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Quick licks: Tora Dahle Aagård


Today’s “Quick licks” features the Norwegian blues phenom Tora Dahle Aagård. If you browse social media for musicians to be inspired by (and we do), then you’ve likely come across Tora. Her popular Instagram account shows off her fantastic chops, her ability to sing through the guitar, and her knack as an entertainer.

From time to time, Tora shares extremely cool blues licks with her fans. She makes the lines digestable by playing them very, very slowly. Today we’ll make things even easier by giving two of her recent licks the full Soundslice treatment. (Fast and slow separately.)

Lick 1: Bend up, up and up! (fast)

This first idea brings together three full-step bends that walk their way up to the fifth of the key. The rhythm is tricky and catchy — it begins mid triplet and ultimately sets down hard on beat three. Take a look at the next snippet of the lick played slowly before jumping into the rhythm.

Lick 1: Bend up, up and up! (slow)

Stripping out the rhythmic elements, Tora makes the technique clear: All the magic is in the left hand. Get this down first before adding rhythm.

Lick 2: Bends and slides (fast)

Lick two has some more great rhythm, plus the added fun of mixing bends and slides together. Technically 🤓, there’s a suspension going from scale degree four to scale degree three. The suspension is quickly repeated, the first time using a bend, the second time a slide. How slick is this?

Lick 2: Bends and slides (slow)

In this isolated snippet, you can practice mixing the bend and the slide slowly.

Tora’s new release: Desire

A big thank you to Tora for sharing these ideas and letting us add our nerdy notation. We hope it helps you get these great licks under your fingers. If you want more Tora, good news! Her latest full-band record comes out on March 27. You can listen to the first single, “Desire”, here.