Today, I want to take some time to share with you five tips that will help you write your own awesome licks on guitar. Transitioning from just learning and playing the guitar to composing and writing your own material can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. These five tips help open up a world of possibility and can be leveraged and reused throughout the rest of your guitar career. So many great songs have been written just by stringing together and mixing in variations of these tips. Let’s get started.
Tip #1: Learn the Minor Pentatonic Scale
You’d be surprised to learn how many amazing guitar licks and melodies have been made from the pentatonic scale. Check out the video above where I show you the minor pentatonic scale in the key of A.
Tip #2: Don’t Pick Every Note
Yep, that’s right. This will really help spice up your licks and add in complexity and variation. Instead of picking every single note—try throwing in some hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, and even bends. This small little practice makes a world of difference and can drastically change the sound and “feel” of your licks.
Tip #3: Pick a Target Note and Work Backwards
Use target notes to add variation. For example, if I want to end on the note of A—I can work backwards by creating a series of small licks before that. So right before that A, I might put two bends in. Immediately before that I might add in a fun little three note pattern starting from the top of the scale.
Tip #4: Rests are Musical
Rests are often overlooked. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because you’re playing the guitar—you need to be plucking or strumming a note every second the guitar is in your hands. Not true! Using rests and breaks add sophistication and complexity to your songs and music. So instead of playing every single beat—make sure to leave in some rest notes and play around with it!
Tip #5: Repeat Notes
The last tip is to try repeating some of the same notes in your lick. We don’t have to change notes every single time. Repeating notes and small licks within your song can fill and round it out.
If you’re just getting started, don’t forget about my FREE 5-Day Guitar Starter Course! I’ll walk you through the fundamentals and all of the best practices to get started so that you can avoid bad habits and time-sucks while accelerating your playing and improvement.
As always… Keep On Rock’n!
– Tony G