A blues lick is a stock phrase or pattern, usually catchy and often using conventional blues ornamentation such as tremolos, that is used to heighten interest, increase tension, or communicate a signature playing style.
No one “owns” a blues lick. They’re part of the language of the blues that has been passed on from one generation to another.
In this first of a series, I’m going to show and explain some of my all-time favorite licks. The first lick is simple yet very effective. It’s structured by alternating the root with ascending notes of the blues scale. It could be used at slow or fast tempos:
If you like one of these licks, the best way to add it to your improvising is by intentionally incorporating it into your solos until it becomes part of your personal blues vocabulary.
It’s well worth transposing these licks to all keys. Have fun!
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