Who makes up the Blues “Licks”?

Who makes up the Blues “Licks”:
It’s a curious thought. Blues licks are a shared vocabulary for most (electric) guitarists. But where are they from? Who made them up?
In my opinion for a student of guitar that can play a blues progression, and knows the pentatonic scale, the next step is learning the licks. In other words the next step is learning the Language.
But who composes these licks?
There may be hundreds of phrases that every blues and rock guitar player shares in common, as a common language, but to my knowledge there is not one of them that has an attribution to a single person. My guess is that the licks start and they are changed and improved by countless players over some period of time, till they have ended up in our American musical language. It’s powerful stuff.
I’ve made a few general observations about all of them:
1- All off them can be repeated over and over, creating a ‘Groove’ that is continuous. This is an approach that has worked for many blues artists, as well as making some ‘Rock” bands really kind of rich. All of this licks have deep groove and to master one of them sets you into the pocket.
2- they all seem to be divisible into sub phrases, and each sub phrase has a great groove of it’s own, and can also be repeated as a vamp.
Anyway, I think this is interesting. Let me know what YOU think!
Best, Joe

One Reply to “Who makes up the Blues “Licks”?”

  1. Hi Joe, This is interesting. There are many emotions that can be expressed playing blues phrases depending on the technique applied. You can play a simple two note phrase and depending how you play it maybe slide to it or a hammer on using a sharp attack with the pick or played with your fingers in addition to any effects that might be used. The potential is there to express a wide range of emotions. One phrase would have many emotional approaches. Got to love the Blues. Thanks for all the music you shared. Learned a lot from you.

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