5 Easy Blues and Rock Licks

5 Easy Blues and Rock Licks

Once you learn some scale shapes, you then need to figure out what to do with them. This is where learning licks and patterns becomes useful.

In this lesson you’re going to learn 5 simple guitar licks that can be used in a rock or blues context and they all use notes from the Minor Pentatonic scale. The licks can be used as a great starting point for building your own ideas off the back of.

All the licks are in the key of A Minor.

Lick One

Lick One

This first lick is based in the first Minor Pentatonic shape. It’s a great blues and rock style lick that you’d expect to see from players like Angus Young or Chuck Berry.

The core of the lick is a bend on the G followed by double stops on the B and E string.

On the second repeat, the lick ends with a double stop bend at the 7th fret of the G and B strings.

Lick Two

Lick Two

This lick is also in the first shape of the scale and it’s a series of ascending triplets. There is a pattern between every pair of strings.

The pattern is a pull off and picked note on one string, before alternating between 2 strings for the second triplet.

If you want, you can pick every note instead of using pull offs.

At the end of the climb add a full step bend on the B string.

Lick Three

Lick Three

This simple, repeated lick is great as a starting point for developing other licks. It’s a simple, 4 note phrase in the first shape of the Minor Pentatonic. You’ll notice on the 4th repeat there is a string bend, but the nature of this lick means you can easily change the ending to something else as you develop the idea.

Lick Four

Lick Four

This bluesy lick sits in the second shape of the scale and makes for the perfect opening lick to any blues based guitar solo.

It’s based around some full step bends, but you’ll notice on the 8th fret there are some ¼ step bends. As a guitars fretboard is laid out in semi-tones you can’t visualise this as a fret distance, it’s more of a sound thing. It’s just a slight movement on the note, like a vocal fluctuation.

Lick Five

Lick Five

This final lick is based in the fourth shape of the Minor Pentatonic and is a soaring, bending lick.

The opening phrase is a bend on the B string at the 15th fret, followed by the 15th fret on the E fretted.

The trick with this is to bend with your third finger, with the support of the first and second, and keep your little finger free for the high E notes.

It’s ok for the notes to bleed into each other a little. As you climb to the bend peak, you’ll hear a little clash of the pitches, but once you hit the peak it will resolve. This is one thing that makes this like feel quite raw and aggressive.

About The Author

Leigh Fuge is a professional guitar player from Swansea in South Wales that has written and created content for many high-profile guitar brands and publications such as PMT, RSL Rockschool, Trinity College London, Guitar.com and more.

He works with mgrmusic.com to provide high quality guitar content for guitar players of all abilities from around the country. To date, mgrmusic.com has successfully generated over 32,000 student enquiries for their network of music teachers around the country. Find a local teacher in your area today.

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