Category Archives: Tom Hess

How To Play Kick Ass Guitar Licks Quickly And Easily – Part 1

Wish you could play killer guitar licks every time you pick up your guitar? The truth is many guitar players think that great guitar licks are made by playing specific notes or scales. However, this usually not the case. As you will find out in this article (and video), the key to playing killer guitar phrases is focusing on ‘how’ you play… not necessarily which notes you use.

In a few moments, you will discover just how easy it is to make your own guitar licks sound killer regardless of the notes you are using. On top of that, you will find out how to do this every single time you play guitar.

Before you continue reading, watch this killer guitar solo video so you can see and hear exactly how the ideas of this article are to be played. By watching the video, you will MASSIVELY increase your ability to absorb the ideas and use them to improve your own guitar playing. Additionally, the video will help you get the most value from the lead guitar phrasing exercise you will find below. Check out the video now, then come back to read the rest of this article.

Now that you have seen the demonstrations in the video, implement the following steps to empower your guitar licks:

Step 1

Think of a lead guitar lick that you can play accurately. The lick you select can be in any style, using any notes. Alternatively, improvise a new (short) guitar lick. Then play through this lick a few times.

Step 2

As you watch the guitar licks video above, you will see how I use slides in several different ways to emphasize the last note in a guitar phrase. Grab a piece of paper and write out a list of descriptions of how to perform all the different variations you observe in the video (use a single sentence or less to describe each one). Writing this down and thinking about it on your own is more valuable than me ‘giving’ you the list of variations to practice because it trains you to actively listen for and pinpoint subtle guitar phrasing ideas on your own. When you describe how each slide variation feels, simply use descriptive words that will help you remember the idea itself (the words themselves are not that important). If you need to, watch the video several times until you have completed your list.

Step 3

To change your lead guitar lick from the first step into a KILLER guitar lick, use the slide variations in your list from the previous step to accent the final note of the phrase. By simply changing the way you play the final note of the lick, you will notice that each new variation sounds MUCH more powerful than the original phrase. Once you have tried all of the different variations from your list (that you saw me do on the video), start coming up with your own unique variations using the same concept. There are countless ways that you can accent a note using this phrasing concept. Be creative and try to come up with at least 5-10 variations. Next, add all of your new ideas to the list you began in step two (with descriptions) and play through them all several times.

 

Step 4

To expand upon the different variations in your list from the previous step, you will now add even more intensity into your phrase by applying vibrato/bending to the last note after approaching it with a slide. Use the video as a reference for new ideas and write down a short description for each new bend/vibrato variation you see. Then think of your own ideas (just like you did in the previous step). This will give you even more phrasing options to enhance your creative possibilities. Next, play one of the new variations you made and compare it to the guitar lick from the first step in this exercise. You will see a BIG improvement in the overall quality and intensity of the two licks.

 

Step 5

After you have enhanced a single lead guitar lick using this exercise, repeat the previous steps with several other licks you are familiar with.

After you complete this exercise several times, it will become much easier for you to play great guitar licks with little effort.

Since the final note of a guitar lick is often the one that most people notice, you can quickly improve any of your phrases by focusing your efforts on emphasizing this note. However, you can also use the ideas of this article to improve any other note in your guitar licks. In the second part of this article series, I will discuss how to do this in more detail.

In the meantime, use the information in these free video guitar lessons to learn many new approaches that will improve your lead guitar soloing skills.

How To Gain A Lot Of Motivation For Guitar Practice

Have you been experiencing a lack of motivation in your guitar practice? Are you unsure about what and how to practice? Do you wish you could practice guitar effectively and get better results? If so, you are not alone. It take most guitar players many years before they learn how to practice guitar in a way that is both productive and enjoyable.

As a guitar teacher, I come across all kinds of guitar playing issues through my guitar students. Over the years, I have noticed that most of my guitar students have very specific reasons for why they lose motivation for guitar practice. In order to help you increase your motivation, I have created a list of the 5 most common reasons why guitar players are unable to get great results when they practice guitar:

Reason Number 1: Not having fun with guitar practice

Many guitar players have conditioned themselves to believe that guitar practice is nothing more than a boring set of repetitive tasks. If you have this mindset, you are truly misunderstanding the basic idea behind guitar practice. In order to gain motivation to practice your instrument, you must learn how to create an effective practice schedule that helps you enjoy the learning process as you work toward your guitar playing goals. Once you obtain the right tools to create a such a highly productive and inspirational practice schedule, you will find it much easier to have fun with the time you spend practicing guitar. When you learn how to practice guitar so effectively that you see yourself getting better on a regular basis, it becomes much easier to look forward to your next guitar practice session.

 

Reason Number 2: Not sure what needs to be practiced on guitar

The majority of guitar players do not know exactly what they should be practicing and why they should be practicing it. This causes them to attempt learning as many new ideas on guitar as possible. Then, by practicing so many different ideas for guitar at once, the guitarist becomes overwhelmed. This happens because they simply do not give themselves enough time to fully process all the new information they are learning.

 

Reason Number 3: Not focusing enough on long term goals

It takes many years to become a great guitar player. If you want to become a great guitarist, you must clearly determine the best paths to take in order to achieve your long term goals. Once you have clearly identified your long term music goals, you will need to focus on using your guitar practice time effectively to reach them. To illustrate a point, think of each of your guitar practice sessions as separate pieces of a puzzle that make up the big picture of your guitar playing goals. The more clearly you can see the big picture that you are trying to create, the easier it will be to think of ways to effectively practice guitar.

 

Reason Number 4: Losing motivation due to lack of quick progress

Even if you understand the best way to effectively practice guitar, you will not achieve big results overnight. Many guitar players expect instant results when using a new practice method. Unfortunately, when they do not get the quick results they are looking for, they end up abandoning (what might be) a truly effective guitar practice method. This results in inconsistent guitar playing progress since you do not give yourself the time to get the benefits from the guitar practice methods you use. This practicing method is like listening to 15 different songs, but stopping the music after one or two seconds in each song before you can hear what the music is about. When practicing guitar, give your practice methods time to develop so that you can determine whether or not the methods are effective.

 

Reason Number 5: Unorganized and ineffective practicing habits

Most guitarists practice in a totally unorganized and ineffective manner. Unfortunately, they are usually unaware of this and go for weeks, months, or even years at a time using the same ineffective guitar practice methods! One example of a commonly used, yet ineffective method is the idea of using an equal amount of time on every task in your guitar practice. This is just like trying to prepare a dish by using an equal amount of ingredients without thinking about how each of the ingredients will affect the taste of the food. This guitar practice method will cause you to spend too much time on things that are not important to your overall guitar playing progress.

Another mistake that guitarists make during their guitar practice is that they spend a lot of time focusing on the guitar skills they WANT to practice rather than the guitar skills that they NEED to practice in order to achieve their musical goals. This causes their guitar playing skills to become imbalanced. As a result, their weak areas tend to hold back their ability to apply their well developed skills in musical situations.

 

What should you do next?

After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of why you have a hard time staying motivated in your guitar practice. Think about how the guitar practice solutions mentioned above can apply to your current practice routine. Even though this article has only touched on a few of the problems that you might face as you develop your guitar skills, your guitar playing will benefit greatly by applying them in your everyday practice.

 

About The Author

Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar player, composer and the guitarist of the operatic metal band Rhapsody Of Fire. With his online guitar lessons, he has helped guitarists worldwide become better players To improve your guitar skills go to his online guitar instruction website and watch free guitar video lessons, read guitar practice advice, and check out a free guitar soloing lesson.