How to figure out the chords to your favorite songs on a guitar

Figure out the chords to your favorite songs with this great software.
Published: Jun 30, 2005
Author: Matt Forster
Music teaching
Software that can help Good for Cow Rating
Chord Pickout 2.0
Download A friend of mine has perfect pitch. He is a professional guitarist.

Last week I was sitting at home with my guitar, trying to figure out chords to a song. I was stumped. I am decent at playing the guitar, and a lot of the time I can pick out a chord progression with little effort. Other times, however, I get stumped. And once I am stumped, it can take a long time before it all makes sense. Usually, I just give up and move on to something easier.

This time, however, I had a technological friend to lend me a hand. It was ChordPickout, a program I recently came across while editing at Tucows. This program promised to read my music files and write out the recognized chords. So I gave it a try.

At first, I was a little frustrated. The software only reads MP3 and WAV files. I don't have any music saved as MP3s (tells you how much I care about keeping current with all this stuff), so I had convert some files from WMP. Once converted and loaded into Chord Pickout, the program took over. In a matter of seconds, I was looking at a sheet covered with chords. When you hit play, a bar moves across the screen, so you can see visually what chords are played when. In addition, there is a small window that shows you the fingering for each chord as it is played. Another great feature is the ability to enter the lyrics on a line below the chords.

The one drawback was that it actually "recognized" too many chords. In fact, it was clear in places that the program was just confused. However, it only took a second to sort out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. In the end, however, I though the experience with the software was worth the money they were asking for it. The whole experience got me thinking, Are there more programs like this online?

Tucows had another program that was posted some time ago: FullSuiteScriber. The program was slow and bulky, requiring a restart after installation. So I checked the homepage to see if there was a more recent version. The site was unavailable, but I was eventually taken to the Sienzo site where I found an excellent product: Digital Music Mentor or DMM.

At first, I was taken aback by the price tag. Especially since DMM is nearly identical to ChordPickout when it comes to looks - so much so, I wondered if they were some how related. Both have graphical displays of fingering for chords; both allow you to enter lyrics, and both have a nearly identical toolbar window.

But when comparing performance, I have to say DMM is much, much better. First of all,the program was able to read WAV and MP3 files, as well as my WMP files. It can also load music directly from a CD. It was much faster at analyzing music. And the resulting chords were spot on. I was able to pick up my guitar and immediately begin strumming along with the music.

If you are looking for a way to easily figure out chords, I would recommend either of these, but I strongly favor DMM. Chordpickout is cheaper, but you will have to work more for a satisfactory result. With DMM, you get what you pay for. Both offer demo versions for download, so check them out.

About Matt Forster

Formerly an editor for Tucows, Matt is basking in his reprieve from the world of technology and working on his memiors, Racoons in the Ceiling.

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