How Many Variations Can You Write On ’The Lick“?

Author: Tommaso Zillio

Short story: I write 720 variations on ‘the lick’ and I show you how – and everything I do is reusable for your own melodies and licks.

Long story: You probably already know what ‘the lick’ is. But in case you’ve been living under a rock here it is.

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“The Lick” is a stock phrase that has found its way in several musical styles (though it’s more known in Jazz).

Like the super-well-known guitar Blues “stock licks”, “the lick” has become kinda of a cliche’. Unlike the Blues licks, most people now use ‘the lick’ only in an ironic way.

Case in point, Adam Neely who famously made a video playing ‘the lick’ for 5 hours in a row.

I’m paying my homage to the lick by doing something completely different. Rather than playing the same thing for a long time, I try to do as many different things as I can in a short time.

In this video we create several hundred variations on the lick. and I’m showing you exactly how I’m doing it.

It goes without saying that there are way more ways to create variations. For instance, in the video above I did not make any rhythmic variation (too easy to inflate the number of variations if you change the rhythm)

But in real life, rhythm variations are great! Here are a couple of examples:

And not only that, but here you see also a trick to create new and new phrases on the pentatonic scale. Who said that everything has been played already?

Have fun!

About the Author

Tommaso Zillio is a prog rock guitarist and teacher with a passion for Music Theory applied to Guitar. To know more do not forget to subscribe to his youtube channel.

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