As guitar players we know we’re all influenced by the music of horn players! But how do we go about integrating these sounds into our guitar lines and improvisation? Check out these lessons from Bill Evans’ 30 Sax Licks for Guitar You MUST Know, in which Bill will infuse your playing with versatile, tasty saxophone licks that will majorly spice up your own guitar improvisations. Bill invited his long-time friend and frequent bandmate, Mike Stern to contribute to the course by demonstrating Bill’s sax licks on the guitar. Once you’re hooked, you’ll want to head online to check out even more!

Sax Lick #1: Blues Bop

Download the tab & notation for this sax lick for guitar.

As in most of the lines we’ll be playing, lay back into the groove. Everything swings more that way. The first bar is like a pick up bar leading toward the major/minor 3rd note. Emphasize those notes (B and Bb) when you play the line. There’s a 2 beat break, then an answer to the first 2 bars. You can sometimes leave out a few notes in the line (I call them ghost notes) and see how it sounds. For instance, leave out the 2nd through 7th notes in the second bar while playing the line.

Sax Lick #3: Hiccup Now

Download the tab & notation for this sax lick for guitar.

This is a blues lick with a couple of intervallic jumps, which gives the line some tension. Here I want you to lay back when you play it. Try to even get behind the beat for practice. Blues and jazz alike sound the best when laying back and swinging. Have fun experimenting with trills, turnaround, etc. on these.

Sax Lick #6: Hendrix Triplets

Download the tab & notation for this sax lick for guitar.

This a very twisty line that can sound good with just about any kind of music; blues or jazz especially. Why? Because it’s very chromatic. Anything chromatic is great for most keys, you really only need to know what key the line is pointing to when you get to the last note. Lay on the b5 on this line, and really lay back as well (like most of the lines).

Sax Lick #16: Going Out There

Download the tab & notation for this sax lick for guitar.

When you play a line using a lot of chromatics, make sure you play something at the end of the line that brings it back into the key. That’s what I tried to write with this line. The 3rd and 4th bar bring it back in. You should try combining part of line 15 with line 16 and vice versa. Mix and match. Also try to play some of the line fast, and some half time. Get a feel for playing it in different tempos as well. Chromatics are a great way to get inside a chord, just make sure you get back “in” at the end. Back into the original key that is!

Sax Lick #26: Double Note

Download the tab & notation for this sax lick for guitar.

This is a simple “scalier” type line. It ascends up in a major scale and then goes down. For sure play this in all 12 keys. You can start by playing the first measure and repeating it in 12 keys, then do the same with the 2nd measure. After they feel comfortable to you separately, put them together. When it becomes easy, play the line fast, slow, turn eighth notes into sixteenth notes, etc. Have fun with it!

All of the licks are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. Plus, Bill generously includes all of the rhythm tracks for you to work with on your own. So sax up your jazz, blues and rock licks with Bill Evans and the full course online!