Ukulele Licks by Jontom – Review

Jontom from the Italian uke site YOUkulele.com has got a new ebook out A Collection of 50 Ukulele Licks. He was kind enough to send me a copy to look over.

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.

Videos

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.

Overall

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?

Buy it now on UkuleleLicks.com

View Comments

5 Comments

  1. Cappers March 22nd, 2012 11:32 am

    I bought this a couple of weeks ago. So far i’ve only had enough time to have a look at the blues and folk licks. I’m quite impressed with what you get for the money. I quite like the videos, i generally like working from videos when learning new stuff, so this format seems to work for me. I also have Guitar Pro and have made use of that as well.
    I have to agree with you on the lack of theory and the context in which these licks can/should be played. I’m still getting to grips with the theory side of things and would have preferred to know a bit more about what chord progressions these licks would sound good over.
    Overall, it’s great value, there are some great licks to learn. But maybe a bit more on the theory side of things would have made this even better.

  2. Jontom March 22nd, 2012 3:06 pm

    Guys, thanks a lot for the review and feedback. I really appreciate it so I’m going to update the collection with your hints as soon as I can (just give me a few days to organize all the inputs).

    All the people who bought the licks BEFORE will receive a discount code for downloading the updated pack at no cost.

    But more in general, you have free lifetime updates whenever I “fix” something and some deals for any future volumes (Yea, I’m already working on the licks Vol.2!).
    So… I hope you like the idea and keep rocking on the uke!

  3. Woodshed March 24th, 2012 11:29 am

    Cappers: Thanks. Glad you like it.

    Jontom: Can’t wait for Vol 2! Good luck with it.

  4. Roger Little April 11th, 2012 12:58 pm

    Downloaded full set of files but they won’t play i.e. format not recognized. What to do?

  5. Jontom April 11th, 2012 1:10 pm

    Hi Roger,
    the video files are in mp4 format which means you can play them even on your portable devices. You shouldn’t do anything particular since this format is very popular at the moment so you should have the codecs already installed for viewing them. Anyway, I suggest you to use VLC free media player which handles almost every multimedia format out there in one single software.

    I don’t know if I can post links from here, anyway just google “vlc” and it’s the first on the list.

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