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Add Licks to the Blues Riff

Welcome to the eleventh lesson of the Blues Guitar Quick-Start Series. In this lesson, we’re going to take everything we’ve learned in the last ten lessons and put it together. This means we’ll be taking the intermediate 12-bar blues riff and adding some lead licks to it.

This is a pretty challenging thing to do, so you may need to go back to the previous lessons in this series and focus on each technique independently before going through this video lesson. Learning to combine these rhythm and lead guitar parts is really important whether you’re playing with a band, accompanying a singer, or even just playing by yourself.

Go back to the intermediate blues riff. As is, this riff already sounds great. But we can make it sound even better by adding some lead licks in different areas. If you don’t have these riff completely under your fingers, you’ll need to practice it until you get it down.

One thing to keep in mind is that it will change depending on your playing context. If you’re playing with a singer, you want to be careful not to walk on what they are doing. So look for space to add in a lead lick. If you’re not playing with a singer or other lead instrument then you have more freedom to add these licks wherever you want.

Be sure to watch through the video for this lesson so that you can get a better understanding of how adding these licks can sound. When you’re feeling ready, you can pull up one of the jam tracks and practice doing this along to the music. There’s a lot going on here, so you may want to start with the slower jam track first before trying the faster one. You may even want to practice without the jam track first until you get the hang of things.

It’s important to spend a lot of time practicing all these techniques along to music so that you can develop your own internal clock. Having a good sense of rhythm is really important if you ever want to play in a band or with other musicians as well.

In the next lesson, we’ll talk about what you can do to continue learning how to play blues guitar. We’ll also cover a few tips for how to continue on the rest of your guitar journey.