What You Get
– Tab for 50 licks (short phrases you can use in solos) in five genres: blues, pop, rock, folk and Hawaiian. (one PDF file for each genre). I’d say they’re mostly intermediate level of difficulty. They’re made for high-g and there’s a fair bit of use made of it but most of them would work well on low-G or baritone.
– Videos demonstrations of all the licks (.mov files mostly between 20MB and 35MB which makes for a big download if you’re getting the whole thing).
– You can buy each genre individually but you buy the whole thing you also get the tab in GuitarPro format.
– UPDATE: If you buy the whole thing you now get 50 strums as well. I haven’t got a copy of that so it’s not included in the review.
The Good Stuff
Cool Licks: Plenty of cool stuff to play in here. No surprises that the blues section has the juiciest licks. I wasn’t expecting it but the pop one was my second favourite. And plenty in the others to interest me too.
Each lick comes with a video showing the fretting hand and an insert looking down the fretboard at the picking/fretting hand. The video usually shows the lick played full speed then split into sections and played slowly with explanations from Jontom.
Price: It’s $8 for the whole thing ($2 for each genre). Definitely worth the price of admission. $2 for the blues licks is a no-brainer.
Guitar Pro Files: I’m not sure how many people have Guitar Pro. But I use it all the time so this makes for a nice bonus.
The Not So Good Stuff
Lack of Theory and Context: The tabs tell you which key each lick is in (although not major/minor) and that’s about it for explanations. There’s no discussion of the scales used or a particular progression you might use the lick over.
I think when you’re improvising have a library of licks in your head isn’t as useful as knowing your scales and how to transition between chords. So more help there would have been useful.
Videos: This is a personal thing. I don’t learn well from videos. They either go too slowly and I get bored or they go way too fast and I can’t keep up. The videos here are useful for picking up fingering (which isn’t tabbed) but otherwise it’s not saying much beyond the tab.
The obvious comparison is with Lil’ Rev’s 101 Ukulele Licks (about twice as many licks for about twice the price). If you’re a video person, definitely go for Jontom’s. If I could only have one, I’d go with Rev’s. His book is stronger on the country, jazz and bluegrass areas. And I like hearing how the licks would fit against the chord changes.
But I can have both and I’m glad I do. Even if you don’t buy the whole thing, $2 for the blues licks? Why have you not got your credit card out already?