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How to Create Guitar Licks
Playing mesmerizing solos before a large audience is the dream of every lead guitarist. In fact, a
lead guitarist spends a lot of his time creating newer solos and practicing them. Solos are created
from licks, which are short arrangements of notes and chords. When put together, they create a
solo. How good your solos sound depends upon how good licks you created. To be able to
create guitar licks you need to have a very good knowledge of scales and notes.
The first step towards creating licks is to master scales. Pentatonic guitar scales are the most
common scales used by lead guitarists. So, getting familiar with these scales should be your first
step. The next step will be experimenting by playing a chosen pentatonic scale using different
solo guitar techniques such as alternate picking, sweep picking, and legato (hammer-ons and
Alternate picking is using up and down strokes alternately. Sweep picking means you are using
consecutive down strokes or up strokes while crossing strings. Here your picking hand makes
fewer movements than alternate picking. Legato playing produces softer sounds compared to the
alternate and sweep picking; and achieving speed is easier.
Your mastery over these different techniques depends on your practice. The purpose of practice
is to develop “musical” thinking – this is thinking in terms of basic music elements. Listening to
popular songs of expert guitarists with the aim of identifying the techniques used in the songs is
another useful exercise. With regular practice you will be able to create guitar licks that are
better and mor