Bebop licks for guitar, presented in notation and TAB. These licks are based on the dominant form of the bebop scale. The dominant bebop scale is basically a mixolydian scale with an extra passing note inserted between the root and the b7. For example, a G dominant bebop scale contains the notes: G, A, B, C, D, E, F, F#, G. The extra note in this case is the F#. The bebop scale is not a part of strict musical harmony, rather it has evolved out of the kind of lines bebop musicians play.
Bebop Licks – Lick 1
Bebop Licks over ii V I – Lick 7
Lengthened Bebop Lick – Lick 9
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Notes On Playing Bebop Licks
Play the licks at a slow tempo at first, perhaps with a slight ‘swing’ rhythm. Once you get used to them, start to increase the tempo and you’ll feel how the extra note makes the lines smoother and more interesting. There are many ways of embellishing the standard bebop scale, one common way being to ‘enclose’ notes by playing the notes around them before playing the target note. Listening to jazz musicians will help you identify other ways in which bebop scales were used.
Like all jazz improvisation, bebop is a language in itself, and the only way it can really be learned is by exposing yourself to it, picking up some phrases and beginning to use them yourself. Listen to some records and see if you can recognise when a bebop scale is being used, then try to play the line back by ear. As stated previously, the great bebop musicians were not consciously using bebop scales – they were simply creating lines using major and mixolydian scales and inserting the extra notes to help them flow. Once you have got your fingers round the bebop scale in a couple of positions, start to invent your own lines over static chords and ii V I changes.