For this Review, I had selected - in advance - to step outside the box a bit, and test a piece of software slightly different from those in my usual categories. Briefly setting aside my obsession with “organizing” software, I instead began a search for some sort of downloadable, Guitar-lesson style, instructional program to work with – an idea I had actually been toying with for over a year. Unfortunately, the search became quite frustrating, and I found myself obsessing for several days, completely unable to find a program that appealed to me.
After fronting rock bands – vocally - for the last twenty years, and trying my hand at the guitar - on and off - for the past seven, I felt fairly confident that the decision to either move forward with a specific program, or to quickly hit the "uninstall" button, could be reasonably made within mere minutes of downloading the trial versions. I was right. For me, there would be no purpose in pulling out my guitar to give a negative review. I wanted to learn something. Finally, after downloading and uninstalling four separate tutorials from four separate developers, I stumbled upon one program that actually prompted me to pick up my guitar.
100ChordsMethod.com was the ultimate winner, hands-down, of my own "Battle of the Online Guitar-Lesson" download competition. This software program, an interactive tutorial designed to teach the user everything there is to know about - you guessed it - 100 Chords, is appropriate for guitar players of any age and of any caliper. The program will work just as well for the absolute beginner player, holding no background whatsoever, as it will for the best player in town. It simply does not matter. In all actuality, a beginner player and an expert player can be using the program together, working within the same lesson, at the same time, and each will pull, from that lesson, knowledge unique to their level of playing. 100ChordsMethod.com is a very, very cool software program for all music lovers.
100ChordsMethod is self-described as a "multimedia training program designed to make you” – in a very short period of time – “a master of guitar chords, fluent in all keys, and at home anywhere on the freeboard". Be motivated and dedicated to either learning the guitar from scratch, brushing-up on familiar skills, or perfecting talents already proven and performed, and the 100ChordsMethod program will reap you some very worthwhile rewards.
Utilizing interactive, multimedia-style, play-along exercises, the course's methodical, brain-conditioning training strategy is designed to assist the focused user in acquiring the following nine skills:
* To master (i.e. recognize/know instantly) 100 chord positions
* To be fluent and feel comfortable in all 12 keys
* To "master" the entire fret board
* To acquire a rich chord vocabulary, and knowledge of all possible positions
* To become adept at "effortless sight-reading"
* To "snap" from chord to chord with ease and accuracy
* To train brain cells and nerve fibers to produce a great groove with every chord strum
* To maintain superior and effortless playing technique through muscle conditioning
* To acquire a musical ear that will hear a song, recognize its chords, and play it instantly
Fairly large promises from an instructional software program? Absolutely. Can the 100ChordsMethod program realistically deliver as promised? Definitely - but not without the user's dedication to - as the website states - "Effective Practice". There is no "Help" section, per-se, since each lesson is separate, and each lesson’s section contains all necessary information. For further questions, users are encouraged to e-mail "support", and a prompt response is guaranteed.
This being multimedia software, 100ChordsMethod requires your PC to have a decent - but certainly not fancy - soundcard. I appreciated the software's options of choosing different instruments, switching the sounds of the chosen instruments (e.g. from steel string guitar, to electric, etc.), hearing and playing along with any chord, in any position, and strumming at selected speeds to different programmed drumbeats.
The software also allows you to save the most recent lesson, track and measure your progress level, advance to different levels, and experiment with chords and progressions you have mastered. Other cool features include a continuously displayed "fret board" view of positions and finger changes, a click-on, pop-up tuner for perfecting your tuning abilities, and a handy metronome for keeping that steady groove going.
My only problem with the trial version of 100ChordsMethod is that it contains only three out of the possible 100 chords available within the full Professional Version.
NOTE: If United States buyers purchase before April 5th, the Professional Version, usually $79.95, will be available for $49.95.
At $79.00, I would consider the price slightly steep, even taking into account the rich features and multimedia, interactive capabilities. At $49.95, however, I would encourage you to get that guitar out, and go for it!