I think I struck gold with the book 2000 Blues Lick that Rock. Have any of you looked at it? There are other books and DVDs with collections of licks, but this one can be really fun.
I do have some Blues books, too, but to be honest I don't use them much.
Unfortunately I don't practice enough to be a good player...
It probably contributed to my frustration at how I found my playing in the genre was too limited.
On the plus side the guys on the forum did seem to think that I had found something of my own voice on guitar.
I have heard great results from players that use licks very creatively and manage to combine them into their own style and voice.
So certainly worth trying. I hope it works well for you.
The long one might be much too long...
For not being annoying that much, let's say I'm mostly playing over the chord changes trying to pull some
musical phrases out of it, combined with the singer's voice melody indeed.
Often play "outside" as for example playing C# minor pentatonic scale over a Bb chord...
When playing in a band, you're not soloing that much but comping most of the time...
Singer sing, bass, keyboards and drums cats have to play their own solos too...
You've to play consistent comping to help them to "improvise" good solos!
Improvising is the key word, at the very least the goal to pursue
He encourages pupils to experiment and while learning from what he plays you're not to copy, but to use the general ideas and concepts to play what you feel in a way that suits you. In that way there's more chance of your own personal style coming out.
It might of course mean that you end up out on an extreme limb of the musical tree with music that only a minority like, but at least it's your own.
Hawkeye Herman learned guitar at the feet of Son House, Brownie McGhee, Bukka White, Mance Lipscomb, Furry Lewis, Lightin' Hopkins, John Jackson, K.C. Douglas, and Sam Chatmon. That's an incedible line up and it's a great thing that the internet has meant that such knowledge can be passed on to so many more people, many of them so far away.
His best piece of advice though about guitar is to "enjoy the journey" and don't worry and fret about the destination.
Very wise words indeed. Not that I've always managed to avoid frustration due to my not always following his advice.
The key is, as others have said, to use those licks as a stepping stone to get around to your own music / voice. One of my favorite players instructs: "don't just play licks". Sit back and listen to the tune, the rhythm section, singer .. chase that melody in your head .. and if a couple of those licks pop up, it's likely honest
If you're just cramming those licks together without really listening to the tune, it's not going to sound very good, too me anyway.
While I am loving using my lick book, I am finding that as you said, I have to play around with each lick before it resonates and satisfies me. I like the idea of just coping a lick from a song and then playing with it, that way you know you liked it from the start.
I am on an Otis Rush bandwagon lately. That song "Hold That Train" has several very tasty licks. After pondering your inputs, I have decided to copy them so I can figure out what he was doing.
Wanna learn a lick, or two ?? .. learn the intro to Loan me a Dime - Boz Scaggs ... there's no "licks" in it -LOL_
These guys are just totally into this tune ... makes me want to join a band....
...this has been a public service announcement ...
I was working on Hide Away this morning and there's some specific things I want to hear in there. Guess what they are, ..licks ...yup, it's true. One of them comes from Jeff Healy, my nearest recollection anyway, been a long time since I heard it. There's a couple things I'm doing, in the melody section that I'm going to call "licks". .... we can call them chops, makes me feel better
I'm also going out of my way to avoid the 4-bend, 5, root lick that often starts the first solo section. I'll replace with one of several different licks ,..ehr.., chops ..hehehehehe.. I guess honesty comes piece work for me
...and yes, definitely the Duane Allman version of Loan me a Dime, one of my all time favorite players !
Sometimes I throw in common licks when I'm tired or not thinking. Other times, with a bit more thought but still feeling somewhat lazy, I'll transpose solos or guitar tunes/melodies from somewhere else (like country, rockabilly, surf guitar tunes or even old Hank Marvin* guitar solos) into a blues progression, or even Larry Carlton's solo in Kid Charlemagne - talk about plagiarism. Old Jimmy Page solos or Jimi Hendrix riffs suit this.
*Hank did some great solos back in the day which sit right into blues progressions. E.g. check out the solos on Nivram, Perfidia, Flingle Bunt. Old surf tunes have got some cool solos too (like Bustin' Surfboards by the Tornadoes) A lot of Link Wrays' stuff is basic and cool.
Sometimes' I'll steal other instrumental parts from other instruments - eg. the electric organ solos in Green Onions easily transpose to guitar, or brass/horn section pieces or of Count Basie or Benny Goodman hits, or vocal phrases from old Cole Porter tunes.
Other times I'll copy bits of something by Eddie Cochran, Scotty Moore, Brian Setzer, James Burton, Albert Lee, Vince Gill, Billy Gibbons, John Fogarty, Keef Richards, EC, Hubert Sumlin, Gatemouth Brown, Otis Rush, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray, Muddy Waters, or one of the Kings etc etc. Josh White did some great cryin' blues style solos on an acoustic guitar as accompaniment to his vocals. Sometimes I mix 'em all up and go off into unknown territory.
Mainly I listen to a lot of different genres of music (but a lot of guitar music) to get fresh ideas. I think its what everyone does.
EDIT: Clapton famously did this with "Blue moon" in "Sunshine of your love"
I too write interesting licks in a notebook, but I rarely put them in solo. I play through them to warm up and spice up my creativity. I recently started playing along some Buddy Guy recordings and I can see that the simplest of licks can sound incredible if you time them right. It's all about getting in the zone, I guess.