No body knows about giving up licks to others than myself! After all, I created Hot Licks audio and videotapes, making it a totally “cool” thing for major artists and myself to “pass on” all the knowledge it took us years to acquire. I never worried about creating “another Arlen Roth” as the result of giving up all my licks and ideas, even though I must admit, I can hear my playing all over the place in the playing of others. I look at this as more of a compliment than anything, and there’s nothing really wrong with the fact that I helped accelerate the learning of others. I still feel that no matter how closely someone tries to replicate another player’s licks, he or she will certainly still end up sounding like themselves more than anything else. Regardless, I like the fact that I have really changed how people learn the guitar, and that of course, includes the lessons I have for you on Gibson.com.
The art of picking up licks from others for yourself really becomes an art form, as there are inspirations everywhere for you. It becomes essential that you learn to recognize phrases and places on the neck where other guitar players are playing, and how you can then take those ideas and make them your own. Keep in mind too, that so many guitar players have meant so much, such as Chuck Berry, B.B. King and others, that their licks are incredibly recognizable, and become more “quotes” than anything else. The influence is definitely there, but the sound and identity is undeniable. These are the kinds of licks you must become more careful about quoting too often, as they have always been strongly identified with those artists.
Still, above all, you should try to absorb and be able to “quote” as many licks, phrases and solos from your favorite guitarists. This is a great way to “jump start” your learning process, and in the end, will always lead to a further defining of your own style of guitar playing. I always found that it was better to capture the “essence” of another player’s sound or style, rather than copying them note for note, and then to simply move on and seek my own voice on the instrument. I hope you find yours….stay tuned to my lessons, my books, my DVDs and of course, ALL the playing you love to hear and want to emulate! You won’t be able to stop your OWN real voice coming through, even though you’re still “picking up licks!”