Watch the Compositional Devices online guitar lesson by Jason Loughlin from Blues Connections: Minor
Compositional devices have been around for hundreds of years - important tools to composers and improvisers alike. Have you ever felt after learning a lick that you have trouble plugging it into a solo or only know it in one key, position, or fingering? Have you ever felt that your solos sound like a string of random licks thrown together? These will help you put a new lick through its paces and help your solos feel connected. You're going to learn how to develop an idea by learning tools to add variations. I've included a PDF of several common devices to pick from one at time to work on. When you feel that you've exhausted every possibility, pick a new one.
A motif can be anything, really - it's just a simple statement. It could be a melody, a rhythm, an articulation, a chord tone targeted...the key is to keep it simple. You need to allow yourself room to add variations. Balance is key to a healthy life! If you're soloing using long lyrical phrases, break it up with some flash. If you're playing lots of fast runs of notes, break it up with something lyrical. This also works within the band. If the rhythm section is playing busy, then lean towards simple ideas or sparse phrases. If they're leaving space, be sure to use it. You can easily go down the rabbit hole with this concept and it's totally worth it!