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Yes I memorized them, The problem for me with the nr thing is that it doesn't work when you have a lick with a lot of chromatics.
I usually tend to use a combination of scale degree/number and intervals, as well as any possible scale patterns or arpeggios. I.E., when I learned (ii-V-I in C) AFDCBDFAbG, I thought of it as starting on the 5th of the ii chord and just being a minor triad down, then down the scale two notes, and then a fully diminished arpeggio that resolves down a half step. I know that kind of seems complicated, but it's what works for me. After learning the first four or five, the rest of them seem much easier. I also think of any repeated patterns that occur on different tones (someone said this earlier but I can't find the post); this really helps me with the more chromatic licks. I'm actually having trouble adding ii chords to V7s in my head (I can do the other way around pretty well) when sight-reading; if I see a G7 it takes me a little too long to think Dmin.
 
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