HTI Keeping track of Licks

Discussion in 'How To Improvise Blues Solos' started by Mr.Scary, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. Mr.Scary

    Mr.Scary A Blues Legend in My Own Mind

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    In Griffs new course he says to say out loud the licks when you play them. Well whats happens when you get to the Quick change in D solo then the slow Blues licks.They are all numbered by licks for each solo Lick1 Lick 2 etc.
    you guys that have others memorized . Do you just know don't number them anymore or what.
    How do you organize these in your head?
     
  2. Rancid Rumpboogie

    Rancid Rumpboogie Blues Mangler

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    Mr. Scary, when I learn a new lick, I take note of what box it is in and where it belongs in the progression. Then I play on the porch using it along with all the other licks I know, in every combination and at every tempo (fast blues, slow blues, in-between). I don't number them. And I also remember them by their fingering patterns, not by the notes in them. Using them that way in a playing on the porch fashion hammers them into long term memory. It also puts into long term memory which other licks it works well with. I spend probably 10 times longer doing this than it takes to learn the lick in the first place, and the more licks I know, the longer it takes. But if I don't do it I will forget that lick in a day or two. It also keeps all of my other licks in memory. That's just me. Others may have other ways of remembering their licks.

    And I find that after a while, a good share of my licks are permanently in memory / muscle memory ... like riding a bicycle. I can not play at all for a solid month or more and still remember them. Some of my old country licks I still remember after not playing them for 20 years.

    Another thing is that playing on the porch with them not only gets them into long-term memory, it allows me to literally hear them in my head just before actually playing them when I am improvising.
     
    #2 Rancid Rumpboogie, Dec 19, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  3. MikeS

    MikeS Moderator... Another Man In Black.
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    Where in the course is the statement that you are talking about? I don't remember hearing that (but I haven't been all the way through ALL the courses).

    In all deference to RR (Because I'm a lot more like him than I am Griff), If Griff says to do it, then do it. His years of experience teaching hundreds of private students and thousands of online students at all levels of learning, trumps anything that works for one (or in my case 2) individuals.

    I completely agree with RR that there are people out there that have played so long that they don't need to follow Griff suggestions precisely, but there are FAR more students that really NEED to follow Griff's suggestions.

    I can tell you that, like RR, I rarely count. However; Give a listen to Griff's solos then listen to mine. Who do YOU want to sounds like?
    It's a no brainer. Do what Griff says.
     
    #3 MikeS, Dec 21, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
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  4. Rancid Rumpboogie

    Rancid Rumpboogie Blues Mangler

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    I agree to follow Griff's suggestions. When it comes to learning licks, I follow his methods to a "T". What I said above has nothing to do with learning them, it's only about how I remember them. Never said anything about counting in there either. :) I have said elsewhere in the forum that I rarely count any more, and I don't, but for anyone who hasn't gotten there yet, what Griff says about it in his "How to improvise a blues solo" course is absolutely critical.

    My own personal "playing on the porch" approach is only an approach for me to remember them after I have learned them. But it also is a great help for me to learn when, where and how to use them. I am not suggesting that this method is "best" for everybody ... it's just what works best for me.
     
    #4 Rancid Rumpboogie, Dec 21, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  5. Griff

    Griff Chief Cook And Bottle Washer
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    What's funny is that, in your own way, this is exactly the process I outline in the course. Just goes to show you that at some level, everyone does it the same way no matter what we all call it or what it looks like in detail.

    What you're calling "playing on the porch style" is basically steps 1 and 2 of my 4 steps to mastery... and if you do that enough and have enough experience, you can pretty much skip steps 3 and 4 which you probably do currently.

    As to Mr. Scary's point... you can call them whatever you want, you don't have to use lick 1, lick 2, lick 3, etc. In fact, if you can have some sort of more descriptive name (that makes sense to you, it doesn't have to make a lick of sense to another living soul on this planet) that might help you a lot in assimilating the licks long term.

    I had to use numbers to make a point in the demonstration - it's a common denominator for everyone to understand. In the real world I think of ideas like - "triplets starting on beat 2 and moving into the IV chord." That would make a lot more sense to me.

    Over time, you'll also find that every lick you know has some unique feature, and as you get better at noticing that unique feature, you'll call that lick because of that unique feature.

    Think of your licks like your own personal army of musical soldiers where each one does a lot of the same stuff, but most of them all do 1 thing especially well. The better you get at identifying that one thing and exploiting it to your advantage, the better things will sound. So always be on the lookout for the feature of a lick that makes it great - and again it only has to make sense to you.
     
  6. Rancid Rumpboogie

    Rancid Rumpboogie Blues Mangler

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    Yes, Griff, your course says to take note of where the lick is in the progression as well as what box it is in.

    But as for how to remember them, my "mind" is compartmentalized by boxes. Any given lick goes into the "storage vault" for the box that lick is in. And there are licks that lead from one box to another, and those get stashed in the "storage vault" of the box in which they start. I don't call my licks anything at all ... no names, no numbers. Not saying that one shouldn't do that, just that I don't. I rely on playing on the porch with them until I can literally hear them in my head before I play them, and when I hear them that way I simultaneously see their fingering pattern in my head. For me, improvising is much like talking. When you're talking, you have an idea you want to express. And you have a vocabulary of hundreds if not thousands of words you can use. And your mind works at light speed to choose from those words and build sentences to express what you want to express. The words don't have names, they are just words. You have used them enough to know what they "sound like" and "what they mean" and "what other words they go with" and all that. So, for me at least, improvising is not a "thinking" and "remembering" thing at all, it is just a "doing" thing. Hard to explain.
     
  7. Griff

    Griff Chief Cook And Bottle Washer
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    I agree, and I'm in a similar boat in that I imagine a sound and it comes out - just like talking where I think of what I want to say and it comes out.

    The challenge for me is explaining how to get to that place... and that's what my job is all about :)
     
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  8. Rancid Rumpboogie

    Rancid Rumpboogie Blues Mangler

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    Yes, it is very difficult to explain what our minds do and how they do it. You know you are doing something, you do it all the time, and yet when someone asks how you do it, you draw a blank or struggle with how to explain it. Like trying to teach someone to ride a bicycle with words alone. You could write a book about it, but until they actually DO it for THEMSELVES they won't really understand or be able to ride that bike.
     
  9. BoogieMan

    BoogieMan Blues Junior

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    This to me is the key that unlocks improvising. Hearing it in your head and then letting it flow through your fingers. Unfortunately I don't think this is a teachable skill. Only experience can do that.
     
    #9 BoogieMan, Dec 22, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
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  10. HotLks

    HotLks Blues - it's in me and it's got to come out.

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    I agree. At some point we have to begin teaching ourselves.

    See you down the road! :thumbup:
     
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  11. JPsuff

    JPsuff Satisfaction is complacency

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    Let's not overlook DNA.

    I believe there is such a thing as natural ability and no amount of teaching or learning can substitute for that.
    Put another way, one could painstakingly facet and polish a piece of quartz until it shines like a diamond, but it will never BE a diamond because it didn't start out as a diamond and I think the same logic applies to natural musical ability -- you're either born with it or you're not. That doesn't mean that people can't be taught to play an instrument sufficiently well enough to be able to play songs and have fun doing so. Quite the contrary --- millions of people do just that and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    But I think there is a definable difference between a true musician and a person who can simply play an instrument on a competent level. Anyone can be taught where to place a note or how many beats that note requires or any number of other functional skills. But I believe it takes a certain inborn genetic wiring for someone to truly take those notes and make them sound musical --- particularly in an improvisational way --- and that is indeed unteachable.
     
  12. sdbrit68

    sdbrit68 Student Of The Blues

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    this will probably be a dumb question, but.......I also have a hard time counting on licks, rhythm is fairly straight forward.

    When you say playing on the porch, are you referring to that specific course ?
    I just finished that one
     
  13. HotLks

    HotLks Blues - it's in me and it's got to come out.

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    Playing On The Porch is often referred to here as a general concept. That's when you play around with many things you know to build rhythm lines and solo lines, try out improvisation ideas. It's to build familiarity and skills from your vast knowledge of stuff.

    Stuff is a technical term. I'm not sure I know the exact definition of it. Maybe someone else can help out on this point.

    See you down the road! :thumbup:
     
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  14. Silicon Valley Tom

    Silicon Valley Tom It makes me happpy to play The Blues!

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    Stuff? It is what it is. Also, it is what you want it to be! You can be exclusive or inclusive. :)

    Tom
     
  15. sdbrit68

    sdbrit68 Student Of The Blues

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    For some reason, when people said playing on the porch......I would take they key the licks were in, and do the same rhythm from the playing on the porch videos