Learning to weave modal melodies into your soloing is one of the most interesting steps you can take to improve yourself as a guitarist. And having a diverse toolbox of modal guitar licks to choose from is a great place to start.
In his course, 30 Melodic Modal Rock Licks You MUST Know, Jon Finn breaks down modal licks that are extremely versatile, and you can start using in your improvisations and solos right away.
Here are 6 free modal rock lick guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Jon Finn’s 30 Melodic Modal Rock Licks You MUST Know on TrueFire!
Lick #1: Sunny Days
This lick features a small A major chord arpeggio along with the #4th degree of the scale (D#). Since the characteristic note of A Lydian is D# (#4th degree), this note is strongly featured in the first half of the lick.
The second half of the lick gives a musical “answer” to the first half over the B/A chord (B chord with A bass note). Even though the lick is based on a chord shape, it’s important to play each note, one at a time, to be sure that the notes don’t run into each other; especially when using an overdrive tone.
Lick #7 – Seashore
There’s that “D-shaped triangle” again! Y’know, once you realize you’ve hit on something you like, you end up using it a lot! Here, the “triangle” shape outlines a B chord, played against the E chord. Doing this creates a major 7th sound against the E chord. Almost like jazz, but not really. To wrap up, it goes back to some phrases that use more bends. Check the video and the notation for more detail.
Lick #11: Hippity Hop
When I first came up with this lick, I based it on a “free association” thing I do sometimes. Sometimes when improvising, I like to slide around the neck to find cool notes, but also skip to non-adjacent strings to play a few notes, simply to make things a little less predictable.
For this lick, I played the idea over and over until finally I was able to repeat it several times playing it exactly the same way (typically, I would explore the idea when improvising and let it be different every time). Finally, I wrote it down on paper. There are several places where you skip strings to get cool, but unexpected notes. Check the notation and tablature to get the finer details. Practice with the backing track or metronome, then invent your own version of this lick!
Lick #16: City Strut
Note that this lick uses a “swing 16ths” feel, creating a funkier, nastier feel.
Throughout the lick, you mostly play a C minor pentatonic scale while adding the characteristic note of C Dorian (which is the note A, the natural 6th degree) when appropriate. It ends with an arpeggio on the F9 chord. Check the notation and tablature to get the finer details. Practice with the backing track, then invent your own version of this lick!
Lick #23: Rock Climbing
As you watch the video, you’ll realize that most of this lick is based on arpeggios and chord tones. Things like this make a good case for learning scales, chords, and arpeggios all over the fretboard. It gives you tons of choices. Check the notation and tablature to get the finer details. Practice with the backing track, then invent your own version of this lick!
Lick #27: Matador
“Matador” is in F# Phrygian. It starts with a typical Spanish type theme incorporating 1/2 steps. The second one starts on F# to the b2. Next, it bends from C# to D back to C# 14th fret then a 16th note run. The next measure, you play an F# against a G chord which changes the sound. To finish the phrase, there are a series of notes played off the beat going downwards on the F# Phrygian scale.
Digging these free melodic modal rock lick guitar lessons? Check out 30 Melodic Modal Rock Licks You MUST Know.