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Bill Frisell Licks

Bill Frisell is a unique jazz guitar player due to his original technique and sound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

His guitar sound is unlike any other guitarist: he makes his guitar sound like something between a pedal steel guitar and a horn player thanks to the use of a volume pedal and guitar effects like delay and reverb.

Bill Frisell takes elements from a lot of different genres (rock, country, bebop, ...) and manages to blend these elements in a way of playing that's never been heard before. He's not afraid to play a folk chord in a jazz situation and doesn't rely on playing fast to make things interesting. Be sure to check him out if you didn't already!

 

Recommended listening : 'Have a Little Faith'

Bill Frisell Licks 1

The first lick looks at Bill sneaking in a b9 interval over the V7 chord (G7), before resolving this chord to the Imaj7 chord (Cmaj7) at the end of this phrase. Mixing both the natural 9 (A) and the b9 (Ab) into one bar over a V7 chord is something that Bill often brings to his lines.

 

Listen & Play

Bill Frisell Lick 1

Bill Frisell Licks 2

This V7-Imaj7 lick, uses three items that show up time and again in Bill Frisell’s playing:

  1. The first is the triplet rhythm used in bar one of the phrase.
  2. The b13 (Eb) over the G7 chord is a color that Bill likes to bring to his dominant-7th chord ideas.
  3. The last element of Bill’s playing in this lick is the use of double stops (two-note chords) as well as the b3 over the Maj7 chord (the blue note) in the last two-bars of the phrase.

 

Listen & Play

Bill Frisell Lick 2

Bill Frisell Licks 3

Here is a V7-Imaj7 lick in the key of G major that uses:

  • Triplet rhythms
  • Double stops
  • Quarter-note rhythms in the last two bars of the phrase, something that you can find often in Bill’s lines, especially at faster tempos. Mixing rhythms when soloing is an undervalued concept, but one that great players such as Bill Frisell use all the time in their lines and phrases.

 

Listen & Play

Bill Frisell Lick 3

Bill Frisell Licks 4

This phrase uses mixed rhythms to build interest, as well as 4th intervals to begin the line, and a large dose of chromatic notes. Though the lick is highly chromatic, it does target very specific chord tones, such as the 3rd of Cm7 (Eb) to start the second bar, which helps to resolve the tension put in place by the various chromatic notes in the lick.

 

Listen & Play

Bill Frisell Lick 4

Bill Frisell Licks 5

This lick looks at a string-skipping idea over a turnaround progression in the key of C Major. Skipping strings, and using large intervals, is something that Bill loves using in his solos, and it’s a great way to break up the step-wise motion of any scale-based line you are using in your improvisations.

 

Listen & Play

Bill Frisell Lick 5

 

Bill is a masterful player with a long and storied career. Digging into his lines and phrases will help you get that classic-sounding Frisell vibe into your solos in no time.

 

 


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