Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Mandolin lesson: Bag O' Licks in G

This lesson teaches you 8 different G licks, and 4 licks each of C, D, and E minor. We then learn how to put them together over an “example” chord progression, but most importantly, I teach you how to apply them to songs YOU play in the key of G! The number one request I get from my students is to learn how to solo in different keys, which is why my “Bag O’ Licks” lesson series are by far the most popular I’ve done.

I assume the first and best thing to do is memorize the licks. All of them? Or concentrate on say 2 licks until they are so. ingrained that you can instinctively plug them in? Priority?

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That’s an excellent question that I’d be interested in hearing answers to. I’ve been struggling with adding new licks to my automatic bag. Like, how does one take a new lick and make it as automatic during play time as the G lick? There are so many licks that I’ve learned, but then none of them come to mind when I start playing.

Reminds me of the fly fisherman, the flies in his box are not there to catch fish they are there because they lure the fisherman into buying them because the fisherman thinks they look pretty in the box and he/she want’s to impress his rivals

That’s a pretty adequate analogy.

+1 on the interest in hearing answers. I have a hard time remembering more than a handful of licks. I think it has worked best for me when I memorize one and then add on another and work on them in sequence. Sort of like adding blocks onto a foundation. Although then it can be equally challenging to break them apart and reconstruct them in new ways.

Sometimes I wish that repeating the G-run over and over again for 16 bars was an effective solo.

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Great question. I advise owning one at a time. Take one of the licks, whichever is your most favorite, and play over some changes and using it all you can.

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YouTube search “an incredible country solo from one simple lick” and your wish will come true

Whoa. Mind blown. This video also unfortunately reignites my long time desire to get a Telecaster.

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This was my first foray into country guitar, and is actually pretty easy to play. To help stay on topic, this solo helped me to learn licks and geography up the neck, much like the bag of licks series. I’ve found I can only retain two licks per day, unless they are a coherent solo

Ha! It’s my first guitar lead reincarnated!

This is almost exactly what my uncle first taught me how to do for playing lead guitar…I’ve retained the concept through the years and found it quite helpful.

I normally take it one rif at a time and try it in as many places, chords, and positions as I can imagine it going before moving on to the next.

I used to have a friend I played with very regularly who did the same as me with lick replacement…we used to joke back and forth about the other having a new “lick of the day” when we’d recognise the other repeating something new over and over in several different places while jamming.

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Music theory question: Why does the C lick uses Bb? Just for color with min7?

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HI Duane, @h3teroerectus Welcome to the forum!

Flatted 7ths are used a often in bluegrass. ( like flatted 3rds)

It gives a “bluesier” feel to things.

IF you keep all the notes major it creates a “happy” sound.


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Good Morning Ben,
This video is interesting and helpful in getting together a library of licks to build into a solo.
It’s well made and produced.
Do you have any objections if I download the instructional video so that I can slow down and loop the licks as I learn…?


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That’s fine, thanks for your support of the site!

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