Video: Learn How To Play Better Guitar Licks Using Powerful Phrasing Tips
Want to play guitar licks that impress others, sound great and feel really emotionally expressive?
Good news is: Playing guitar licks that sound amazing isn't as hard as you might think... And the key to playing better licks is learning how to improve your guitar phrasing skills.
How do you do this?
I'll show you.
Use these powerful phrasing tips to transform your so-so guitar licks into jaw-droppingly good licks:
Click on the video to begin watching it.
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Now you’ve learned how to improve your guitar solos using phrasing practice that develops the quality of your licks.
This isn't all there is to learn though!
Get more tips to become a better guitarist by reading below:
How To Practice Better With A Metronome
Most guitar confuse testing their speed with increasing their speed while practicing with a metronome.
This is the main difference between these two things:
Testing Guitar Speed Versus Building Guitar Speed
When you use a metronome in the same ways as the majority of guitarists, you only test your highest playing speed.
An example of this is playing a rhythm guitar riff by setting the metronome to a fast speed to see if you can play at it and observing when you begin playing too many wrong notes. This tests your playing, but does not help you increase your overall playing speed.
This is similar to attempting to lift weights for the very first time, when you aren’t sure which weights you need to lift or where your level is at. You’re simply gauging your maximum capacity.
The common mistake here is to simply play at a slower speed for a while, then assume you eventually will play faster. This is like having a maximum bench press of 200 pounds and trying to get to 285 by bench pressing 175 indefinitely. It makes no sense.
To reach higher speeds in your guitar playing, you need to challenge yourself and correct the mistakes that hold you back from your goal. The act of building speed consists of many possible practice strategies. For example:
*Identifying mistakes that occur at fast speeds and correcting them at slower speeds
*Practicing for small amounts of time at tempos above what you are used to in order to get better at mentally processing notes at much higher speeds
*Using circuit training to integrate your maximum guitar speed together with other areas of your playing in order to increase your usable speed
Using these approaches helps you correct problems in your fundamental technique. When you master technique, speed is produced as a byproduct.
You get the most benefit from practicing with a metronome by testing your speed on a consistent basis and practicing in ways that help you increase speed.
How To Play Guitar Much Faster By Improving 2-Hand Sync With A Metronome
You make tons of sloppy mistakes when trying to play guitar fast with your hands out of sync. Practicing 2-hand synchronization helps you use the speed you already have to play cleanly.
This metronome practice exercise develops your two-hand synchronization at faster tempos:
Step 1. Choose any guitar lick, exercise or technique you want to play faster. Make sure you are clear on the rhythmic note values used in your practice item. If you don’t know what they are, get help from a guitar teacher.
Step 2. Use a metronome to find your top speed with the practice item. Your top speed is at tempo where you can play 1-2 times without making mistakes.
Step 3. Slow down the tempo to 70% of your top speed.
Step 4. Repeat the practice item continually for 25 repetitions and emphasize the notes that fall on the downbeat. Use a stronger pick attack to emphasize the notes.
Make sure the emphasized note falls perfectly in beat with the beat of the metronome. Doing this causes the beat of the metronome to disappear underneath the note you are playing.
It also forces you to reset your two-hand synchronization for every beat. This trains you to play more cleanly and with greater accuracy.
Here are some useful variations of this guitar practice exercise:
*Accent the upbeat.
Practice accenting notes that fall on the upbeats (the fourth/last beat in 4/4). This reinforces 2-hand synchronization on notes you don’t usually pay attention to.
*Emphasizing different notes.
Rather than emphasizing a specific beat, emphasize specific notes in the item you are practicing.
For instance, if there are five notes in a phrase you are working on, accent note number two for several repetitions, note number three for several repetitions, and so on.
*Dividing longer guitar licks into sections of 3-5 notes.
This helps you focus on perfect articulation and synchronization between your hands.
Increase the tempo of the metronome slowly until you reach 100%. Keep emphasizing the notes as clearly as possible.
Once you reach 100% of your speed from the first step, determine a new maximum playing speed. It will be faster that it was when you first began. You are now ready to repeat the entire exercise again, working from 70% of your new speed.
How To Become A Much More Creative Guitarist
Musical creativity is not a matter of having naturally or not… all musicians have the potential to become musically creative.
You simply need to understand how to practice creativity like any other musical skill.
Here are a few examples of how to practice musical creativity to become a more creative guitar player:
Musical Creativity Exercise #1:
Step 1 - Choose a guitar lick you know (or create one yourself).
Step 2 – Play through this guitar lick several times until you are able to play it without making many mistakes and it feels natural.
Step 3 – Repeat this lick while changing HOW you play the notes by using phrasing techniques such as bending, slides, vibrato or trills. Make sure that the pitches remain the same, only change how you play the notes. Do this for about 15 repeats.
This exercise forces you to focus on how you are playing notes rather than what notes are being played. This pushes you to think creatively.
Musical Creativity Exercise #2:
Step 1 - Clap a rhythm (or write it down if you can) of up to 5 notes.
Step 2 – Improvise a guitar lick or riff using the rhythm you made. You can play any notes you want, but stick to the rhythm you created. Repeat this 3-5 times.
This exercise helps you play creatively by focusing on the specific notes you choose to create a phrase.
Musical Creativity Exercise #3:
Step 1 – Think of or improvise a short guitar lick that is no longer than 5-7 notes.
Step 2 – Play through this lick several times until you can play it confidently.
Step 3 – Repeat this lick several times while changing the rhythm of the notes during every repetition. Do this for a couple of minutes without stopping.
This exercise forces you to think creatively about the rhythm of the notes you choose because it isolates this element from everything else.
As you understand now, all of these exercises isolate a specific area of your guitar playing. When you invest time into practicing them, you improve your ability to play creatively.
Here are some reviews from my students who took lessons and applied some of the same ideas from this page into their playing:
“I just love guitar lessons with Tom, he literally takes the time to make a specific lesson plan and sends you lessons as you need it.”
My last lesson I took with a local guitar teacher before joining Tom, I was struggling with a sweep picking pattern, which was the 5 string root major, I was really struggling to get the rolling technique down. I took it to my guitar teacher and I was like “Help me with this, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.” This is his exact phrase: “At high speeds, it doesn’t really matter if you can play it clean or not, no one can hear it anyway.” At that point, I was just like, “Ah man.” But thankfully, in that same message, he mentioned Tom’s name. Then the doors opened. That very night, I went home and looked at every single lesson Tom had, had my guitar in hand, every YouTube lesson on you know “correct motions”, “play this over chords”... just applied it instantly, and it was instant results within an hour... just from his free stuff. I was like, oh man, I’ve got to do lessons with this guy.
I remember when I first started out with lessons, I instantly jumped on the forum to greet myself, and it’s amazing how there’s like 30 responses. Just like, “Hi welcome.” and stuff... “Hi Dan, great musical tastes”. That made me feel really at home and welcomed into Tom’s forum and community. Every time I’ve had an issue when I was first starting out be it like theory or technique, there’s always been someone there who’s helped. Otherwise it could’ve been this potentially awkward process where I’d have to wait a whole week to get an answer from my teacher, who even then may not have answered it correctly and may have never solved it. Whereas there are guys on there who have been with Tom and have been through exactly what I’ve been through. They know exactly how to help, in what order, what information you need... it’s just a friendly atmosphere really.
Dan Mayhew, Stowmarket, UK
“July of 2012, I had been managing in a retail store and was kind of reaching this point where I was really getting frustrated because I had been struggling to progress in my guitar playing. I had this mindset that I had to teach myself everything... you know and the best players are all self taught and stuff like that...”
...and I remembered Tom Hess from that book, and I said “You know, it’s time to look this guy up and see what he’s all about.” And it didn’t take me very long to figure out that this is the kind of person that I needed to get on board with.
My playing has definitely improved technique-wise, but probably the most important change I have experienced is just in my overall mindset as a player and as a practicing musician. I just feel like I have a much better frame of mind and a much better idea of where I am going and where my guitar practicing is taking me. Whereas before I just felt like I had to practice everything and I had a whole bunch of stuff going on. It’s a lot more focused now.
Being in the environment that Tom has created with his other students is incredibly motivating. I had always been in my own little shell, kind of just stayed on my own. Coming out here... like when I came out here last year was a big step out of my comfort zone. Getting around all these other musicians... it’s unbelievable how great some of these guys are, not just as players, but as people.
Andrew Tintle, Richmond, California USA
“I had problems with physical playing. I couldn’t hold the pick, I was struggling a lot, there was frustration for like years. I started out looking for a YouTube solution, maybe someone knows how to angle the pick or build up speed and accidentally ran into Tom.”
The video wasn’t about playing, he only had a conversation. I listened up to him. I saw that Tom made a lot of sense in his speech, and I got interested. I went to his site, started looking at what he offered, got very interested, filled out the form, got my first lesson, started building up myself and started getting more results than I was getting before when I was self taught. It was an amazing experience that opened up so many doors, and still there are so many doors to open.
The material is specifically done for your individual needs, to reach your goals. You can always put up new goals. You can have feedback on your playing, see your weak areas and strong areas. Tom cares a lot about his students. He always reviews and watches how I am progressing so we can review material, step by step. Not skipping the steps. He is paying attention to it, and that’s what I like about it. I last felt this kind of motivation when I was 13 and starting out with a band, now I’m feeling the same fire and passion. There are students who are more advanced, more knowledgeable and have more experience. Instead of feeling jealous, I feel much more motivated to push myself further.
Freddy Kuiva, Estonia
Now you know how to play better guitar solos with ease. Now it's time to raise all your guitar skills to the highest level. How? Find out by getting started with internet guitar lessons.