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Play Blues Guitar 5: Lick Lexicon

Supercharge your blues guitar licks with this Blues Learning Path core course.
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Overview

Welcome to Play Blues Guitar 5: Lick Lexicon for intermediate to late intermediate students of blues guitar. This Blues Learning Path core course is presented by 4 top TrueFire educators: Jeff McErlain, Corey Congilio, Tom Wolfe and Mike Zito. The Lick Lexicon curriculum is comprised of select blues 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 Blues Guitar 5: Lick Lexicon is organized into 2 sections. In the first section, you'll work on taking a series of licks and actually building a solo with them. Section 2 is full of Spicy Licks—and learning these will help you keep your playing fresh and interesting.

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 Blues Guitar 5 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 Blues Learning Path where you'll find more examples, techniques and insight from top TrueFire educators. Grab your guitar and let's get started!

About

Learn how to play guitar with free online guitar lessons and interactive video guitar courses at TrueFire, the world's most comprehensive library of guitar video lessons.
Play Blues Guitar 5: Lick Lexicon - Introduction

01: Play Blues Guitar 5: Lick Lexicon - Introduction

Welcome to Play Blues Guitar 5: Lick Lexicon for intermediate to late Intermediate students of blues guitar. This Blues Learning Path core course is presented by 4 top TrueFire educators: Jeff McErlain, Corey Congilio, Tom Wolfe and Mike Zito.

2 min
Building a Solo - SECTION 1: Overview

02: Building a Solo - SECTION 1: Overview

This section is not just about learning licks, but rather learning where they go in the song! That way you will be able to build solos that go with the chord changes.

1 min
Let's Start Here - I Chord: Lick #1

03: Let's Start Here - I Chord: Lick #1

Let's Start Here - I Chord: Lick #1 is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. One of the concepts I teach my beginning blues improvising students is to think root. Seek out the roots and try to move this (and all forthcoming licks) to all positions of the pentatonic scale.

4 min
Double Stompin' - I Chord: Lick #4

04: Double Stompin' - I Chord: Lick #4

Double Stompin' - I Chord: Lick #4 is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. Let's play some licks over a straight blues feel. Think good ole fashioned rock n' roll for these examples.

3 min
Left Alone - I Chord: Lick #9

05: Left Alone - I Chord: Lick #9

Left Alone - I Chord: Lick #9 is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. This will sound great over any chord however we're going to start on the I chord here. This lick is a great way to start a slow blues.

4 min
2 to 1 - IV Chord: Lick #2

06: 2 to 1 - IV Chord: Lick #2

2 to 1 - IV Chord: Lick #2 is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. We're venturing into pentatonic pattern 2 here. We start in pattern 2 and end back at home base in pattern 1. Notice how we telegraph the root in the A7 bar.

3 min
Descend Me - IV Chord: Lick #5

07: Descend Me - IV Chord: Lick #5

Descend Me - IV Chord: Lick #5 is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. This slight descending bend always sounds awesome to me. There are some great licks hiding on the first three strings and our goal will be to exploit this area of the neck.

5 min
Cross Your T's - IV Chord: Lick #9

08: Cross Your T's - IV Chord: Lick #9

Cross Your T's - IV Chord: Lick #9 is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. T-Bone Walker is no joke. He had a lot to say and I got this idea from him. This IV chord lick does the trick when it comes to saying something different and unexpected.

4 min
Stops On Five - V Chord: Lick #2

09: Stops On Five - V Chord: Lick #2

Stops On Five - V Chord: Lick #2 is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. I'm including some very traditional turnaround ideas in this course. You should know them if you're going to be playing the blues! Your audience will dig these. Your listener loves to be spoon fed harmonic goodness.

5 min
Funky in 4 - V Chord: Lick #5

10: Funky in 4 - V Chord: Lick #5

Funky in 4 - V Chord: Lick #5 is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. I'm trying not to neglect any patterns in the pentatonic scale so, here we are again in pattern 4. We're playing a familiar double stop and introducing some grace notes in the final two bars.

3 min
Harken Back - V Chord: Lick #9

11: Harken Back - V Chord: Lick #9

Harken Back - V Chord: Lick #9 is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. This lick does harken back to what my hero SRV would play. This is actually more of a turnaround lick but to me the turnaround and V chord go hand in hand. You'll get plenty of use out of this one.

4 min
Solo #1 - Performance

12: Solo #1 - Performance

Solo #1 - Performance is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. This first shuffle solo starts out with the I chord lick we call Signature Spot. I wanted to jump in headfirst with these solos so I thought why not go for broke here!

1 min
Solo #1 - Summary

13: Solo #1 - Summary

Solo #1 - Summary is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. Lick for I chord is Signature Spot. Lick for IV Is Effective. Lick for V chord is Classic Chromatic. I explain how these licks work well together over the respective chord changes.

2 min
Sweet Intro - Intro Lick #1

14: Sweet Intro - Intro Lick #1

Sweet Intro - Intro Lick #1 is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. Here is a classic blues intro borrowed from Matt Guitar Murphy from his intro to the Robert Johnson classic "Sweet Home Chicago". I got this from one of my favorite movies of all time, "The Blues Brothers."

4 min
My Name is Earl - Intro Lick #4

15: My Name is Earl - Intro Lick #4

My Name is Earl - Intro Lick #4 is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. I love this intro lick. I first heard this lick in Earl Hooker's tune "My Man". This one is a little tricky to play and can be played out of time as an intro to just about any blues tune.

2 min
Magic Man - I7 Chord: Lick #2

16: Magic Man - I7 Chord: Lick #2

Magic Man - I7 Chord: Lick #2 is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. Magic Man is a very cool rhythmic chord pattern to play on the I7 chord of a blues. On this particular one I am using what is called the "quick IV7" chord.

4 min
Sweet Notes - I7 Chord: Lick #6

17: Sweet Notes - I7 Chord: Lick #6

Sweet Notes - I7 Chord: Lick #6 is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. The composite blues scale is a mixture of the major and minor blues scales. I certainly don't think BB and others ever used that name for the scale but they use it all the time.

4 min
Magic Man - IV7 Chord: Lick #2

18: Magic Man - IV7 Chord: Lick #2

Magic Man - IV7 Chord: Lick #2 is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. Magic Man is one of my favorite Magic Sam style licks and it is deceivingly difficult to play.

3 min
IV BB - IV7 Chord: Lick #5

19: IV BB - IV7 Chord: Lick #5

IV BB - IV7 Chord: Lick #5 is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. Continuing using the idea of outlining the chord, this lick is quite common and exceptionally useful.

3 min
Magic V - V7 Chord: Lick #1

20: Magic V - V7 Chord: Lick #1

Magic V - V7 Chord: Lick #1 is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. This is one of my favorite licks to play on a V IV I turnaround in the blues. It's a classic, and something you hear magic Sam play on his version of Sweet Home Chicago.

3 min
V To The B - V7 Chord: Lick #4

21: V To The B - V7 Chord: Lick #4

V To The B - V7 Chord: Lick #4 is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. I particularly like this lick as it really outlines the V7-IV7-I7 turnaround by simply sounding chord tones.

3 min
High TA - Turnaround #2

22: High TA - Turnaround #2

High TA - Turnaround #2 is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. Here's a standard turnaround but I'm playing it up higher on the neck which is a little uncommon. Please take a look at the fingering in the video.

3 min
Shuffle Up #1 - Performance

23: Shuffle Up #1 - Performance

Shuffle Up #1 - Performance is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. Shuffle Up #1 uses "Feeling Good", "IV BB" and "One of BB's" for a truly classic Chicago blues solo. I talk a lot about BB King in this course, for good reason, he truly is the King Of The Blues.

0 min
Shuffle Up #1 - Breakdown

24: Shuffle Up #1 - Breakdown

Shuffle Up #1 - Breakdown is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. On this tune, and quite a bit of Chicago blues, I am using the major pentatonic scale primarily to get that brighter sound. This sound is also prevalent in British blues players like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Peter Green.

3 min
Spicy Licks - SECTION 2: Overview

25: Spicy Licks - SECTION 2: Overview

In this section you will work on adding ornamentation to your licks, adding the b5, and turning up the speed on a few licks. You should start to see your pallate of licks expand after you get these under your fingers.

1 min
Bueno Massa - Lick #2

26: Bueno Massa - Lick #2

Bueno Massa - Lick #2 is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. Joe Bonamassa has been carrying the blues torch since his mid teens. Bonamassa continues to put out albums that stretch sonic boundries as well as pay homage to the masters.

5 min
Palm Some Moore - Lick #3

27: Palm Some Moore - Lick #3

Palm Some Moore - Lick #3 is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. When Gary Moore's "Still Got The Blues" album was released in 1991, blues guitar playing as we knew it changed forever.

5 min
Your Friend b5 - Lick #11

28: Your Friend b5 - Lick #11

Your Friend b5 - Lick #11 is a video guitar lesson presented by Corey Congilio. This is another Scott Henderson lick. This is a cool little flat 5 inspired fill that he plays in the song Meter Maid. He plays this lick as a fill in between Thelma Houston's vocal.

4 min
Ornamentation Blues Lick - Lick 3

29: Ornamentation Blues Lick - Lick 3

Ornamentation Blues Lick - Lick 3 is a video guitar lesson presented by Tom Wolfe. Not only are melody and rhythm important in the development of a good blues improvisation, but in jazz blues, the use of ornamentations is an integral part of the vocabulary.

3 min
Blue Tones Resolution - Lick 8

30: Blue Tones Resolution - Lick 8

Blue Tones Resolution - Lick 8 is a video guitar lesson presented by Tom Wolfe. This phrase demonstrates a core component of jazz improvisation - the resolution to a primary chord tone or color tone, that it is commonly referred to.

3 min
Minor Blues - Lick 13

31: Minor Blues - Lick 13

Minor Blues - Lick 13 is a video guitar lesson presented by Tom Wolfe. Up to this point, we have focused on major blues and the application of the major 3rd and blues scale. The minor blues also offers a great harmonic background for improvisation.

4 min
Just A Nice Blues Lick - Lick 17

32: Just A Nice Blues Lick - Lick 17

Just A Nice Blues Lick - Lick 17 is a video guitar lesson presented by Tom Wolfe. This phrase is set to be played over the last four bars of the blues. It is laid back and very simple in concept.

4 min
If Six Were Nine - Lick 22

33: If Six Were Nine - Lick 22

If Six Were Nine - Lick 22 is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. Here is a great little blues ending using a 6/9 chord at the end. The first part of the lick is a little tricky with the quick bends, make sure you pay close attention to your muting.

4 min
Turning Around - Lick 49

34: Turning Around - Lick 49

Turning Around - Lick 49 is a video guitar lesson presented by Jeff McErlain. This lick helps navigate a common turnaround fairly easily by once again outlining key notes to the chords being played. In the lingo, "playing on the changes."

4 min
Queen of Spades - Lick 2

35: Queen of Spades - Lick 2

Queen of Spades - Lick 2 is a video guitar lesson presented by Mike Zito. Another Classic Robert Johnson lick and turnaround from the song "Little Queen of Spades."

4 min
Travelin' Blues - Lick 9

36: Travelin' Blues - Lick 9

Travelin' Blues - Lick 9 is a video guitar lesson presented by Mike Zito. This is my take on some T- Bone Walker picking and licks. By changing the picking placement, we can get a lot of different tones and vibe. Picking at the bridge really gives a "sax" like sound to the guitar.

6 min
Sweet Little Angel - Lick 13

37: Sweet Little Angel - Lick 13

Sweet Little Angel - Lick 13 is a video guitar lesson presented by Mike Zito. I LOVE BB KING! This is my take on a classic BB King lick from the tune "Sweet Little Angel." This is all about feel, style and taking your time.

4 min
Thrilling Runs - Lick 15

38: Thrilling Runs - Lick 15

Thrilling Runs - Lick 15 is a video guitar lesson presented by Mike Zito. Obviously based on "The Thrill is Gone," this is a very thematic lick. This lick can be played over all of the changes to create some tension and melody.

5 min
Play Blues Guitar 5: Lick Lexicon - Conclusion

39: Play Blues Guitar 5: Lick Lexicon - Conclusion

Congratulations on completing this core course in your learning path! When you're ready to advance your skills further, dive into the next core course in your TrueFire learning path. Practice smart. Play hard!

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