Lick of the Week No.8: A slightly “exotic” blues lick

This weeks lick is one that I would consider a “blues lick” if I had to pigeon-hole it. However, I regularly use this lick in genres as wide apart as country, metal, jazz, and (of course) blues. The inclusion of a little diminished run adds a slightly exotic feel to it, I think.

If you’re not familiar with diminished runs & arpeggios, they’re really quite simple in nature. All you do is pick a note to begin on (I’m using C#) and move away from that note in 3 fret steps. Therefore, my diminished run in this lick goes: C# to A# to G to E to C# to A#. Why this works over an A7 chord is because A7 is made up of the notes A C# E G. It’s simply that A# in the lick, which clashes a little with the A in the A7 chord that provides the small amount of tension we perceive as “exotic”. Sure… if you played an A# note and sat on it over the top of an A7 chord, it would sound HORRIBLE! But the point is, that you’re not staying on the A# “wrong” note long enough for it to sound “wrong”. In this context it just adds colour.

Anyway… here’s the lick demonstrated:


I hope you enjoyed this & can find a home for it in your vocabulary of licks. If you live on Teesside and would like some tailored, one-to-one tuition, then get in touch via the link to my tuition site below.

Until next time… Have fun!


John Robson Guitar Tuition

John Robson… Guitarist


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