The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #151

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    Haha. Whole-tone LICK!

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #152

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    I've just dug this out from my “woodshed archives”...


    I suppose this was just some messing around over two chords (one chord, really), recorded on a looper, I did some time ago (in winter 2017 or so).


    A bit of everything in there,“phrase wise”; including quartal, pentatonic, blues, whole tone, diminished h-w, licks based on the chromatic scale, inside/outside (outside: sometimes on purpose other times unintentionally),etc. etc.


    Not sure how much of it came from “singing inside my head” and how much from clichés or mechanical fingermovement. Some “singing”, although, seeing this again and looking back, I guess I was mainly trying to throw in as much as I could, lick-wise!


    Maybe, out of almost 4 minutes of soloing, there might be, here and there, some licks, melodic cells/ideas, lines or whatever, that are usable,“developable” or reworkable...

    Last edited by frabarmus; 06-25-2023 at 08:21 AM. Reason: corrections

  4. #153

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    Great idea for a thread!

    Many nice ideas from everyone so far, and it's interesting to see others ways of thinking about licks.

    Seems like this thread has somewhat died already, but i thought i throw in a contribution of my own anyway.

    I like to think more in short ideas or concepts than licks, so here is one of my own ideas that i like using to create licks.


    The idea is quite simple: Play a chord tone then follow it with a fifth up from that chord tone.


  5. #154

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickWD View Post
    Seems like this thread has somewhat died already
    It used to be a very busy thread... seems to have died after my latest post, so I thought I must have killed it with my last post, haha!!

  6. #155

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    Keep it going! Just been out of town and away from a guitar...busy busy.

  7. #156

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    OK, I have been wanting to post some licks in this thread. I hope I'm not too late to the party.

    These two licks are examples of how you can embellish a simple arpeggio + blue note.

    They are both D minor ideas. The first lick uses chromatics passing notes. I think I got it from a Mimi Fox solo. The second one uses octaves and double stops. I think it's based on an Emily Remler idea. Everything else is just D minor arpeggio and b5.




  8. #157

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    Here's a nice one over the G7.

    Modular lick compendium-aaaa-jpg

    From this Martino vid at about 1.20.


  9. #158

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  10. #159

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    A lick I've been working on for a few days:



    This is from the first minute of a video by Jens Larsen, who I think is especially good at explaining how to come up with 'modular' lick ideas. This particular one involves a descending scale with a lower chord tone on the 1+, followed by an ascending arpeggio. I've rounded it off by adding an approach to a tone on the following chord. Here I play A7b9 to D-7 and G7 to C-7.

    Jens' original lesson

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRZgejJcmKc&t=4s


    A couple of years ago I would have watched this video and thought 'cool idea' and moved on. More recently I would watch with my guitar in hadn't and play along with each lick. Now I'm intending to spend a week or so on each of the five ideas in this video and see if I can get any of them to really sink into my playing.

  11. #160

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    Keep em coming, all. Im back at work after a summer off, and as I settle in I should have some free time returning in the next few weeks...I hope to contribute some more soon.

  12. #161

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    This is the one and only lick that, some 10 years ago, I've learned from a clip by guy with surname Hamburger (excellent player and demonstrator), never really used it, but at the time I gave it a try in couple of different contextes. Supposedly, the lick originate from Grant Green.


  13. #162

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    Using my latest guitar sound. A nice lick over a ii-V-I, played in a few keys.

    Modular lick compendium-lick05-march-6th-2024-png


  14. #163

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    No video, but I've been playing this lick in a few keys today and trying to incorporate it into my song playing.

    I like it a lot, I hope I can retain it.

    Modular lick compendium-lick-8th-march-2024-png

    Edit: I've heard that the best way to memorise and get these licks into your playing is by concentrating on one lick for a few weeks. Playing the lick in lots of keys and songs. I think, I'll give this method a try for a few weeks, using this particular lick.
    Last edited by GuyBoden; 03-09-2024 at 07:18 AM.

  15. #164

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    Oh, you people are doing it all it all wrong, good thing I'm here to show you the correct way!

    Like every aspiring music improvisor, I learned and practiced licks when I was first starting out. But my ultimate goal was always to be able to play what I hear in real time, and the only way to achieve that was by practicing it. So I'd take a musical motif or phrase that I'd thought up or heard, find the notes on my guitar and play them in different positions and keys (I had learned scales and basic harmony), and articulate them in various ways. Then I might play variations on the motif, make slight alterations in it, harmonize it in different ways, etc.

    My aim was not to memorize musical phrases, but rather as I said, to be able to instantly hear them and understand their character so that they could be the raw materials of improvisation.

    One other point is, people have only shared single line licks in this thread. To me, harmonized licks like my second example below are at least as important, e.g., I was smitten by the how guitarists such as Barney Kessell could improvise with chords.


    Here's an example of a phrase from my music laboratory.

    (1) C Maj. motif

    e|--10--8--------7--------------------------------|--------|
    B|---------8---------10-----------------------------|--------|
    G|------------9----------8------9-----7-----------|--------|
    D|---------------------------10-----9-----10------|---8----|
    A|----------------------------------------------10--|--------|
    E|----------------------------------------------------|--------|

    (2) Simply harmonized

    e|--10---8----------7---5-------------------------------------------|---------|
    B|--10------8-------8--------4-/-5--------/-3---------------------|---------|
    G|--------------9--------------4-/-5---4---/-3---5---3-\-2-------|---3----|
    D|--------------------------------------------------------3-\-----5--|---2----|
    A|---------------------------------------------------------------------|---3----|
    E|---------------------------------------------------------------------|---------|

  16. #165

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick-7 View Post
    Oh, you people are doing it all it all wrong, good thing I'm here to show you the correct way!

    Like every aspiring music improvisor, I learned and practiced licks when I was first starting out. But my ultimate goal was always to be able to play what I hear in real time, and the only way to achieve that was by practicing it. So I'd take a musical motif or phrase that I'd thought up or heard, find the notes on my guitar and play them in different positions and keys (I had learned scales and basic harmony), and articulate them in various ways. Then I might play variations on the motif, make slight alterations in it, harmonize it in different ways, etc.

    My aim was not to memorize musical phrases, but rather as I said, to be able to instantly hear them and understand their character so that they could be the raw materials of improvisation.
    I’m not really sure how this is all that different.

    Generally speaking I think improvisers have something to learn from sight readers.

    Great Sight readers are, of course, great sight readers, but they’ve also just put eyeballs on So. Much. Music.

    Same thing with improvisers, I think. They are creative and have wonderful ears, but they also just have played so much of the vocabulary and spent so much time assimilating it. So I’m not really sure what you’re saying here is anything different than what Jeff suggests from the general idea of “modular” licks.

  17. #166

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    I did not say anything about sight reading (??) I had been doing what I described for a while before I learned to sight read, and I never got all that proficient at sight reading (wasn't a goal).

    My goal, as I said, was being able to play anything I heard - I even transcribed Cecil Taylor records (which I don't recommend, could lead to a nervous breakdown).

    And the phrase I posted could be called a lick, but I did not use them to build a musical vocabulary, only as a means to learn improvisation.

  18. #167

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick-7 View Post
    I did not say anything about sight reading (??)
    It was an analogy, my friend.

    Meaning that great sight readers aren’t *just* skilled at reading music. They’ve also just read tons of it in their lives. So the line between being able to read something at sight and just being able to recognize something they’ve seen before (maybe disguised, maybe in another key, etc) is very very blurry.

    Improvising is very similar, I think. The line between being able to freely play whatever you hear and just being able to recall and hear loads of great stuff you’ve played already is very very blurry.

    Which I say because you’re talking about how you didn’t do this to “build vocabulary” but rather to “learn improvisation.” I’m saying I’m not convinced a person could possibly know where one of those stops and the other starts.

  19. #168

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    Many of the licks people are posting here aren't lifted from records...they are their own invention...

    And the idea of licks being modular means they're flexible...not set in stone...adjustable. Improvisable...

    Playing and practicing licks doesn't mean you can't "play what your hear." And that's an overused statement in my opinion anyway. You know what a lot of people "hear?" Licks

  20. #169

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    Well, the question I asked myself and that I'm posing to people here is: how successful are you at getting these licks into your playing and is this exercise improving your overall ability to improvise? That is, are you actually seeing it make a difference or do you just assume that it will eventually? If it doesn't appear to be paying off, is there something else you should be doing that you're not?

    I've seen many musicians who appear to know the musical vocabulary but can't form it into coherent sentences "under fire," i.e., in a real time playing situation. There are numerous YouTube stars who can play just like so and so (fill in the name of a well known artist) but cannot improvise worth beans over standard or unfamiliar chord changes.

    I'm not knocking this thread, just offering some food for thought. And I'm also suggesting that harmonic "licks" should be shared - favorite chord phrases and sequences, intros, turnarounds, etc. Thanks....

  21. #170

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    I think I get what Mick is saying... what can I do (to improve my improv skills) that I'm not already doing (or not doing enough)?
    I could take a chorus or two and just listen to the changes and improvise in my head (or sing) without touching my instrument, then try to play it in different areas of the fretboard (+ in different keys) and memorise it. When I try to do that I often find myself having to face the fact that I'm not as good as I would like to be at transfering what I've just heard in my head on the fretboard. But then, of course, the more we have practiced scales, arpeggios (and even licks!) the easier it should be to do that, too. To improvise is a combination of different (sometimes opposite) approaches and I remember John Scofield saying that most of what we play when we improvise is stuff we've already practiced, things "we already know".

    Then, I would add, sometimes we're "magically" find an entrance to "the zone" where we seem to transcend "what we know" and play stuff that we had no idea we knew, that we've never played before and that amazes us. That, unfortunately, seems to be the ecception, rather than the rule (for me at least). But, I think, licks are still a good way of getting to know the fretboard and how to phrase. And creating your own licks is, also, a way of searching for "your own voice".

  22. #171

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    Glenn Gould argued it’s harder to be original when improvising (and then argued that’s why Mozart was a ‘bad composer’ lol, because he was a such a good improviser)*

    It made me cross at the time, but I think there’s some truth to this. When you improvise most of the time you are playing stuff you already know. Originality often comes from feeding compositional ideas into one’s improvisations. (Limitations can also be helpful.)

    As Steve Swallow points out, pure improvisation in-the-moment while something that exists in jazz is far from universal among the artists we idolise. I think it’s easy to get too hung up on it at the expense of sounding good (or like yourself.)

    Modular improvisation is at least an important stepping stone into more fluid improv. In fact I think improv on fast tempo tunes may be largely modular even for the masters. Improv does involve muscle memory.

    So learning a lot of stuff is key. Running in all keys, over tunes. Getting stuff under your fingers. I’m actually learning this trying to learn to improvise in a different type of music. The specifics are different but the process is very similar. The comparison with sight reading is apt imo. I’ve even heard it said sight reading is a type of improvisation.

    *I don’t see why you could make this point about Mozart when Bach was also a noted improviser. Anyway….

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  23. #172

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    Some modular baroque licks lol




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  24. #173

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick-7 View Post
    Well, the question I asked myself and that I'm posing to people here is: how successful are you at getting these licks into your playing and is this exercise improving your overall ability to improvise? That is, are you actually seeing it make a difference or do you just assume that it will eventually? If it doesn't appear to be paying off, is there something else you should be doing that you're not?
    Yes it does make a difference. Though everything takes a long time to see results for me, ear training included.

    I tend to think it’s important to consider what it is you’re actually practicing with a given exercise. And there are two different aspects to this whole thing … playing what you hear, and hearing better stuff. I aced ear training in college and it most definitely did not make me a better improviser because it didn’t give me any vocabulary.

    So playing the things that come into your ear is a great exercise, but it doesn’t push your ear to hear more interesting things.

    Transcribing and learning licks actually kind of does both. You hear and figure something out, link it to fingerings on the guitar, and assimilate it into your playing.

  25. #174

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick-7 View Post
    Well, the question I asked myself and that I'm posing to people here is: how successful are you at getting these licks into your playing and is this exercise improving your overall ability to improvise?
    I use licks all the time. If I worked on something in the past few days I’ll try and shove it in all over the place. In the Barney Kessell instructional video he said when you just learn something, purposely overuse it in your playing, use it everywhere until it’s a personal cliche, then move on.

    So I try to do that.

    Funny enough he said that as he was also explaining playing harmonized licks. So I also like those. Cornell Dupree and Danny Gatton being masters at those kinds of licks.

  26. #175

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick-7 View Post
    Well, the question I asked myself and that I'm posing to people here is: how successful are you at getting these licks into your playing and is this exercise improving your overall ability to improvise? That is, are you actually seeing it make a difference or do you just assume that it will eventually? If it doesn't appear to be paying off, is there something else you should be doing that you're not?

    I've seen many musicians who appear to know the musical vocabulary but can't form it into coherent sentences "under fire," i.e., in a real time playing situation. There are numerous YouTube stars who can play just like so and so (fill in the name of a well known artist) but cannot improvise worth beans over standard or unfamiliar chord changes.

    I'm not knocking this thread, just offering some food for thought. And I'm also suggesting that harmonic "licks" should be shared - favorite chord phrases and sequences, intros, turnarounds, etc. Thanks....
    I see the point you're raising, but it seems to be talking about something other than what we are doing here.