HomeForumsGuitar InstructorsClassic Licks practice strategy

This topic contains 9 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Sonic 6 months ago.

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  • #4856


    I posted this elsewhere, but I think this is a more appropriate spot for it.

    I am totally overwhelmed by the classic licks DVD.

    There is just so much material to go over, and I’m not sure how to approach it. Can one of the instructors, (or one of the students for that mater), explain a manageable way to practice the licks?

    Some questions: How many licks should I be working on daily?
    How much time should I give each lick?
    How many days should I practice a set of licks before learning more?
    Roughly how long would it take to learn them all?

    I know this is a kind of stupid set of questions, but I have tried several times to set up some sort of plan myself, and none of them seem to work.
    I can practice as much as 3 hours a day, but it seems like even that is getting me nowhere.




  • #4861

    Will Flaherty

    Take a few licks at a time. Practice them over different backing tracks and in different keys. Make sure to change the phrasing to match each track. You will find that one lick can sound like 10, just by changing the phrasing.

    Don’t be afraid to change some notes in them, either. Just stick to notes in the scale they’re derived from and it will still work. Do this long enough and eventually, they’ll become your own. This is when you’ll truly have them memorized, because they’re yours now.

    There is no set time table on something like this lesson. My suggestion is to do the above, just a few at a time. Work on stringing them together in different orders, different phrasing and using various notes from the scale to get from one lick to another. Don’t be surprised if the lick eventually sounds nothing like the original… Excellent, because the point is to improvise and adapt them to each situation. Not necessarily play them note for note.

  • #4871


    I think that’s a really good question. I bought Classic Licks three years ago when I first started learning to play, and it quickly became one of my favorite lessons, but I was overwhelmed just like you are. I would watch the video and play along, but never memorized the licks the way Will said. And because of that, I never felt like I “completed” the lesson, and I definitely never got as much out of it as I should.

    I’ve gone back and started watching it again, but still had that same overwhelmed feeling. Will, you definitely have some good advice, playing the licks along with different jam tracks in different keys. When I started the lesson years ago I couldn’t figure out how to do that. I think now I might be ready.

    I might give this lesson another go and follow Will’s suggestions.

  • #4889


    There is no set time table on something like this lesson. My suggestion is to do the above, just a few at a time.

    This is great advice. By taking just a few at a time and really squeezing the juice out of them, you’ll be more likely internalize them and develop ideas about how to use them in your playing. It’s like the difference between memorizing vocabulary for a foreign language versus learning how to speak the language in context.

  • #4922

    Sarah Spisak

    Excellent, Will! Thanks. 🙂

  • #5299


    Will,  always gives spot on easy to get advice…..thx

  • #5312


    Back in the early nineties, I occasionally bought a guitar magazine. Mostly Guitar School and Guitar World. I still have them around somewhere. Several famous guitar players had columns in those mags, people like Marty Friedman, Diamond Darrell, John Pettrucci, respected guitar players. Kirk Hammett (Metallica) had a column in Guitar World. In one of those, he had a simple exercise about phrasing. He had this simple one bar lick in a dozen of variations. Play with timing, bends, double stops, muting, ghost notes, hammer on, pull off. I think that was great advice. Mess with a single bar lick, see what the effect is of what you’re doing and then move on to longer licks.

  • #21910


    About the classic licks being hard. Recent John 5 interview has him saying this:

    I have an arsenal of around 1,000 licks I will play every day.


    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #21915


    Make sure to change the phrasing to match each track. You will find that one lick can sound like 10, just by changing the phrasing

    What does phrasing mean in this context? Can anybody please explain this, preferably with some example?

    I am facing a similar problem, albeit on a much lower level. I am currently working on lick-o-matic at week 17 of the CGC. I am now able to play each of the 18 four-note licks at the specified target speed (I have practiced them individually, one after the other, in very long loops). But I am still far from having these licks internalized and from playing them over a backing track in a suitable manner.


  • #21919


    Sarah, in another thread you asked for ideas about “orientation” videos. How about this topic?

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