5 Blues Guitar Licks You MUST Know

5 Blues Guitar Licks You MUST Know

These lessons are a handpicked range of phrases from Jeff McErlain’s 50 Blues Guitar Licks You MUST Know which will help you build the blues vocabulary you need to take your playing to the next level. Tune in with Jeff as he draws from a variety of influences and offers tips and examples to help improve your playing.

Blues Guitar Lick #4: Tremolocity

Download the tab & notation for this blues guitar lick.

Tremolo picking basically means, PICK AS FAST AS YOU CAN! This lick is borrowed from SRV. I highly suggest you watch clips of him playing. His physical approach to the instrument has a huge effect on his tone and attack. That is true for all players. A SRV lick won’t sound right unless you attack the instrument the same way. Oh, by the way, you can attack the strings softly as well.

Blues Guitar Lick #9: Hot Shot

Download the tab & notation for this blues guitar lick.

What is that cool effect on my guitar? Well it is a rotating speaker cabinet favored by B3 players called a Leslie. It takes advantage of the Doppler effect, the speaker spins around at either a fast or slow speed producing that cool warble. Famous songs to use one, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Badge and Angel by Hendrix to name a few. Don’t own a Leslie? Well get a chorus pedal and turn both the depth and rate up and you have a great imitation.

Blues Guitar Lick #14: Sliding Doublestops

Download the tab & notation for this blues guitar lick.

Here is a cool one for you. I especially like the use of the natural 7th at the end to add some tension and bend the ear a little. The blues is all about tension and release, actually so is life if you think about it. It is the more challenging moments that make you appreciate the smoother ones. Wait… you mean there are correlations between life and art?

Blues Guitar Lick #20: Honeybeez

Download the tab & notation for this blues guitar lick.

It is essential that you get some flash into your playing, after all we do play guitar don’t we?!?! I am still a sucker for a guy who can rip it up. It may not be sexy but I can make one promise to you, if you practice your scales and licks with a metronome you will get better. No way around that simple truth and believe it or not it is a short cut to great chops. A friend once said to me “I know how all the great players became great. They practiced their butts off.” Truer words have never been spoken.

Blues Guitar Lick #45: What Was That?

Download the tab & notation for this blues guitar lick.

I love players who make me say “What was that?” I run home and try to figure out what they did. My first experience with that was Eddie Van Halen tapping. Also that really cool little bendy lick at the beginning of “Who Knows?’ by Band Of Gypsys. Speaking of Band of Gypsys, I have to say that the first note of the “Machine Gun” solo is the greatest recorded note. IMO.

Like these blues guitar licks? Download Jeff McErlain’s 50 Blues Guitar Licks You MUST Know for much more including tab, notation, and jam tracks!