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Learn a Lick In 5 Easy Steps

Steps to Learning a Lick

There are  5 steps I use and am currently using to learn any lick.  In this video I’m learning a lick from Jaco Pastorius’ song Havona that he recorded with Weather Report.  However, you can apply these steps to any lick you are wanting to learn, at any level of playing. 

  1. Learn the notes

You can do this by tab, notation, or by using your ear. Always try to learn the lick by ear first. Always be working on developing your ear!


  1. Locate the notes on your bass

         Locate the notes and figure out the best fingering for the lick. There are usually more than pattern that you can use.


  1. Nail down your fingering

         Know exactly what finger is being used for each note, on both hands. This is tedious and can be frustrating to learn, but once you have it down, you’ll nail it almost every time!


  1. Practice the lick perfectly, repeatedly

Of course, in order to do the lick perfectly, you’ll need to do it at a very slow tempo. That’s the idea, work it slowly and perfectly.


  1. Increase the tempo

         Increase the tempo while maintaining steps 3 and 4 until you have it down at the original tempo. This might take a while, but the results are well worth the time and effort.