COOL CHORD LICKS [Guitar Melody Reality Check]

Have you ever felt like your melody lines could be better linked into the chords being played under your solo? This is one of the biggest problems that guitar players will tend to face when they're trying to create melody. If you'd like to learn how to tie in what you're playing, so that it strongly matches up into the chords that are going on underneath, then this lesson is for you... 

In this discussion, I'm going to offer up a reality check for how to play stronger melody lines that link up better to the underlying chord progression. Our goal will be to learn more about how chord shapes and chord possibilities is the key can enhance the way you compose solos.

This is important because, if you pay close attention to the chord shapes that are possible (the harmony used in the song that you're playing over), and if you also start to realize how a few unique chord shapes can relate within the region of the neck that you're going to jam your guitar solos off of - you'll start to discover that you can more melodically track the chord harmony with rather minimal effort.

Doing this might come across as sounding rather complicated. But in this lesson post and video, I'm going to walk you through this entire method with a collection of examples. After we're done, you'll be able to start producing some of these ideas yourself on guitar.


Everything starts from the chord progression found within the song that you'll be soloing over. Those chords are critical to understand fully and completely. In order to get things started for you, we're going to need some context... 

I want to introduce a chord progression next - It's going to be fairly basic - just a straight-forward key of "A Major" chord progression. We'll use this group of chords to focus in on and build some melodies around.

Here's the chord progression, play it in the open position, using the chord shapes that are indicated for you below...

 click on the above image to expand full-screen

Chord patterns are obviously the primary way that we perform our rhythm guitar parts of our songs. But, chord patterns can also be an excellent way to trace out a melody line that will function nicely within a piece of music we want to play a lead part over.

What we're going to do next is analyze a new, and a more unique group of smaller (triads and inversions on the neck) chord patterns that correspond to the progressions harmony. These chords (shown below), could be used to perform the rhythm part, but we're not going to use them for that.

Instead, we'll use these smaller patterns as a way to make melody lines around the chord harmony of our progression. Now, before we go any further, here's our example progression again, except this time we'll use some "more unique" chord patterns on the guitar neck.

click on the above image to expand full-screen

 The objective of this "chord licks" approach is to work toward tracing out the chord changes with short melodic ideas formed around only one or two scale patterns.

We will do this by using only the notes found closest to the templates of the unique chord patterns. Those chord patterns are going to be like the "Sweet-notes," the "Golden notes," for us.

Even if your scale knowledge is limited, you can still rely mostly upon the chord patterns themselves to produce some excellent sounding melody lines. Let me demonstrate as to how this can work based upon using those smaller unique chord patterns we just learned for our example progression.

Below is a melody built from those unique chord patterns shown back in Step #2. Learn the melody and try expanding upon it using the scales that surround the chord patterns. If you're unfamiliar with the scales that are associated to this area of the fingerboard, then study the scales shown in "Step #4."

click on the above image to expand full-screen

The work that we've done here so far goes a long way to help with producing an initial "map" for playing cool licks that associate strongly around chord changes on the guitar neck. All it takes is studying how to branch out from a few unique chord shapes to better link your lead tones into the chord tones of the underlying chord changes.

What's really cool, is that this chord licks idea will also push a guitarist further along, to help with gaining a better understanding of how to use the full scale patterns on guitar.

Scale patterns that I used for this application (around the harmony we just worked on here in "A Major"), included two fingerboard shapes of the basic key of "A" Major Scale... They sit on the neck like this...



By using this "Chord Licks" approach, your soloing will improve, your understanding of scales will get better and you'll start finding it a lot easier to play; licks, lines and runs that more strongly link into the chords being performed under your solos!

Well, I'd like to end the discussion by saying, thanks for joining me... If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at and sign up your FREE lifetime membership.

When you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses I've organized for the members of my website.

Also, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below... if you enjoyed this video, please be sure to give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more on YouTube.

Thanks again and we'll catch up next week , for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."



Join Now

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


Post a Comment