beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Collections of licks
Collections of licks
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349 posts
Oct 28, 2017
6:33 AM
I have a couple of CDs of licks that I pull out periodically and work thru. I focus on one or two at a time in a practice session and get them down. Then it's like they are gone. I have followed advice "to put them in context", e.g., stick a jam track on and play them at the right place. Marginally successful. I'd appreciate suggestions for making them a more accessible part of the 'vocabulary.
Phil Pennington
283 posts
Oct 28, 2017
8:08 AM

It sounds like your licks aren't really anchored to anything in the music, in your mind. Working through things like the improvising, soloing, and accompaniment exercises on would be a huge help in this regard as well as with context.
285 posts
Oct 28, 2017
8:28 AM
Also, these licks that don't stick, where did you get them? Licks learned from instructional materials are far less likely to stick than licks you hear in a song and "just have to learn". If you love the "Juke lick" or whatever, and you learn it, you are unlikely to forget it.

Most of the really good players didn't have anyone teaching them licks, they copped all their licks from other players - hearing sounds they were really motivated to be able to make themselves - and that's one of the primary ways your licks are going to be anchored, by an emotional/musical attachment to the lick you are learning. Without that, you're gonna have a hard time keeping those licks accessible, unless you just drill them all for hours a day, ugh.

Last Edited by LSB on Oct 28, 2017 8:29 AM
175 posts
Oct 28, 2017
10:40 AM
It's good you're at least marginally successful..better than not at all. So then you can start thinking why does it work sometimes and not other times etc. I think a lot of times we learn a lick at a certain speed but actually need to speed it up or slow it down,phrase it differently to fit whatever tracks you are playing with, things like that.
Start the lick the 1st time through finish it off next time etc.
Basically we need to customize/personalize the lick to make it work for a variety of songs.
Last fellow i was taking lessons from would emphasize the need to stay in the correct chord as the song progressed.
You could have a killer lick for 4 bars of the 1 chord yet try to squeeze it into one bar of the 5 just won't sound right.

I'm on the other end...I love my practice times...I most always end up playing something better at the end of the practice,,so I look at it as a series of successes ...feel good stuff.

It all depends from one person to the next I would suspect.
350 posts
Oct 28, 2017
1:21 PM
Good comments. Thanks. I spend a good amount of time learning songs. That's a big part of my practice time. And you're right, pieces and parts of those songs find their way into my 'jam tracking' and jam solos. I've mentioned it here before, that early and consistent advice I got was to learn songs. It's likely that I'm thinking too literally about learning the licks and looking for a place to slot them into.
Spyderyak, not sure what you mean by "on the other end", but practice times typically are the best part of my day as well. I hope I'm better coming out of them than going in. And they are almost always are followed by a whiskey before dinner.
I'm going to rethink my lick approach.
Phil Pennington
5061 posts
Oct 29, 2017
2:41 PM
Not quite sure how you’re approaching it Fil, but I think with that stuff you have to take it slowly, don’t try to acquire too much too quickly or you end up with nothing. If you take one or 2, maybe 1 lick and a turnaround lick, and play the heck out of it, every which way you can, different grooves, see all the ways you have to modify it to fit. Don’t drop it too quickly, don’t be in s hurry to move on. When you know you own that lick, then pick up another one. Etc. that way eventually you get somewhere.
Im aware I might be telling you what you already know. My apology if so.
351 posts
Oct 30, 2017
8:50 AM
Mostly, my approach has been to work them consecutively, the whole list at a time. Too much too fast. Patience not a strong suit. I've sorta known what you're saying but not really wanted to believe it. So it's good for you to spell it out. I'll try pulling a playlist of different grooves together and focus a bit more. Thanks.
Phil Pennington
2380 posts
Nov 01, 2017
5:58 AM
I know what you mean. I found the best way to internalise phrases is to associate them with a particular song. Some phrases are the song, so that's the simple case. But lot's of phrases/riffs are generic, so best to always use them in comping and solos on each particular tune. Then they seem to stick better.

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