Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Guitar lesson: Pushin' Guitar Licks!

Ok, we’ve learned some licks. But who says you HAVE to play G licks over G chords?! Now it’s time to blur the chord borders and take our licks to new territories!


I never really realized that the G, C, and D penatonic scales all only contain the notes of the G major scale! Do you think that’s why the 1, 4, 5 has become such a common and natural chord progression?


Yeah, that’s one way of looking at it. Throw the 6 chord in there and you have the vast majority of songs covered. In the key you gave (G) look at the E minor scale. Do those notes seem familiar? :slight_smile: Same notes, just a different place to start.

I haven’t been through this lesson yet, but look forward to it. I get myself lost pushing and pulling things, so I definitely need this lesson.


Sounds cool. Could this ruffle feathers at a jam you are not a regular and they are used to playing straight. What bands do this a lot at the risk of over doing it. I would like to hear some examples to get used to recognizing the effect. Can it be used in a waltz or mainly fast instrumentals.


I say go for it. This is just my opinion, but to me, a jam where innovative playing results in ruffled feathers is not a jam, but a recital. :wink:


This is a common practice in bluegrass, swing, & fiddle tunes now a days.

It can go even further when you start substituting chords.

It’s simply a useful option.

It all depends on what style you mean to emulate. Back in the 50s & 60s most lead players on country/bluegrass/fiddle tune recordings would utilize the scale of the chord they are under right up until the chord change.

As people started experimenting more lead players started playing ahead of the progression and telegraphing what was to come, much like a bass player, or guitar will use a bass run, or chord change to lead into the next chord.


This is exactly what I needed. Thank you


Very cool! Impressive how you can master everything. Congratulations and thank you so much for giving us your talent so that we can learn from a true master who is you, Ben.:+1:


Thanks for this lesson Ben.

I’ve been trying to teach myself how to improvise and have been doing this sort of thing for a while, where you would indicate to another player (or yourself, where you are trying to head to with the next chord change).

I got the idea from another YouTuber guitarist, called Silly Moustache, who did a video on how to use bass line walking ideas to indicate which chord you would use next in your rhythm playing. I just guessed that this approach would work when soloing too, and found that if I used notes that would outline the next chord then I could describe where I was headed before the change and was pleased with the effect.

I’ve only been able to develop this idea with my freestyle noodling, so the outcomes would vary in success and it was hard to analyse what I’d done after or to predictably repeat. So thanks for this lesson, you’ve given me a logical framework that I can build upon and make progress in an understandable way.

All the resources on your site that I’ve used so far have been very helpful and are well thought out. I am gaining a great deal of insight into my own playing and how your very creative approach can be used to gain a better understanding of the way you can use these licks to twist the listeners ear in an pleasing and tasteful way. How is possible to try and say something, rather than just fill the space with a lick that you already know works.

So thank you once again, I am learning a lot from your lessons!


Neat! I have never thought of it that way either but that is a good point. This was a great Lesson :slight_smile:


All of Ben’s licks lessons are very clever and useful

He’s got a way of writing out tabs that look deceptively simple but are filled with a great deal to explore in your own playing.

I keep spotting areas where I am technically falling short, not fully exploring or haven’t well developed smoothly into my playing

His exercises are and so well thought out - I have a lot to learn - too much at times

But I’ll keep trying!


I do go on… so I apologize to any other forum users

But I am getting so much from Ben’s licks lessons

The fact that they are based on a I - IV - V progression - G,C,D in this case

I’d love to request more of these types of lessons with a C,F,G or a D,A,G emphasis too.

I have personally been playing been more and more without a capo - because I like using as much of the fret board restate and the bass notes you lose access to when capo-ed up (Don’t get me wrong - I am not an expert at it but enjoy it)

I also keep working on the CAGED system so if I move up or down the neck I am always trying to tie together closed versions of licks I know work when playing open. It’s not easy but Ben’s work helps me out a lot…

Anyway just an idea…


Thanks yet again for these Ben - I’ve started to get on top your recommend pick management for most of your licks lessons. For me that was mainly ornamentation stuff and keeping my timing

These particular licks are going pretty smoothly now - Though I’ve had to work hard.

They are brilliant to use and I’d recommend them to intermediate and advanced players. It’s a bit like being able to put a steering wheel on your playing. I’m starting to recognize so many opportunities to exploit the “neutral” nature of them - I was able to weave in a simple version of the crawdad song melody – Changing the chord progression of course. It was very basic but I felt like I knew what I doing and didn’t sound like a novice - so thank you so much.

Maybe I’m wrong in describing them like vamps – I have a rudimentary understanding of the theory side but the part about explaining the major third as the anchor for the lick has really helped be understand how you add or imply the underlying chords flavor. If you ever get the time - and you know lots of licks just like this - publish them and I’ll play em till the cows come home - Lots of fun!

I think I am beginning to understand how you can push these, or any lick in a direction of your choosing - towards any chord or melody perhaps . I’ll have to work on it but I think it is a bit of break through for my playing. So I’ve had my money’s worth from my short subscription already. I’ve got lots of work to do to actually absorb and use this info well, but I suppose that’s why I came?

I’ve got a lot to still learn and discover but more lesson like these please!

(When you get the chance)

PS - I’ve only just discovered the pushing rhythm lesson - so I know I’ll also have lot to be able to work on with a C,F,G rhythm structure - So feel free to ignore my earlier request

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