Question: Hi Tom Hess, I've got a few "licks" DVDs by various guitar tutors and players. I've never really managed to work them into my playing because my playing largely consists of knowing other people's music, exercises and a few scales. I'd like to be able to work these into my playing but lack the know how to do so. For example I've got a neo-classical licks DVD and I'd like to be able to link and extend the licks so it sounds like one long melodic musical piece. What can you suggest to help me out? Thank you ☺

Tom Hess's Answer: You need to know how scales work and how licks are derived from them in general. This will allow you to not only connect the licks from your videos but also create your own licks in any key (which is a much more important skill).

Also learn to play scales in the same key all over the neck. For example, learn to play the A harmonic minor scale in all positions on the neck of the guitar. This will help you with seeing where all the licks are derived from.

After you learn the scales, take some of your licks and try to see how the notes of the lick fit precisely into the scale. Then take the next lick and do the same thing. This will make everything seem a lot less mysterious.

Also, I suggest for you to think long term about the ultimate goals you would like to reach as a guitarist and musician. You probably would like to be able to do more than simply connect all the licks from your favorite videos by guitarists in order to be truly fulfilled with your guitar playing. Think hard about this question: what would you like to be able to do if you could do ANYTHING you wanted on guitar?

For more insight on this topic, read this article on how to become a great guitar player.


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