After hours of struggling along in front of your computer, completing your homework, work reports, university assessments, or what not, you head for your guitar to let the keyboard typing tension flow from your fingers into your strings. However, as some of you may have already discovered, you don't necessarily need to leave your computer to get that relaxing feeling you get from picking up your guitar! Instead, let your computer open up another dimension of guitar playing.
Today, there is an abundance of computer software that can enhance your playing experience. Software ranges from the most small and basic shareware (some of which is quite practical), to the extremely elaborate, technically advanced, and expensive industry standard software. For people who are just starting to feel their way around the world of guitar software, the choices can be quite confusing. Here are some software applications that are definitely worth checking out.
"I'm a Mac user!"
The choice is simple. If you are just starting to explore playing guitar and using computers to enhance the experience, check out Garage Band (http://www.apple.com/ilife/garageband/). It's available in the iLife 04 software package. Garage Band is a thorough but simple application that allows you to record, edit, and create your own music. It is specifically designed for beginners to intermediate musicians, and includes pre-recorded loops from multiple instruments with a drop and drag interface. You can be your own one man band without even having to be able to read music! Keep at it, and you will eventually progress to serious musician. At this stage, you will want to take a look at Logic Pro 7 (http://www.apple.com/logic/). This could set you back some serious pocket money and is recommended only for people mad about their music. It uses plug-and-play and allows you to network computers to create a massive audio lab. There is not much that Logic Pro 7 can't do.
"Hold up… I use Windows!"
Not to worry, Windows users have a far greater selection of software to choose from. But with greater choice, comes the task of sorting out the good from the bad. To save you some time, check out Cakewalk (http://www.cakewalk.com/).
Cakewalk offers numerous applications for the guitar user who is PC literate. They offer software that ranges from to easy-to-use studio applications for all guitar players (Guitar Tracks Pro), to sophisticated production tools (Sonar 4 Production Edition). Their website is worth a visit, as it lists in details all their software and what you can achieve with it.
Another handy piece of software exclusive to Windows users is Power Tab Editor (http://www.power-tab.net/). As the name suggests, it is a tablature editor specifically designed to create scores for acoustic and bass guitars. It is designed for beginners and advanced players alike. Smart inclusions are a chord and tuning dictionary and printable power tab scores. Best of all, it's free and can be downloaded from the website.
"Now that I've married my guitar to my computer, is there anything else I should check out?" Of course, there is plenty of stuff out there! To get you started, here are three very practical websites that Guitar Tips Online recommends.
http://www.chordfind.com: A site that allows you to find chords at the click of a button using easy to read diagrams.
http://www.metronomeonline.com: An online metronome with too many user options to list. You'll never miss a beat!
http://www.actiontab.com/view_actiontab.html: A great way to supplement you Guitar Tips learning process is with this easy to use guitar tutor website.
Have a look around the Internet and guitar shops to get a better idea of the range of software available. There is a lot to choose from, and it varies in quality and price. Unfortunately the latter doesn't necessarily affect the former, so if the software is going set you back some hard earned cash, always try to demo it first.
WRITTEN BY ELMORE MUSIC: Learn the Acoustic or Electric Guitar in 30 days! Highly recommended! Check out: http://www.guitartips.com.au/cgibin/affiliates/click.cgi?id=1593