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Lick Archives

Licks and Fills from Right Hand Drive
Ask Damian Erskine

Licks and Fills from Right Hand Drive

In this video from the road, I decided to respond to an email requesting some contextual examples of how I might use a few of the “licks and fills” from my book, Right Hand Drive. After a handful of technical difficulties and the majority of my day off spent filming in a hotel room, I present to you… Real world...

Bass Lick Series: A7 Bass Line with Harmonics (and More)
Bass Lick Series

Bass Lick Series: A7 Bass Line with Harmonics (and More)

In this new bass lick lesson, we’re going to combine harmonics and double stops with a Mixolydian scale fill. First, I’ll play it at full tempo, then around the 1-minute mark, I cover it slowly for you to follow along. Be sure to grab the backing drum track for playing along at full speed.

Talking Technique: Sweet Emotion
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: Sweet Emotion

There’s nothing like starting a song with a cool bass riff. “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith shines a light on the bass for sure! At the very top, we set the tone. To play this riff correctly and in time right out of the box is what it’s all about. How to approach learning something like this? Only playing the riff...

Bass Lick Series: Cool Bluesy Bass Line with Fills in G
Bass Lick Series

Bass Lick Series: Cool Bluesy Bass Line with Fills in G

Here’s a new lick lesson for you, using a good fingering exercise with a Major Pentatonic scale. This is also great for practicing slides and hammer-ons. The fills are mostly Pentatonic, with added flat 3rd (B?) and flat 7th (F). The backing track is a one chord (G7) vamp, but you can transpose it and use it in many blues...

Bass Lick Series: A7?9 Chord Bass Groove with Legato Fill
Bass Lick Series

Bass Lick Series: A7?9 Chord Bass Groove with Legato Fill

The A7?9 chord (referred to by some as the “Jimi Hendrix” chord) is a useful chord to know since you can play both the minor and Major pentatonic over it. Here’s a groove using mostly a minor pentatonic fill in the end, with lots slides, hammerons and pullofs so we get a fluid motion. For the gear heads, I’m playing...

Bass Lick Series: Funky Bass Breakdown in E
Bass Lick Series

Bass Lick Series: Funky Bass Breakdown in E

Here’s another lick to add to your bag of tricks. Once again, I’m using open strings as described in past lessons. This one is a groovy bass line you can play over a E7, E9 or E13 chord using the Em dorian scale with the Major 3rd added (G#). Omit the G# and use it over a minor chord/key. Follow...

Bass Lick Series: Funky Fingerstyle Bass Groove in Dm
Bass Lick Series

Bass Lick Series: Funky Fingerstyle Bass Groove in Dm

Time to add another lick lesson to the series. This time around, our focus is on this funky fingerstyle bass groove, which is in the key of Dm or D7, using mostly the D minor Dorian scale with chromatic connecting notes. This lick also relies heavily on open strings, for fast note doubling (D on open string to D on...

Bass Lick Series: Gospel-Style Bass Groove
Bass Lick Series

Bass Lick Series: Gospel-Style Bass Groove

Last time, we got down and dirty with a overdrive-charged rock bass groove. This time around, we’re going to get a bit more funky with a modern Gospel-style lick, complete with all the slurs and slides. This groove is based on B minor Aolian, which is a great key and mode for this setting, especially on a 5-string bass, which...

Bass Lick Series: Rock Bass with Overdrive
Bass Lick Series

Bass Lick Series: Rock Bass with Overdrive

If you’re looking to rock it out on bass, using an overdrive pedal can really help achieve that edge you need. In this lick lesson, I’m pretty much playing the same bass line repeatedly, but with different note lengths in the different sections: short note duration for verses, and long not duration for the chorus. This lick is in the...

Bass Lick Series: Funky Fingerstyle Bass Groove
Bass Lick Series

Bass Lick Series: Funky Fingerstyle Bass Groove

Changing things up a bit this time around with a funky 5-string bass groove (which can also be played on a 4-string). The fill is based on the Em Dorian scale (E F? G A B C? D) and uses the open strings for a doubling effect. The doubling effect is something we’ve tried before (see: Soul/Funk Fingerstyle Bass Groove...