I'm always interested in new ways to learn guitar, whether it's playing live in the Red House blues workshop, or using the Metal Method DVDs, the Blues You Can Use books or whatever. So I was intrigued by a new application I saw on the iPad: 50 Blues Guitar Licks You Must Know.
This iPad app is from Truefire and it's based on their existing DVD / downloadable course of the same name. Now, it's been optimized for use on the iPad, showing the tablature as well as onscreen video. The videos are nicely done featuring instructor Jeff McErlain giving an intro and then demonstrating the lick several times and explaining it in detail. He also provides a context and a bit of theory to help you understand how the lick might be used. There's also a rhythm track player, which provides a built in drum/bass pattern for every lick. While these are not the most exciting jam tracks (and there's no rhythm guitar) they are a good starting point and include the full 12 bar form with turnaround.
So the app is not perfect: The tab is basically a static view of the music; it's not playing the music the way GuitarPro or Tab Toolkit does. And I've yet to figure out how to play my guitar through the iPad. Still, given the iPad form factor it works remarkably well. The licks include a broad range of basics in the style of BB King, Muddy Waters, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Hendrix, Clapton and many more.
I've been tempted to try out some of TrueFire's lessons in the past, but I was never quite sure whether to buy the DVD, the Data DVD, the downloadable version or even which lesson to get. But this application is a no-brainer. You get 50 Blues Guitar Licks for just $5. That's 10c a lick! Even if you get just 5 licks out of this it's worth it. Heck, I can't even get a beer for $5 in a blues club, let alone a decent blues music book or DVD.
In fact, TrueFire is selling the iPad app for less than the regular price of their standalone DVD ($29) or downloadable version ($19). Admittedly, because the app is tied to the iPad, the content are effectively locked down; you can't move the backing tracks off the iPad into iTunes or the tablature into GuitarPro. So if you want something more flexible, you may prefer the regular downloadable version.
If you've got an iPad and are wondering if you can put it to musical use, I highly recommend TrueFire's 50 Blues Guitar Licks You Must Know.