2 Easy Licks to Improve Your Guitar Phrasing

creating licksIf you want to improve your lead guitar phrasing, learning new licks is a great way to start. Licks can give you insights into different playing styles and allow you to pick up new techniques and patterns.

In this article, we’ll discuss some simple licks that will allow you to look at phrasing in a whole new way.

Before you jump into these licks, you should take some time to assess yourself as a player. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Every player has some of both.

The best players take their weaknesses and either compensate them with their strengths or make them their strengths. If you have trouble with timing, in particular, it is important that you work on it before trying to learn these licks.

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Learning licks with bad musical timing skills will only make it harder for you to take the learned techniques and apply them to musical circumstances. For instance, if you learn a new way to use sixteenth notes from these licks, but you aren’t good at timing your sixteenth notes, it won’t matter that you learned a new usage.

Keep this in mind; execution is more important than flamboyance. If you aren’t comfortable with your basic skills, then make yourself comfortable with them by practicing until you have a hang of the basics.

Note, all examples will be in 4/4 and will use basic note values, nothing crazy.

Now, on to the examples for easy licks to improve your phrasing:

Lick #1 – Developing Finger Movement:

easy licks to improve phrasing on guitar 1

Download the .gtp file for the lesson ( Right click and Save As… )

With this first example, we are simply taking a chromatic melody and creating a short guitar lick from it. Notice the slight changes in note lengths. This is what phrasing is all about; using different note lengths in different orders to achieve new and dynamic results.

Take your time learning this pattern. Allow your fingers to get used to the note placements. While they aren’t spread far apart, they will be a little confusing for players who aren’t used to playing chromatic patterns.

Use a metronome and allow yourself to get comfortable with the flow of the lick. Some players may find the quarter note, followed by three sixteenth notes a bit difficult at first. That’s okay; be patient.

Lick #2 – Easy Exercise For Fluid Movements

easy licks to improve phrasing on guitar 2

Download the .gtp file for the lesson ( Right click and Save As… )

Our second example is a bit easier than our first. It consists mostly of sixteenth notes, which makes it easier to get used to. Still, just like our first example, allow yourself to go slowly. Don’t rush to learn the lick; stay at a comfortable tempo until you feel you are ready to speed up.

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