Ok, I call this lick my “kitchen sink lick” because it’s got alot of stuff in it!
If you’d rather just go ahead and play it, be my guest. I’m going to go into quite a bit
of detail here, so hang on…
This lick is mostly a combination of A minor blues and A mixolydian.
Here are the formulas for both scales, using A major for reference…
A Major 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
A B C# D E F# G# A
A minor blues 1 b3 4 #4 5 b7 1
A C D D# E G A
(Another way of looking at a minor blues scale is that it’s just minor pentatonic plus one note – #4.)
A mixolydian 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 1
A B C# D E F# G A
Most of you reading this will probably at least know the basic A minor pentatonic pattern starting with the 1st finger on the A on the 5th fret of the 6th string. As you go through this lick, use that pattern as your frame of reference.
The A on the 5th fret of the 6th string will be number 1 in the pattern. From there, as you go left to right across the strings up to the 8th fret of the 1st string, the pattern will be: b3(C) 4(D) 5(E) b7(G) 1(A) b3(C) 4(D) 5(E) b7(G) 1(A) and finally, b3(C) on the 8th fret.
Ok, let’s get to the lick… The first 3 notes are a triplet figure that uses a chromatic passing tone – 7(G#) – to go from the b7(G) to the 1(A) at the 7th fret. A “chromatic passing tone” is just a note that takes you from one note in the scale to another note that’s also in the scale.
The second triplet brings us to the blues scale, where we have the b3-4-#4 sequence which is played with a double
hammer on. Smooth! On to the 2nd string for the E at the 5th fret, and then back down the blues scale with a double pull off.
Now, I switch direction quickly and hammer on from the b3 to the natural 3 – I like this sound! Once you hit the natural 3, you’re in Mixolydian land. We continue with the legato sound on to the 2nd string, where you end up with a bend on the 8th fret! Make sure you land that hammer on from the 7th to the 8th fret perfectly, so you can grab that bend. The hammer ons give the lick a bit of flash.
The rest of the lick is all minor pentatonic. I liked this last part because I thought it had a nice contour, or basically jumped around nicely :). Be careful with the bend on the 5th fret of the 3rd string (C-b3). Bend it a little tiny bit – less than a 1/2 step – and it will sound great.
And, to finish it off, I gave it a high octave A like BB King might play. Try sliding out of it after you hit it. I hope you enjoy this lick, let you know if you have any questions!