Watch the Where Licks Come From online guitar lesson by Robbie Calvo from Lick Logic
Licks and phrases can be derived and created from any combination of elements. Remember a lick is just a series of notes played in a rhythmic fashion. We can create lick ideas from simple diad, triad, 7th arpeggios, 5 note, 6 note, and 7 note scales, or a combination of all of those tonal elements. Each cluster of notes can consist of one note, two notes, three notes, etc. and we will explore all of those things.
As an example, you've probably heard guitar players discuss David Gilmour: "Man, he can hit just one note and it's just magic." I agree, and sometimes (most times), less is more! We'll discuss that. You may also hear guitar players discuss certain adept players as playing too many notes, or "wanking off", "bumble bee in a jam jar" approach, etc. Each to their own, but saying something musical to capture the attention and move your listener should be the key element to strive for, and sometimes that fire and flourish is able to do just that!
If we consider for a moment the potential impact our playing has on an audience and make that our prime motive, then, I think we are onto something very special!