Learn How To Make Your Own Creative Guitar Licks To Improve Your Blues Guitar Playing Today

by Tom Hess

Wish you could play creative guitar licks that make your blues playing sound musically expressive?

Here is one thing you need to do:

Learn how to use your current guitar technique and skill more musically. Many guitarists focus only on speed and technique, and become frustrated when it doesn’t translate into musically creative guitar licks and solos.

Focus on practicing guitar phrasing to develop creative guitar licks that sound emotional and expressive like those of your favorite players.

How do you get started doing this?

Begin today by reading these tips and applying them into your guitar playing today:

Play Creative Guitar Licks Tip #1: Use Speed As An Expressive Tool

Remember, playing guitar with speed isn't just about sound impressive. Speed is a tool that great guitar players use to enhance their guitar licks and create tons of musical tension. Generally, this musical tension is resolved using slower, more melodic phrases or specific notes based on the harmony of the chords underneath the lick or solo.

Take the time to learn how different notes in a scale feel over the chords in the key by playing slowly through the scale. This helps you begin to map out which notes feel resolved and which ones feel like they want to go somewhere musically.

For example:

In A pentatonic minor, the Am chord feels very resolved and the E7 chord would feel very tense. Try playing faster over the E7 chord and slower over the Am chord to get a feel of how speed can be used as a tool for musical tension and release.

Play Creative Guitar Licks Tip #2: Get More From Less


What keeps guitar players from playing creative guitar licks and solos that sound great?


Getting into the habit of frequently adding more and more notes into your phrases while expecting them to eventually sound amazing.

You may get lucky with this approach and play cool guitar licks here and there, but overall this is not an effective way to make your guitar licks feel creative.

Why doesn’t this work that well?

Great guitar soloing technique is about not just which specific notes you use but how you choose to play those notes. When you know how to play notes in order to make them sound expressive and emotional, your guitar licks become much more creative.

Try this:

Listen to the guitar licks of your favorite blues guitarists. Blues players are often great at playing with soulful feeling that really makes you feel an emotion.

As you listen, pay attention to how they use the following techniques to create and resolve a sense of musical tension: vibrato, bends, legato, tremolo picking, rubato or harmonics.

How To Create Awesome Lead Guitar Licks

Play Creative Guitar Licks Tip #3: Arrange Time To Practice Creatively

Becoming creative as a blues guitarist (or in any style) requires more than just copying your favorite players’ guitar licks and phrases.

To become creative in your guitar licks and solos, try this:

Arrange time to practice isolating small areas of your guitar playing creativity in the following way:

  1. Improvise with just a few notes of any guitar lick you know by creating as many variations as possible with every technique you know for 5 minutes before every practice session
  2. Invest time into focusing closely on a specific technique (like vibrato) to see how you can create tons of musical tension or emotion with it by applying it in different ways to the notes of a given guitar lick
  3. Study your favorite guitar players to discover how they use specific techniques to create specific emotional effects, then apply what you learned into your own guitar playing

Now you know a few easy ways to get started playing creative guitar licks in your blues guitar playing, but there is much more to learn!

Learn some cool licks you can use to play more creatively now by watching this video about pentatonic scale guitar licks.

Tom HessAbout Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.

Learn even more powerful ways to become a better lead guitarist by taking online metal guitar lessons.

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