Hot Lick #1: Swingtime In Springtime
This simple lick is designed to help you cut cool solos through rhythm changes like a hot knife through butter. Ideal for fast tempos, it sidesteps the need to shred and instead delivers massive melodic and rhythmic elegance.
I use this idea all the time in Gypsy Jazz rhythm changes tunes like 'Daphne' 'Belleville' and 'Swing 42', plus over any blues.
This lick is derived from Django's composition 'Swingtime In Springtime'. Trés Chic!
Hot Lick #2: Power Triads
Simplicity is the name of the game when creating cool, meaningful solos, and it doesn't get any simpler than this. Based on a 'D Shape' triad, this lick is very quick and easy to get under your fingers and it will immediately inject your soloing with confidence and harmonic assurance.
You can use this lick over literally any Major or Dom7 chord. I love using it over 'Sweet Georgia Brown' amongst many other gypsy jazz standards.
Hot Lick #3: Minor Moods
If I had to choose one lick to take with me to a jam or gig this would be the one. It's an original lick of mine that has both a traditional gypsy and modern jazz sound. For me, the beauty of it is that you don't have to pick every note. Instead you use hammer ons and slides that both make it easier to play fast and gives it a modern jazz sensibility.
I love using this lick on tunes like 'Minor Swing' 'Blues En Mineur' & 'Joseph Joseph'. Oh and it also works over the relative major chord making it doubly as useful!
Hot Lick #4: Gypsy Sizzle
Stochelo Rosenberg, Paulus Schafer, Tvavolo Schmitt and many other gypsy guitar greats use this lick all the time in their solos and more specifically when they play over a D minor chord.
This is a must know lick for any gypsy guitarist and a great one to add to your stash. It has that real campground sizzle to it and harmonically nails the sound of the minor 6th chord.
This lick is also a great workout for your right hand and a good introduction to the art of gypsy picking.
Hot Lick #5: Dominant Manouche
Playing over dominant 7th chords can be a challenge. Enter Hot Lick #5. There isn't a more charming way to play over an A7 than this.
This lick elegantly cuts through the chord with the very essence of gypsy jazz, or Jazz Manouche as they call it in France.
I love using this one in tunes like 'Coquette' & 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love' where it fits perfectly over both the Dominant chord and the 2-5 progression.
Hot Lick #6: Big Band Django
Django's comping and use of chords in his solos was epic. He could recreate the sound of an entire big band with his guitar and his virtuosity alone.
This chordal lick is killer and evokes that 'Big Band Django' sound perfectly. Learn the three shapes and use your right hand to add the power.
I love using this lick on tunes like 'Sweet Georgia Brown' 'Daphne' and any blues.