This week’s lesson is all about soul guitar. These 5 soul guitar licks feature ideas and techniques that are heard all over the classic Motown and Stax records! Guitarists like Robert White and Steve Cropper were amazing at coming up with simple parts that perfectly fit each song. This lesson will show how to take a simple line and harmonize it with intervals. Using thirds, fourths, and sixths to harmonize a line is a extremely common technique in soul guitar playing.

The solo starts with a lick that harmonizes a melody with thirds. A main key to getting the old school, soul sound in your playing is keeping the lines very melodic. Using double stops to harmonize the line is a great way to add interest while still keeping the line simple.

The second lick begins with a pseudo bass line walk up. This is inspired by the guitar intro to the Temptations’ “My Girl”. It also draws from some of the double stop rhythm playing heard from Curtis Mayfield and Jimi Hendrix.

The third lick is uses sixths instead of thirds to harmonize another simple melody. This is another very common tool to use over soul tunes. This technique is all over the early Stax records with guitarist Steve Cropper. The trickiest part of this lick is playing the two note bend in tune. Practicing this bend out of time slowly is best. Make sure the top note only goes up a half step and the bottom goes up a full step.

The fourth lick features even more harmonized melodies (do you notice a pattern?)! This time it is with a combination of fourths and thirds. The key to this line is to make sure you give the full note duration to the quarter notes. Focus on keeping everything smooth and sustained throughout.

The last lick is a bit more of a modern sounding ending line. It uses a combination of chords, hammer-ons, and pull-offs and is heard in a lot of current R&B/gospel music. This is another to practice slowly and focus on keeping everything smooth and sustaining.

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