3 Simple Jazz Guitar Licks You Can Quickly Master

3 Jazz LicksBeginners and seasoned players alike love to expand their knowledge. Not only that, but there is something deep inside each and every one of us that begs for us to showcase our hard earned talents.

If you find yourself stuck in a rut when trying to create your own jazz licks, that’s fine; we’re here to help you showcase your skills and impress your friends, jam buddies and family members.

First off, before approaching even the easiest lick it is important that you have a good sense of rhythm. Rhythm is the foundation of all music, and if you can’t keep a steady beat then you should work on this.

Either buy yourself a metronome or use an online metronome. Not only will these tools help you to improve your rhythm, but they will help you learn faster as well. When you begin a pattern off with a steady pace it is much easier for muscle memory to take its course and ingrain the techniques into your body. This means you will be more proficient and your fingers will memorize the pattern much more quickly.

If you have a steady sense of rhythm, then it’s time to learn some jazz guitar licks and pick up some jazz guitar improvisation skills.

Example 1:

Our first lick is a very basic jazz guitar lick. Although it is basic, it is easily expanded upon, and when played quickly can sound quite impressive.

jazz guitar licks

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Be sure to utilize picking control when playing this lick; you don’t want your lick to turn to slop because of poor attention to picking. Use a metronome to practice the triplets at a slow tempo as they can be tricky. Note that this lick has a dissonant feel; this is very typical of jazz and part of the reason it is so appealing. Jazz licks beg to be resolved, and as always I have left the licks open for your to expand upon.

Example 2:

This next example is for an intermediate level jazz guitarist. If you had no trouble with the first lick, this lick should prove a bit more challenging and, when learned, rewarding.

jazz licks

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

This lick as a basic Major seventh arpeggio which I have added notes to. This not only increases the licks difficulty, but also adds a bit more flare and flavor to it. It is highly suggested that you sweep the lick, as alternate picking all of the notes, unless you are proficient, will make the lick sound broken and chunky.

Economy picking is another acceptable technique for this lick, as some guitarists find it difficult to sweep when performing extra added notes. There are also several techniques that can be used when playing this lick. Legato can be used for the extra notes and tapping for the high D, or you can slide the notes around; it is left open to give you choice and to allow you to find which way is most comfortable for you.

Example 3:

This is our last jazz guitar lick. This lick may take a bit of time so be patient and approach it slowly. It may not seem as difficult as the above lick, but it can be a bit tricky do to the chromatics involved.

jazz licks on guitar

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

Many guitarists do not properly train all four fingers, which makes licks like these seem daunting.

Don’t let this be you!

As long as you train all four fingers evenly well, you should be able to blaze through all of these licks. If you haven’t trained all four digits, then use this lick to help.

Now get ready to impress you buddies!

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