Guitar Method 1.2

Guitar Method 1.2 is a structured course aimed at beginners. The novice guitarist goes through the essentials of strumming, tuning and time signatures, all the way to bass note strums and finger-picking styles. The appendix dealing with musical notation is also very useful. You get 60 lessons, a hundred songs, and a running start in playing the guitar. The beauty of the program is the way it teaches. Multimedia is used throughout – 60 different videos show the guitar tutor (Kevin Garry) playing the songs, and talking you through the basics. A further three hours of audio files gives you more information and tuition. The animated fretboard shows you the finger positions and chord names – as the tune plays, helping you get to grips with their relationships with rhythm. The software’s use of Simplesound lets you play your versions of chords or songs into a computer, and then play the sounds back, giving you a fair idea of how you are progressing. It teaches 12-bar blues, music notation and rhythm patterns. Sadly, like most guitar methods I’ve encountered, the songs tend to fall into the old-time folk, blues and traditional categories. Essentially, this is a great way to learn guitar. You get one-on-one instruction when you want it, the tutor never loses patience, and I can’t think of a better package to open the doors to rock ‘n’ roll heaven for budding guitarists. Guitar Method 1.2 does what it says it does – teaches you basic guitar in an unpressurized way. You learn at your own pace, and occasional end-of-topic quizzes help you retain the information and assess your own success. eMedia has a couple of other products out, including a CD full of more varied songs and a more advanced CD, Guitar Method 2. CD 2 teaches you hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, vibrato, slides and barre chords – but the whole course is geared toward learning at your own pace. A couple of minor quibbles. The windows are pretty basic, without even the virtual chrome of Mac OS 9. Another negative is the impression I get that the software is built to run on 17-inch-plus sized monitors. Sometimes when using the animated fretboard, the top part of the page disappeared.

OUR VERDICT

Guitar Method 1.2 is an invaluable piece of software. It teaches you how to play the guitar in a far more accessible way than book-based guitar courses. It’ll still prove useful once you’ve finished the course for the chord dictionary alone. To play guitar, start here – as far as I know this is the only Mac-compatible guitar-tutoring course.

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