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How to Play 4 Guitar Licks


American blues artist McKinley Morganfield, better known as Muddy Waters, circa 1979
American blues artist McKinley Morganfield, better known as Muddy Waters, circa 1979
Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

­Whether you want to bring down the house with country music, rock or blues, a guitar lick will create the desired effect. Licks, also known as riffs in many musical genres, are arresting little arrangements of notes and chords that give guitar songs and solos their punch. Licks augment guitarists' musical vocabularies and allow them to create their own combinations.

Guitar riffs come in all flavors and combinations. Maybe you want to bend the strings like Muddy Waters, the quintessential bluesman, or play a haunting melodic line from Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary?" Perhaps you've always wanted to emulate the style of the Beatles. If you already know your way around a guitar and want to learn some new licks, this s­eries of video ­tutorials is just what you're looking for.

­This four-part "Lick of ­the Week" series demonstrates guitar licks in a range of levels and styles, starting with a chromatic lick and ending with a Charlie Parker-style jazz riff. After you've mastered each one, you'll get the chance to try out the techniques you've learned on famous songs from Rush and the Beatles.

Click over to the next page to try your hand at a chromatic lick using the Dorian mode.

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