How to Play Licks in Between Chords

If you had a nickel for every video on YouTube about how to play guitar licks, you'd be sitting pretty right now. Then again, that doesn't say anything about the quality of the information in those 'how to play licks' videos! For this reason, I wanted to create the definitive guide on how to play licks as they're used in one of the most common applications - between chords...






Regardless of where you are, whether you're just starting out or you're really good at playing licks, this video will help. I'll take you step by step through a plan that will work for any level of guitarist and I'll also tell you exactly how to apply these ideas along the way.


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Every guitar player loves the sound that comes from playing a few guitar licks in and around the chords of a song. 

The only problem is that for most players - who are not sure of how this works - this whole idea will often seem like it’s a skill that’s reserved for guitar greats like; Jimmy Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen or Eric Clapton.

In reality, what you need to do when it comes to developing this, is actually pretty simple. 

You need chord patterns that are well known, (so that you feel confident about them under your fingers). You need a few small scale layouts that are committed to memory.

And, you need to have a decent feel when it comes to your sense of rhythm and groove.

It all doesn’t have to be perfect. But, on the flip-side, this workout will also help you develop those skills. 

So, once you have those three abilities down - playing licks between chords will feel quite natural. T hen, over time it will become easier to do. 





(Step 1). 
LEARN SMALL CHORDS
In getting started, let’s learn some smaller chord patterns that will help you get used to shapes that you can move into more easily and more quickly for developing licks around chords.






(Step 2). 
KNOW SHORT SCALE SEGMENTS
The next topic that were going to focus on has to do with learning small scale passages. You’ll find that most of the short melodic phrases that are inserted in and around chords will tend to be composed out of notes from either the Major or Minor Pentatonic scales.

Let me demonstrate a collection of small scale shapes that work really well for connecting one chord into another.

Connector Scale 1: 



Connector Scale 2:




Connector Scale 3:




Process Re-Cap:
Let’s re-cap what we’ve done so far. When you start this type of “licks with chords” workout, you need to begin with the study of basic chord patterns that are simple and manageable to play.

Small 3-note shapes like I’ve shown here in this lesson are perfect. You can also try using Major and Minor triads as well. And, eventually you can also build your way up to bigger chords.

When it comes to scale patterns for this “licks with chords” sound… at first, go with short run Pentatonic ideas. Then, work at expanding your ideas from there.




SCALE TIP:
Scales work the best for this approach if they can be located within a position based upon a 3 – 4 fret span.

They can also be spread out a little further along the neck as well. But, if you do that, keep the number of strings limited to just two at the earliest days of your practice on this.

After you get better at adding licks in between chords, you can take the scale patterns a little further (day by day).





(Step 3). 
COMPOSE YOUR OWN
The next thing I want to do is to build an example of a “licks with chords” phrase right here with you, so that you can experience how this stuff gets applied.

Licks Between Chords Example:






CONCLUSION:
Once you have a few of the small chords nailed down to start this idea off with, (and you can move them around the neck in a fairly smooth way), the other element in all of this has to do with those scale shapes.

They need to be practiced as much as possible so that they become almost “second nature” on the neck to you.

The other part of doing this work involves getting a feel for and getting creative with your sense of rhythm and groove so that your ideas are interesting and they slowly become more and more natural to play! 


 VISIT THE WEBSITE:
If you’d like to learn more about topics like this one and many others, join my members site as a free member and start looking through my, “Guitar Courses.”

I’ve spent over 25 years working with hundreds of guitar students creating thousands of detailed step-by-step guitar lessons for both my website members and my private students.

The result is the most comprehensive guitar course that covers every aspect of beginner to advanced playing ideas to help you improve your playing.


 
 LIMITED TIME OFFER: 
If you join my site as a Premium member, you’ll receive a FREE copy of my popular Guitar Technique eBook.

My Guitar Technique eBook is 28 pages of jam-packed exercises, drills and studies for mastering all of your technical skills at playing Guitar.


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How to Fix Your Bad Habits in 4 Moves

If you're like most guitar players you have bad habits that need fixing. The good news is that once you become aware of the habit, the more likely you would be to welcome an easy way to fix it. And, that's exactly what we're doing in this lesson...




In this lesson post, I will be showing you four popular bad habits along with ways that you can use to correct these flaws in order to give you better playing skills a lot sooner than you think.

I’m going to show you how to play your guitar phrases so they are smooth and natural feeling when performed anywhere on the neck. 

We'll also discuss how to become more "Note Aware," and how to correct poor rhythm and groove. Plus, we'll cover the best place on the neck to learn any new idea for maximum results.

When you apply the easy tips shown in this lesson you will instantly start to feel a whole lot better about your playing. And, the best part is that your guitar playing will shift towards permanently fixing all of your bad habits.

WATCH THE VIDEO:




Today we’re going to talk about bad habits. And, what you can do to fix the most common ones that plague your practice time along with your performance.

These bad habits are ones that will ultimately end up holding you back from being able to play guitar the best that you can. And, for a lot of guitar players, bad playing habits are overwhelmingly misunderstood.

The reasons behind why a guitar player might not “focus on” certain short comings in their playing will often simply be due to the fact that they just don’t know of any other choices to make.

In this lesson we’re going to examine four moves that you can take right now to fix the most common bad habits that tend to exist within almost every guitar student.




BAD HABIT REPAIR MOVE #1).

  MOVE IDEAS EVERYWHERE ON THE NECK

The first bad habit that we’re going to explore involves the treatment that you give to every new idea that you learn on the neck.

There’s an importance (when you study new ideas), of turning them into a moveable geometrical shape, as soon as possible. Never keep them in just the sole place that you initially learned them!

Rather than, learning the idea in just one key, or in just one fretting location – learn it all over the guitar moving it fret by fret horizontally across the fingerboard. For example, let’s say you learned this key of “D Minor” guitar lick.

Example:



You could just keep it there in the 5th position. But, the level of skill for that part would increase by 10x if you moved that idea laterally up and down the neck.
LATERAL MOVE EXERCISE:




Plus, if you understood that the part was in the Minor Tonality (and you knew specifically which note was the root), you could also understand how the lick could shift along the guitar for use as a more flexible statement within any other key that you’d like!






BAD HABIT REPAIR MOVE #2).

  LEARN THE NOTES FOR WHAT YOU PLAY
That brings us to the next bad habit that you might have… which is not being fully aware of the notes that are involved across the different guitar ideas that you learn and you play.

Understanding notes is really not as complicated as it might seem. But, it does take some extra study. Luckily, these days you can use a number of great online web-apps to discover the notes that you’re using in all your riffs and licks.

With a few amazing online apps, you can learn the notes, and then notate the idea directly (onto a chart) and then the app will play the idea back for you!

It's not only tons of fun, but you will start discovering the rhythm that are involved with a guitar part as well.

For example, take that guitar riff I just played. Suppose that you didn’t know any of your notes on the neck, and you set out to discover what notes were involved with that lick.

By just heading over to a site like “www.fretmap.app” you could look over the neck and determine your notes.

Fret Map


Then, you could establish a free account over at “www.soundslice.com” and use their free online TAB editor to create a chart that not only plays back the notes, but it shows you the music notation.


Sound Slice

If you plot out the part with the TAB tools in sound-slice, it will also allow you to work on developing the rhythm feel that’s related to what it is that you’re playing.

You'll "kill two birds with one stone" by learning the notes as well as, getting a solid handle on what the rhythm is for the part.





BAD HABIT REPAIR MOVE #3).

  COUNT THE BEAT AS YOU PLAY
The next Bad Habit I absolutely need to cover involves counting the underlying beat, both before, and while you play. Sounds easy, but it isn't.

For a lot of guitarists, rhythm is a really terrible “Bad Habit” that needs to be fixed.

Essentially, rhythm is one of those topics that absolutely MUST be targeted for true success as a player. So, if this is a bad habit topic for you, then make sure that you dedicate some focus on what I’m about to share with you.

If you want to get better at rhythm, then you’re going to have to work on it for quite a lot of hours so that you achieve some good - successful - progress.

My suggestion is to go out and open a free account at a website called, “www.noteflight.com.”


Noteflight


On the "Noteflight" website you can create music scores for free. It costs nothing to join and you don’t even need to enter a credit card or anything!

Once there, create yourself a 4 bar idea that starts simple with a mix of quarter and eighth notes. You can use any pitch, it doesn’t matter.

After you create the part, set it to repeat and play along. You could play one note or a chord, it’s up to you. Just make sure that you count in and play to the beat perfectly… Over time, you can make the rhythms more and more complex.





BAD HABIT REPAIR MOVE #4).

   LEARN NEW IDEAS IN THE CENTRAL NECK
The final “Bad Habit” is a very simple one to fix. And, this one is really something that very few guitar players even know about.

However, it is one of those things that when it’s fixed, it will make a big difference when it comes to adding new stuff into your guitar playing.

What this repair move deals with is "where" on the neck that you play new ideas!

New guitar riffs and licks and chords that you’re learning can be made a few percentage points easier if you play them in the central region of the fingerboard, (frets 4 - 9).


Play Central

This works so well because it’s more difficult to play notes and chords down lower, (closer to the guitar’s headstock). There’s a lot of tension down there, (where the strings roll over the nut), plus the frets are farther apart, adding to the necessary reach.

If you go up higher on the fret-board, the frets start to get really close together, and the string height gets higher, which makes it a lot more difficult to fret-out each note.

Now, in the central zone of the neck, (frets 4 - 9) the string action is really nice, the frets are spaced at a comfortable distance apart and if you start learning ideas here, you’ll find that the level of difficulty will drop by more than a few points!


 VISIT THE WEBSITE:
If you’d like to learn more about topics like this one and many others, join my members site as a free member and start looking through my, “Guitar Courses.”

I’ve spent over 25 years working with hundreds of guitar students creating thousands of detailed step-by-step guitar lessons for both my website members and my private students.

The result is the most comprehensive guitar course that covers every aspect of beginner to advanced playing ideas to help you improve your playing.


 
 LIMITED TIME OFFER: 
If you join my site as a Premium member, you’ll receive a FREE copy of my popular Guitar Technique eBook.

My Guitar Technique eBook is 28 pages of jam-packed exercises, drills and studies for mastering all of your technical skills at playing Guitar.



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The Best Way to Learn the Neck

The best way to learn the guitar neck is a question that I get almost every day. People want to know if studying the C.A.G.E.D. system is the best way for getting the job done. Others want to know if "Octave Patterns" are the best way, or if learning to do music reading studies might work the best...





While all of them are at the top of the list for understanding how the notes sit on the neck, they still are not the best way to learn the guitar neck the fastest.

In this video lesson I'm going to explain how to use the “Diatonic scale - chromatic circle,” to learn how every note sits all along and across the guitar neck. Once you learn this system, you'll understand how to plot the name of any musical note anywhere on your guitar!

WATCH THE VIDEO:




HOW TO LEARN THE NECK:
Today we’re talking about the fastest way to learn the note layout of the guitar neck. In traditional music lessons, (for pretty much every musical instrument), the most common way that students will go about learning all of the notes on their instrument generally will come out of learning how to read music.

Unfortunately, guitar players rarely get their music reading together. In fact, most guitar players can’t read a single note of traditional music notation.

Commonly, guitar students will learn how to play with diagram systems and by guitar short-hand – otherwise known as “Tab.”

So, this means that if guitar players learn the best by way of diagrams, what better way to learn the neck, than by using a diagram system.






In getting started, (for any beginner students), we need to clarify that the musical language, (often referred to as the musical alphabet), has 7 letter names. 

They are; “A, B, C, D, E, F and G.” We also need to clarify /understand that the most common scale in our musical language is the; “C Major” scale.

“C Major” is the most widely used scale in music and it consists of all neutral notes. In music applications we call those tones, “Natural” tones.

All of the other keys will include note alterations known of as either “Sharps” or “Flats,” (more on those later). 

What’s important at this point - is to understand that there are a set series of half and whole-steps that are used to create the “C Major” scale.

We need to begin our understanding of the neck from these simple movements.

The whole-step, also referred to as a “Whole-Tone,” (or 2-frets on the guitar), is the most popular movement.

Whole Tones occur between the majorities of scale tones. However, the half-step, also called the, “Semi-Tone,” (applied as just a single one fret movement on the guitar), is an equally important note movement.

Together, these two movements (of a Tone and a Semi-Tone) are the first place that we need to begin when it comes down to understanding note location on the guitar neck.




UNDERSTANDING MOVEMENT:
Before we take this to the guitar, I want you to understand how this Whole-Tone and Semi-Tone system operates when it gets applied to a scale. Let’s take the “C Major” scale, and start there.


THE "C" MAJOR SCALE:
The scale of “C Major” is made up of Whole-Tones played between all notes except, “B and C” as well as, “E to F.”

The "C" Major Scale: NOTES




The "C" Major Scale: NOTES and STEPS




The Whole-Step (Tone) on Guitar:




 The Half-Step (Semi-Tone) on Guitar:



The steps of “B to C” along with, “E to F” are natural occurring semi-tones. If you check out the keys on a piano – all the white keys make up the notes of the “C Major” scale. And, the places where there are two white keys well, those are the notes of “B to C” and, “E to F.”

"C" Major on the Piano:




Now that you understand the importance of the “C Major” scale, and you know what’s going on with the simplest of note movements that we have in music, (the tones and semi-tones), our next step is to clarify the names of the guitar’s open strings.

Coming up after that, I’m going to show you how you can use a theory training diagram called the “Diatonic scale - chromatic circle,” to be able to nail every single note all over the guitar fret-board in a way that’s really fast to both learn how to do and also to go ahead and apply. 




STRING NUMBERS AND NAMES:
The guitar’s open string names are one of the most important fundamental concepts about this instrument that we need to have committed to our memory. And, there are two areas of importance that surround this topic.

String Numbers:
The first important area to learn about is that you need to know the string order as a numbering system, (1 through 6).

For the numbering order, just keep in mind that the high pitch skinny string is number one, and the low thickest string is the sixth. Just remember the, “T” “H” because it operates within the words “thick” and “sixth.”



As far as the string letter names, a mnemonic is the best way to go. From the high pitch first string, I normally use the sentence; “Every,” “Body,” “Goes,” “Down,” “An,” “Elevator.”


String Names (Letters):
You need to have memorized all of the letter names of all six guitar strings. Luckily, this is easy to do using the mnemonic mention above





LEARNING MOTE MOVEMENT:
Once you have the open string numbers and names down, the next part is really easy. We’re going to use the “Diatonic scale - chromatic circle,” to get you thinking of linear note travel along each guitar string.

In the diagram (below), we have the diatonic note movement going clock-wise through the natural tones of the “C Major” scale. Take notice of the “B to C” and the, “E to F.” Remember, those notes are always right next to each other on the guitar fingerboard as well.

The Diatonic - Chromatic Circle:



All of the other notes will have an option of either using a sharp or a flat. For example, if I was on an “A” note, above the “A” I’d have “A#,” or “Bb.” Below the “A” I’d have “Ab” or “G#.”



How the notes get named as specific sharps or flats depends on the chromatic pitch direction (upward or downward pitch travel).

Another way notes are named is by way of the key signature, (some keys use sharps and others use flats to maintain independence of each tone of our musical alphabet system).

If I was focused on the note of “D,” I would have “Db” or “C#” down from the “D” and “D#” or “Eb” above the “D.” 

Again, how they are named just depends on the musical application.



If we were to focus on the note of “G,” the process is the same. Above “G” is “G#” or “Ab” and below “G” would give us the option of “Gb” or “F#.” 

NOTE: All of this information works exactly the same on the guitar neck.




APPLICATION TO GUITAR:
The next thing we are going to do is take these principles onto the guitar neck and you’ll get to find out just how easy it is to apply the note movement strategy using the, “Diatonic scale - chromatic circle,” onto the guitar fret-board.


Linear Single-string Training:
Let’s start learning the first string by training within a small range of note groups. From the open string ascending we have the, “Open E,” “F,” “F#,” and “G.”



As we continue up the 1st string from the 4th to 7th frets, we get, “G#,” “A,” “A#,” and “B.”




And, continuing along the first string from frets 8 up to 12, we get, “C,” “C#,” “D,” “D#,” and the octave of the open string “E.”



Always remember that the double dots on the guitar fret-board represent the guitar’s notes (on all strings), but repeated up an octave higher.

Also, keep in mind that you can study all of your descending flat notes by dropping downward in pitch from the 12th fret “E” going backward toward the open string again, (replacing all the sharp tones, with their appropriate flat tones).




Random Notes - String Training:
You can take this principle all around the guitar fingerboard learning all of the notes going linear along every string. It’s really easy to apply, and it also works great to just drop onto a note someplace /anyplace on the neck.

For example, if you dropped down on the note of “A” located upon the 3rd guitar string, and you were to map out your 4-fret position in that region - you would get, “A, A#, B and C.”



From the 2nd fret of that 3rd-string, I have now become aware and more fully understand the notes that are located there.


You could even take the random note concept further, and start on a note, like for example an “E,” on the 5th string 7th fret. And then, practice dropping down to “Eb,” and then to “D” then jump over the “Db” note, and play the “C” down to “B.”



There’s all kinds of options open to us for how we might practice this. But one things for sure, if you do this – if you practice this for a while - you WILL get to understand the notes across your guitar strings at a VERY high level of understanding. 




 VISIT THE WEBSITE:
If you’d like to learn more about topics like this one and many others, join my members site as a free member and start looking through my, “Guitar Courses.”

I’ve spent over 25 years working with hundreds of guitar students creating thousands of detailed step-by-step guitar lessons for both my website members and my private students.

The result is the most comprehensive guitar course that covers every aspect of beginner to advanced playing ideas to help you improve your playing.


 
 LIMITED TIME OFFER: 
If you join my site as a Premium member, you’ll receive a FREE copy of my popular Guitar Technique eBook.

My Guitar Technique eBook is 28 pages of jam-packed exercises, drills and studies for mastering all of your technical skills at playing Guitar.


___________________________________________________

GET GOOD NOW - JOIN THE MEMBERS AREA


Join Now

Guitar Chords | F Chord | Guitar Notes | G Chord | C Chord | D Chord | Guitar String Notes