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Blues Guitar Institute

Micro Lick: Spice Up Your Blues with Four Notes

Ever get bored playing rhythm guitar?

As guitarists, we likely spend around 80% of our time playing rhythm.  And let’s face it, sometimes, it gets….boring.  I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be bored ANYTIME while I’m playing.  That’s why I’m always looking for little tweaks and tricks to add some life to my rhythm playing.

You could just chug along with the rhythm section. But, the best guitarists know how to mix a little lead in with their rhythm playing.

It’s what keeps things interesting.

Spice Things Up with Just Four Notes

It’s no secret by now, I’m big on the small things.

Some time ago, I started to notice these short, three or four note sequences that showed up everywhere in my playing. Because they are so short, these licks are easy to pepper into your rhythm without loosing the grove.

I call ’em micro licks because they’re super quick and insanely simple.

Keep It Simple

Don’t confuse simple and easy with boring.  These easy acoustic blues licks, MICRO LICKS, that I’ll be sharing with you are anything but boring. For example, if you haven’t already, check out this bluesy lick based on the classic blues train whistle sound.

As a great follow up to the train whistle lick, lets look at a micro lick called Hammering Third.

Hammering Third is not just an attempt at a clever name, it’s a hint at what’s happening in this lick. Watch the video to hear this easy acoustic blues lick and see it broken down note-for-note.

Watch on YouTube | Grab the TAB PDF | Guitar Pro

Build on the Basics

The real magic of these tiny licks is two fold:

  • They work great as beginnings and endings for entire solos
  • They can easily be linked together to form longer licks
In future lessons, you can expect to see more micro licks you can use, just like this one.  Then we’ll start stringing these little guys together to build longer licks and explore different keys.

So time for the tough question…

Do every get bored playing rhythm guitar?

Leave your answer in the comments below.

When you are ready, there are two ways I can help you:

Back Porch Blues Course:  A proven system to fingerpicking the blues.  This step-by-step course guides you through building fundamental fingerpicking skills.  Plus, you’ll learn three levels of a delta blues style performance study to put your new skills into action.

Become a myBGI Member: Membership comes with access to Back Porch Blues plus over 70 step-by-step courses.  Get proven results with one of myBGI’s structured Roadmaps.

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