Five Blues Licks from the Masters

Here are five licks adapted from blues gods to inspire your own solos. Play them as they are, change the rhythm, move them around, use the same shapes. There’s no end to the ways to make them your own.

All the licks are in the key of C. So you can move them around to fit whichever key you’re in.

There’s lots more blues stuff in my How to Play Blues Ukulele ebook if these are your jam.

Skip James Lick

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Skip James might be my favourite blues musician. His music uses simple ideas but he plays them so expressively. This example is based on Devil Got My Woman.

BB King

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BB King was a master of weaving together major and minor elements. This lick based on the intro to Lucille begins with a sweet phrase using the major pentatonic. Then it switches to minor pentatonic for the rest of the lick.

It also has masses of space between the notes to maximise the impact of each note.

Albert King Lick

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This lick based on Born Under a Bad Sign is very versatile. The original includes a few bends. But since bends don’t work so well on nylon strings I’ve replaced them with slides.

John Lee Hooker Lick

John Lee Hooker Lick: 7 second ukulele lesson

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Blues licks often repeat short phrases over and over in a lick. This one based on John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom repeats just two notes. Building up the tension until it’s released at the end of the lick.

“The Lick”

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More jazzy than blues this one. But it has been played by pretty much everyone
(sometimes for five hours straight).

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