an open E7 shape slid up three frets.

3 min
Alt Thumb I VI II V - E Turnaround 4

18: Alt Thumb I VI II V - E Turnaround 4

Alt Thumb I VI II V - E Turnaround 4 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. The title says it all. In the second measure, we use a bit of rationalizing to keep the alternating bass going beneath the descending blues scale melody.

3 min
Son House, Somewhat - A Turnaround 2

19: Son House, Somewhat - A Turnaround 2

Son House, Somewhat - A Turnaround 2 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. Like John Hurt and Skip James, Eddie James "Son" House, Jr. lived long enough to be rediscovered in the 1960s and brought onto the folk circuit.

2 min
Bobby Green - A Turnaround 1

20: Bobby Green - A Turnaround 1

Bobby Green - A Turnaround 1 is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Fingerstyle Blues Factory. Robert Johnson meets Freddie Green!

2 min
Blues Licks - SECTION 2: Overview

21: Blues Licks - SECTION 2: Overview

You can never have too many acoustic blues licks in your vocabulary and Joe Dalton has a vast collection of them to share with you here in this second section. Call on these at the next jam and you'll find you can twist and turn them anyway you like over any number of blues grooves.

1 min
The Big B - Lick #11

22: The Big B - Lick #11

The Big B - Lick #11 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. Turnarounds help define the coming chorus.

4 min
Two Lines - Lick #12

23: Two Lines - Lick #12

Two Lines - Lick #12 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. This turnaround lick features an ascending bass line and a melody over the top being played simultaneously.

3 min
One Step Further - Lick #15

24: One Step Further - Lick #15

One Step Further - Lick #15 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. This turnaround lick illustrates how to cross over from the end of one chorus into the next chorus.

3 min
Stop Here - Lick #19

25: Stop Here - Lick #19

Stop Here - Lick #19 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. Here's another bonus set of licks. Some variations to lick 18 are listed here.

3 min
Truck Stop - Lick #20

26: Truck Stop - Lick #20

Truck Stop - Lick #20 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. In this example, you can see how the simple addition of a pull-off can change the entire feel of the lick.

4 min
Country Five - Lick #25

27: Country Five - Lick #25

Country Five - Lick #25 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. In Country Five, I'm using the major pentatonic scale.

2 min
Feelin the Groove - Lick #26

28: Feelin the Groove - Lick #26

Feelin the Groove - Lick #26 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. This lick begins with one of the basic grooves I used in TrueFire's Acoustic Blues Handbook.

2 min
Stinger - Lick #28

29: Stinger - Lick #28

Stinger - Lick #28 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. This blues lick has a ragtime flavor to it. Notice how the ascending pick up notes are complemented by the descending 6th chords and how they act as the answer to the ascending melody.

3 min
Rockin Chair Blues - Lick #30

30: Rockin Chair Blues - Lick #30

Rockin Chair Blues - Lick #30 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. In my opinion, one of the most interesting things about this chorus is the use of dissonance.

3 min
Playing Through - Lick #31

31: Playing Through - Lick #31

Playing Through - Lick #31 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. This is a complete chorus showing off single note solo licks answered by fills harmonized in 6ths.

4 min
2 for the Price of 1 - Lick #33

32: 2 for the Price of 1 - Lick #33

2 for the Price of 1 - Lick #33 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. This 12 bar chorus has a straight feel, a low E thumping out the bass, double stops, and it uses the smear from lick 32.

3 min
Low Down D - Lick #35

33: Low Down D - Lick #35

Low Down D - Lick #35 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. I keep my pinky on the 2nd string third fret for the entire lick.

2 min
Quittin' Time - Lick #47

34: Quittin' Time - Lick #47

Quittin' Time - Lick #47 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. Quittin' Time is a descending ending lick you might use on an up tempo song. I use double stops often.

2 min
Puddin' & Pie - Lick #50

35: Puddin' & Pie - Lick #50

Puddin' & Pie - Lick #50 is a video guitar lesson presented by Joe Dalton and is sourced from 50 Acoustic Blues Licks You MUST Know. Well here it is, putting it all together. In the first chorus, I use some of the licks that set up the groove.

4 min
Performance Studies - SECTION 3: Overview

36: Performance Studies - SECTION 3: Overview

David Hamburger guides you through 3 full length fingerstyle blues performance studies here in Section 3. David will first perform the piece in its entirety and then break it down for you note-for-note, technique-by-technique.

1 min
The Vamp - Overview

37: The Vamp - Overview

The Vamp - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Essentials: Fingerstyle Blues. For our first tune, we're going to play a one-chord vamp in E.

2 min
The Vamp - Performance

38: The Vamp - Performance

The Vamp - Performance is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Essentials: Fingerstyle Blues. Each two-bar phrase in The Vamp is basically a one-bar minor pentatonic lick over a steady bass followed by a one-bar vamp figure.

1 min
The Vamp - Breakdown

39: The Vamp - Breakdown

The Vamp - Breakdown is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Essentials: Fingerstyle Blues. Hammerons, pulloffs, slides and bends are often referred to collectively as articulations.

9 min
Prospect Shuffle - Overview

40: Prospect Shuffle - Overview

Prospect Shuffle - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Essentials: Fingerstyle Blues. In this tune we'll take the steady-bass coordination, various articulations and call-and-response approach and put them through the paces on a full 24-bar blues chord progression.

1 min
Prospect Shuffle - Performance

41: Prospect Shuffle - Performance

Prospect Shuffle - Performance is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Essentials: Fingerstyle Blues. Pickup phrases, or phrases that lead into the first beat of a new measure or section, are an essential aspect of the blues vocabulary.

1 min
Prospect Shuffle - Breakdown

42: Prospect Shuffle - Breakdown

Prospect Shuffle - Breakdown is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Essentials: Fingerstyle Blues. We interrupt the steady bass for two measures in this tune, in measures 7-8, just before going from the I to the IV chord.

9 min
Slow Fuse - Overview

43: Slow Fuse - Overview

Slow Fuse - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Essentials: Fingerstyle Blues. I love how the call-and-response approach allows you to reference more of an ensemble sound.

1 min
Slow Fuse - Performance

44: Slow Fuse - Performance

Slow Fuse - Performance is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Essentials: Fingerstyle Blues. This kind of call and response between single-note licks and a more double-stop-based vamp is something I've been exploring a lot in my own playing lately.

1 min
Slow Fuse - Breakdown

45: Slow Fuse - Breakdown

Slow Fuse - Breakdown is a video guitar lesson presented by David Hamburger and is sourced from Essentials: Fingerstyle Blues. There are two more great things about playing in this kind of call-and-response vein.

9 min
Play Acoustic Guitar 6: Lick Lexicon - Conclusion

46: Play Acoustic Guitar 6: Lick Lexicon - Conclusion

Congratulations on completing this core course in your learning path! If you want to dig deeper or wider into the topics covered in this course, check out the recommended supplementary courses where you'll find more examples, techniques and insight from top TrueFire educators.

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