5 Common Pentatonic Guitar Licks You Need To Know

One of the challenges the intermediate guitar player faces is knowing what to play when it is time for them to improvise a guitar solo. To begin, I recommend working on your vibrato and slides along with a few sequences as you can get a lot of mileage out of each these things. However, there are still some tried-and-true guitar lessons that get used over and over again that can provide a great launching pad for your improvisational development.

Example 1 gives us a classic Chuck Berry style rock lick that begins with a whole-step bend at the 14th fret of the third string. You can also use a half-step bend for a slightly different twist.

Example 1-2 for Eric bourassa article

With your index finger, barre the 12th fret on strings one and two.

In Example 2, we have a hammer-on/pull-off combination that can be executed at extremely high speeds with very little effort.

Example 3 is kind of a combination of Examples 1 and 2. This is similar to something Randy Rhoads would have played.

Example 4 is the simplest to play of all the examples, but with simplicity comes the responsibility to play with a high degree of skill as well. Make sure your bend is completely in tune and that your vibrato sounds totally killer. Again, you can use a half-step bend in place of the whole-step bend. You can choose to make your bend and release quick or slow. Personally, I prefer a very quick “whip-like” feel that has a lot of aggression to it.

Examples 3-4 for eric bourassa article

Finally, we get to a really dirty sounding rock lick in Example 5 that is equally at home in country music as it is in heavy metal. Play the bend and hold it at its peak. While this note continues to ring, use your ring finger or pinky of the fretting hand to grab the 15th fret on the second string.

Example 5 for eric bourassa article

While this note continues to ring, pluck the bent note that is still ringing once more and release and make sure both notes continue to ring the entire time.


About the Author: Eric Bourassa lives in Fort Worth, Texas, where he runs two guitar schools with comprehensive guitar lessons programs. He enjoys long walks on the beach and weird 80’s wizard metal like Blind Guardian.