Are you tired of not being able to play cool guitar licks? Wish you knew the process for coming up with your own awesome guitar soloing ideas? Fact is, a lot of guitar players have this same problem and are never able to solve it. Why is this?... because they believe that great guitar licks are only made from choosing the ‘right notes’. Regardless of which notes you choose, making killer guitar licks requires that you understand HOW to use the notes you are playing in a highly expressive manner.

In a few moments, you will discover just how easy it is to make your own guitar licks sound killer regardless of the notes you are using. Additionally, you are going to learn how to get better at coming up with awesome guitar licks any time you sit down to play guitar.

Before reading any further, learn how to play cool guitar licks by watching a video demonstration of the concepts in this article. By watching the video, you will MASSIVELY increase your ability to absorb the ideas and use them to improve your own guitar playing. Additionally, the video will help you get the most value from the lead guitar phrasing exercise you will find below. Check out the video now, then come back to read the rest of this article.

Now that you’ve checked out the demonstrations in the video above, use this five step exercise to start playing killer guitar licks:

Step 1: Begin by choosing a guitar lick that you can already play well (or improvise a new one). This lick can be made from any scale or musical style. Then, play it 3-5 times.

Step 2: The video you watched contains various demonstrations where I show you how to creatively accent the final note of a phrase using slides. Watch the video closely and write down each variation you see in a list (using pen and paper). Beside each variation, write down a few words to describe each idea so you will remember what it sounds like. This part of the exercise is very important to do on your own (vs. me ‘giving’ you this list) because you must train yourself to pay attention to detail when you listen to (and come up with) guitar phrasing ideas. By doing this, you will learn how to reproduce the ideas on your own much easier. This is why I have not simply provided you with a list of all the different variations in the video. Watch the video several times if you did not complete your list after watching it once.

Step 3: Now it is time to transform your guitar phrase from step one into a great guitar lick. With the list you just made, ornament the final note in your guitar lick using any of the slide variations you wrote down. You will quickly notice that your lick sounds much more powerful due to the new approach you are using to emphasize the end of the phrase. Once you have tried all of the different variations from your list (that you saw me do on the video), start coming up with your own unique variations using the same concept. This simple, yet powerful phrasing concept can give you tons of new ideas to enhance your guitar licks. Challenge yourself to think of as many new variations as possible. As you do this, add your new ideas to the list you made in the previous step.

Step 4: Now that you have many more variations in your list, create even more ideas by combining slides together with bends/vibrato. Watch the video above to see exactly how to combine a slide with heavy vibrato/bending to accent the final note in your phrase. As you did in step two, write down the different variations you observe by using a short descriptive sentence to help you remember the way each one feels. Once you have done this, repeat the same process from step three and come up with your own unique ideas using slides, bends and vibrato to emphasize the final note of your phrase. By doing this, you will give yourself MANY new ideas that will transform your guitar licks to make them sound better than ever! Next, play one of the new variations you made and compare it to the guitar lick from the first step in this exercise. You will see a BIG improvement in the overall quality and intensity of the two licks.

Step 5: Once you have performed the previous steps, think of three new lead guitar licks and repeat this exercise.

After you complete this exercise several times, it will become much easier for you to play great guitar licks with little effort.

Additionally, do not limit yourself to ‘only’ emphasizing the final note of your lead guitar licks with the ideas in this article. Although emphasizing this note is certainly a great way to make your phrases sound better (since the last note is often the one that stands out the most), you can also apply the same idea to enhance any of the other notes in your licks. In the next part of this article series I will show you how to do this.

Become a better lead guitar player and write better guitar licks by checking out these free guitar video lessons.

Author's Bio: 

Tom Hess is a professional touring musician, recording artist and online guitar teacher who teaches guitarists from all over the world in his online guitar lessons. On his website,, you can get additional free tips about guitar playing, guitar playing resources , mini courses and surveys.