Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Mandolin lesson: Bag O' Licks in A

Need help jamming or creating solos in the key of A? What about playing fill licks in a classic Monroe tune? Learn these licks to help you get a foot in the game.

Golly, Ben, this seems way over my head! I’m putting the time in to learn the licks, and can get most of them. But stringing them together is making my eyes glaze over (and my head hurt)!
Can you recommend anything for me to do to keep my interest in this? I know this is important to learn. Would it help me to just put some of these licks in common tunes for awhile? Just get familiar with them and later come back to stringing them together?
Thanks! Marian

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“Would it help me to just put some of these licks in common tunes for awhile?”

Exactly what this lesson is for…this is why it’s called “bag of licks”…You’re being given choices of licks to choose from to help you create “go to” licks that you can use over the designated chord/key when/where ever you choose to.

The lesson itself, by stringing the licks together in different orders is simply an example of some of the ways you could use these licks.


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Yes, precisely what @fiddle_wood said. These lessons are not for you to play like I do in the preview. I’m simply displaying the lessons for you. The point is to take the licks, or a lick, and work on installing it into an arrangement or solo of a song you like to play.

Hi Marian, This is one of those lessons that builds your knowledge and skill level, Take it slowly, work on one lick at at time. If a lick is too difficult break it down to a half measure, As you learn each lick try joining two licks together then three and so on. Work at your own pace. As you work your way through @BanjoBen 's learning track what you learn here will help prepare you for more advanced material later on. Whatever you do don’t let the lesson frustrate you, Take a break and move on to something more manageable you can always come back tomorrow and try again. Baby steps,