We’ve all heard our favorite guitarists talk about how much horn players influence their playing. Listen to any of the great jazz, blues or rock guitarists and you’ll hear improvisational approaches and lines inspired — if not copped directly – from the lines of great saxophone and horn players like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter to the more contemporary players like Branford Marsalis, the Brecker Brothers, Clarence Clemons and Bill Evans.

These free guitar lessons are from Bill Evans’ 30 Sax Licks for Guitar featuring Mike Stern and will infuse your playing with 30 versatile, tasty saxophone licks that will majorly spice up your own improvisations. Bill cherry-picked this collection just for jazz, blues and rock guitarists who can then tweak, twist and combine them to make them their own. Check out the full course for more like these!

Sax Lick for Guitar #1: Blues Bop

Download the tab & notation for this lesson.

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 for Guitar #3: Hiccup Now

Download the tab & notation for this lesson.

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 for Guitar #6: Hendrix Triplets

Download the tab & notation for this lesson.

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 for Guitar #16: Going Out There

Download the tab & notation for this lesson.

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 for Guitar #26: Double Note

Download the tab & notation for this lesson.

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!

Dig these free guitar lessons? Download Bill Evans’ 30 Sax Licks for Guitar for much more including tab, notation, and jam tracks!