Cherry Lane publishing has jumped into the iPad app business with an awesome Blues Master application created by G-Men Productions. There are two versions: the Free Blues Masters app which includes a dozen licks from 8 top-notch blues players (Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King, Albert King, Eric Clapton among others) and the $9.99 paid version that includes 16 artists and over 100 licks.
Of all the guitar applications I’ve seen, this one has the highest production value. Cherry Lane has really done a great job using the iPad interface to showcase the artists and then show off the licks. You get the lick with a backing track, video (in some cases) and a tablature that animates. Well, not exactly Guitar Pro style animation, but it does a pretty good job showing you where you are when the lick is being played. Since all the licks are in the key of G you can mix and match to put together some interesting styles.
The free application is a great introduction to the full-blown app and it’s useful in its own right. Even if you’re just starting out with the blues, you’ll find some useful licks here that you can easily put into practice.
My only beef (and it’s really quite minor) is that for beginning players it would be useful to provide some basic information about the key (G), and what Pentatonic shapes are being used. It would also be nice to have some options to transpose the licks into other keys. Still, that’s not much of a knock on a great application.
As much as I love the TrueFire 50 Licks series of iPad applications, Cherry Lane has just raised the bar.