I asked for some feedback from my community and when I did I found a lot of people had a problem with finding the right notes to solo with. I mean How to Put Licks With a Backing Track. That’s when I decided to explain how to play the licks over a backing track.
Are you also wondering how to put licks with a backing track? Then this is how to put licks with a backing track. First find the key. Figure out the one or Root chord that is being played. Use the pentatonic scale & or the Blues scale. Then start playing the notes.
Sounds easy right? Well there is a little more to it than that. To find out how to put licks with a backing track. Then grab your guitar, and let me teach you how.
Finding the Key
A lot of the time your backing track will say “Slow Blues in the Key of _ “. Then you know what key it is so now you simply need to know what notes can fit into this key.
The easiest way is to know the notes on the fretboard. And then you can go right to the source. If you are looking to learn this and more. I have a complete guitar course. That you will be interested in. Which will teach you how to find the notes.
If your ear is well trained. Which comes with lots of listening. Then you can start on the 6th string and pick a note and listen. Does that sound the same as the chord that is being played? No then go up the neck. Keep “hunting and Picking”, until you get to the right tone.
Which is the long way to get the result. If your backing track says key of B. Then if you already know how to find the notes. You can automatically go to the right location on the fretboard.
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What if your Backing Track is a song?
If you want to know how to play guitar and sing at the same time well that is a different topic. But to play with the song. Then listen to the song. Figure out the chords in the song. You need to find the key of the song.
To do this you want to find the root chord. Which is usually the first chord in the song. To find the chord that is being played. You start buy listening to the song. Then taking the 6th string and pick out different notes. Listening to the tone and the chord. Until you get the correct tone.
An example of this is if you were to play the C chord. Then start at the first fret of the 6th string and fret the first fret. Pick the E string. Listen to the song. When you are picking the note. Does that sound the same?
The correct answer is no. Then go up the neck. One fret and pick at a time until you hear the Tone of the C note. Which is the same tone as the chord. Which you will have found it on the 8th fret.
Now you know what key you are in. You need to have some perimeters to play in. In other words starting out. If you play certain notes in the key then it will sound good. In order to do this. You need to know patterns of notes that you can play.
Two of these Patterns are called the Pentatonic Scale and the Blues Scale.
Then Pentatonic scale has 5 notes in the scale. And the Blues scale is basically the Pentatonic Scale with one more note. It’s called the blues note.
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How do you get guitar licks? Well they come from the Pentatonic Scale and the blues Scale. What I would do to get licks is learn these two scales. The first one being the Pentatonic Scale there are 5 forms to learn. Which seems like a lot to overcome. But starting out just take one of the forms. Meaning form one and learn the pattern.
There are so many licks that come from pattern one and two of the scale. This will give you a well of licks to start with.
The first pentatonic scale pattern looks like this:
Notice how this one starts on the 5th fret. But what’s great is you can take this same pattern and move it up and down the guitar neck.
Take the pattern above and play it over an Easy Beginner Electric Guitar song.
Start by learning this pattern and playing up the strings and back down again. Then use a backing track with it. And play it in the correct key the track is in. Then once you are good at that. Then take bits of the pattern. This makes a lick.
If it sounds good to you. You can repeat that lick. One thing to remember is to leave space in between your playing.
Playing licks is like putting a sentence together. You have to stop for air. In the same way when creating licks to jam over a track. Remember to come up for air.
You can Also use the Pentatonic Scale to extend your playing up the guitar neck. Which I call the Pentatonic Extention.
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Pentatonic Scale Forms
Get the 5 forms to start practicing the licks.
Practicing Licks With a Looper Pedal
Another great way to practice licks is with a looper pedal. With a looper pedal you can practice your rhythm. As you need to be on time when playing the rhythm. Then you can practice licks and soloing over your rhythm.
First figure out what chords & progression you are going to use. The chords you are going to strum. A Good looper pedal has simple controls. Set to record then play the chords you picked out. Stop the record. Then press play and you have a simple loop. Here is a link to see about the Best looper pedal. I have one and its easy to use and works great.
Now you know what key your in. As a map use the first form of the pentatonic scale and start to practice some licks. Just improvise with the notes that are in the scale.
What Kinds of Licks
Now that you know there are patterns. You can start getting licks. And when you like the sound of them you keep them for the future. How can you keep them? Well one good way is to record your playing. When you come up with something you like. Record it. The easiest way is with your phone. This is a great way to also practice.
When you practice record yourself. Then a month from now. When you play it back. You can check to see how much you have improved.
There are different things that help create the perfect lick. There is no right or wrong when it comes to licks. As long as it sounds good. But you have different techniques that a lick is made up of. Such as Bends, Trills, Vibrato these are just a few things. For a more in-depth look here is what is a Guitar Tab.
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A minor Licks
The Blues Scale is a scale with the 5 Pentatonic notes plus a blues note. This is what gives you that bluesy sound. You will see below the blues scale. See how similar it is to the Pentatonic Scale.
Okay so you are looking at the A minor Blues Scale. On the 5th string. At the 6th fret you have a blues note. The Eb and then the Eb on the 3rd string.
Now you can practice playing with the Blues Note also. To help with your practicing be sure to get the 5 Blues Scale Forms.
Things to Remember When Practicing With a Backing Track
When your playing licks with a backing track you want to have space in between the licks. Air Time. Where you are not playing. Then when you have a lick that sounds good. Then repeat it throughout the song. Or in this case the Track. Don’t forget that you can use bends. Which if you are a beginner could be a little difficult in the beginning. But that’s why it’s called practice.
Simple Blues Licks
There are a lot of simple blues licks. Some that come to mind are memorable bends that you hear in blues songs. I have a few guitar tutorials that show you how to play some licks. Here’s a short List.
- How to Play Alberta by Eric Clapton
- Eric Clapton Wonderful Tonight
- Easy Acoustic Blues Lesson Call and Response
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How to Jam Blues
Start with the 5 Blues Scales. Knowing what notes sound good is the first step. Then you can start saving up licks that will fit into a lot of blues songs. Before you know it you will be playing licks all over the neck. If you want to learn how to play the blues and some cool licks check out the Blues Composition Video Lessons.
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