Tom Richardson is back again with another finger-twisting ‘Lick of the Week’. Every other Wednesday Tom will publish a new lick lesson in video format along with a brief description and tabs. These licks are aimed mainly at the intermediate and advanced level players, so get your game faces on!
If you have missed previous lessons then be sure to check out the ‘Lick of the Week‘ archives. Also make sure to subscribe to the LeftyFretz YouTube Channel to make sure you get your fortnightly fix of left handed guitar licks from Tom
Lick of the Week Lesson 31
Lick 31 shows how to add colour and variation to a minor pentatonic scale by adding just one extra note! The note in question is the 6th interval. In A Minor this is F#. Adding this one note gives us a Dorian flavour.
Minor Pentatonic – 1 b3 4 5 b7
Dorian – 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
As shown above, all the notes in the pentatonic are found in the Dorian scale so we can dip in to this scale and choose any note that doesn’t already appear. The 6th is a good choice as this is what gives the Dorian mode its sound.
When coming up with licks using the Pentatonic scale in this way, you can either figure out what the note is and where it is located on the fretboard before hand or you can learn to visualise the interval shape of a 6th against the root. This is like visualising scale shapes or chord shapes except for intervals and makes improvising a lot easier.
In the tab, the 6ths can be found at the 7th fret of the B string and the 4th fret of the D string. Try playing around with the lick without these two notes and it’s just a simple pentatonic idea but adding the F# changes the sound a lot!
Compared to the other minor modes, the Aeolian and Phrygian modes are the same as the Dorian but with a b6 instead. Therefore if we wanted an Aeolian sound, we could target the b6 instead of the 6.
Aeolian – 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Likewise the same could be done for Phrygian
Phrygian – 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
If you really want to get the Phrygian sound, adding the b2 instead of the b6 will achieve a closer sound.
If you’re struggling to get this lick down then leave a question below and we’ll get back to you. If you manage to nail this lick then consider leaving a video response for us on YouTube.
Also be sure to check out more of Tom’s playing on his YouTube channel