In Depth Guitar Lessons and Expert Help


April 17, 2013

Guitar Licks with Rests

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Written by: Mike Abbott

In this lesson, find out how using rests
completely changes the sound of a guitar lick!

RESTS are just silent rhythms. Here are the 4
basic types of rests that you will see.

examples of rests

Mute the note before a rest by either laying your left
hand over the strings (PICTURE 1) or
placing your guitar pick on the string (PICTURE

This shows a guitar player muting the guitar strings This shows how a guitar pick mutes a guitar string

Here are examples of how rests and notes can be used together in
a measure. Learn these rhythms before you try a guitar lick:

Use notes and rests in a lick

Rests add variety and "feel" to a guitar
lick and to all facets of your playing. In each guitar lick below,
a different type of rest is used.

see 2 guitar licks which use rests in their rhythm

1. Play the slide exactly like you did on the slide lesson
2. Mute the 2nd note of Guitar Lick 1
with your left or right hand
3. Lick 2 – Mute
the bend at the peak of it


  • Practice each guitar lick 3 times in a row (keep a steady
  • Practice each guitar lick 3 times in a row with the
  • Write out a bend lick
    with quarter notes and half notes.
  • Create some of your own guitar licks with rests
  • Write them using
    eighth notes/rests, quarter notes/rests, and half
  • After writing a couple of guitar licks, try creating
    some on the spot. Count the rhythm out loud as you play.

About the Author

Mike Abbott
Mike is a pro guitarist and music educator.  He has performed with such diverse acts as the Rolling Stones Horns, Sammy Davis Jr., and Burt Bacharach.   After spending much of his music career in New York City, He now is a very busy guitarist in the Denver area, performing and teaching extensively. Mike's latest work is a book, The Guitar and Amp Sourcebook, published by Harper Collins and released in December 2012.



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