steve stine

96 Rock Licks

 

96 Licks This is a new series from the makers of Guitar Zoom.  Its awesome!  If you are struggling with improvisation in the genres of blues rock, hard rock and metal or just want to learn some kick ass licks, this 4 DVD/2 CD course is for you.  Steve Stine is the instructor and is very personable and teaches well.  This one is not for the beginner but more geared toward the intermediate player who is looking for cool licks and how to string them together to build their own solos.

96 Rock Licks is a 4 DVD, 2 CD course with booklet that teaches you how to play 96 guitar licks in the genres of blues, rock and metal.  More importantly Steve Stine teaches you how to USE these licks to create your own solos and improvise.  By manipulating the licks and stringing several of them together, you will be able to write your own solos and improvise over a rhythm track or a jam in a live setting.

DVD one starts with Steve Stine teaching some of the fundamental techniques that will have to have down in order to play the licks.  He demonstrates different types of bends, vibrato etc.  The end of the DVD contains the first 5 licks that are fairly basic but fundamental and very common in solos.  He strings them together in different orders to show you how you can rip through an improvised short solo.

Stine continues through the rest of the DVDs covering the remaining 91 rock licks which get progressively harder.  There is a wide variety of licks that he demonstrates in the course such as:

  • reverse bends
  • short licks
  • long licks
  • half step, whole step and one and half step bends
  • tremelo picking
  • legato phrasing
  • two hand tapping
  • repetitive licks
  • Randy Roads style
  • Angus Young type blues rock
  • same lick in different octaves

 

There is also a section on pentatonic, blues, natural minor and dorian scales that are used in the videos.  The licks are taught primarily in the key of Am but of course can be transposed in to different keys as you wish.

 

The 2 CDs contain jam tracks for you to practice over and have some pre-arranged solos to help you get started.  There are jam tracks in different keys so that if you wanted to transpose the licks to different keys, you’ll have a jam track to play over.

So what do I think of the course?  I love it!  I’m extremely jealous of those guys that when you ask them to play something, they rip out a handful of licks that seem to come from nowhere and leave the fretboard smoking or when you watch a demo video and there is some dude that is stringing together licks and running up and down the neck.  To have that ability is why I bought this course and I definitely think 96 Rock Licks has what I need to make that happen.  Production value on the course is good with good camera shots and angles.

 

Steve Stine is a fantastic teacher and has a good personality that makes you feel comfortable.  It sounds cheesy but there are teachers on videos that I have that just seem to bother me when I watch them.  He does a great job explaining each lick.  He also goes back and strings 2 or 3 licks together to give you ideas on what fits together.  I wish there was a bit more of that in this set.  He’ll rip out a handful of licks that are in the course that sound awesome together but doesn’t always go back and explain which ones he played.  This can be a good thing though as it forces the student to really learn the licks and internalize them as opposed to just copying someone else.

 

Steve plays a gorgeous Ibanez Jem and the tone he has going throughout the course is inspiring.  The only issue that I had with the Jem is that it can be hard to tell what frets he’s playing sometimes as the inlays on a Jem are that floral, vine thing and not dots.

 

Another thing I would suggest for this course is that each lick be labeled by genre in the book as this would make it a bit easier to comb through the 96 licks so that you can find the ones that would fit together a bit easier.

 

How to Use the 96 Rock Licks Course

What I would suggest is that you sit down with the first 5 or 6 licks and pick out the ones that you really like and then work the hell out of them.  Learn them really well and internalize them.  Once you have them memorized and they flow out of your fingers, pop in the jam track cd and play over the track.  This will really make those licks come to life and give you a sense of how well you put them together.  Continue on in this same fashion with finding a few really good licks that you enjoy and fit together in terms of style and then woodshed them to death.

 

This course will take some patience and is not a quick study, learn a couple of licks and be done with it.  It’s a course for the serious player who really wants to learn to improvise and solo well.  I really think my solo skills and techniques will improve a lot as I work through the 96 Rock Licks course.  96 Rock Licks is not for the beginner as well.  I’m a bit surprised that Steve Stine included a section on teaching some of the fundamental skills that it takes to learn the licks as although most of the licks aren’t crazy hard, having that foundation in place, I think, is necessary to get real value out of a course like this.  96 Rock Licks is for the intermediate and up player that is really trying to further develop their lead playing skills.

 

Value

As I mentioned above, this course will be with you for a long time!  There is so much material that you could spend an infinite amount of time working each lick, fitting them together, manipulating them, playing over the jam tracks etc etc.  I don’t think it’s a course that you sit down with and have a goal of “finishing it” either.  It’s one that I think most people will pick it up, learn a few licks, work em, jam with them and move on to something else only later down the road to do it all over again.  That’s what’s so cool about this course.  The mileage that I think most people will get out of it as long as they understand how to use it is tremendous.  For what the price of 96 Rock Licks cost, it is tremendous value!

 

All in all, I am really excited to keep working with the 96 Rock Licks course and think that Steve Stine and the guys over at Guitar Zoom did a fantastic job with this being their best release yet.  Exciting, fun licks, great production, great instructor and tremendous value.  Cant ask for more!  If you haven’t picked up your copy or are interested in checking out the preview videos, click here- 96 Rock Licks.