Complete beginners, budding rock stars, music teachers and even expert guitarists should all be able to benefit from Guitar Chord Buster, dubbed by its creator the world’s first fully functional virtual guitar. Written by London-based Virtual World Software, Guitar Chord Buster is a Windows-based multimedia software package that provides everything from guitar tutorials for absolute beginners, to chord creation and identification for professional musicians and writers. Using familiar Microsoft Corp Windows point and click facilities, Version 1.1 enables users to select chords, which will be played back for identification, add chords to a sequencer, and then play along at their own pace, viewing the chord diagrams and fingering on screen.
Guitar Chord Buster will pick chords, strum chords, and even enable the user to tune a guitar to either standard guitar tuning or alternative tuning styles. The expert player can also customize tuning, and the program will find any regular chord as it appears with the guitar re-tuned. Version 2.0, currently in beta test, offers the professional player a large number of modal variations, including popular rock styles such as Dorian and Lydian, as well as Eastern and exotic musical styles. Pick out an unusual chord on the screen and the system will automatically identify the chord. The software also gives expert on-screen help. Chris Cooling, author of Guitar Chord Buster and founder of Virtual World Software, says a singer with no musical training could compose a guitar accompaniment to a song using the software. Music teachers can also create their own tutorials for pupils, he says. The tool runs under Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and NT. It is written in Visual Basic 4.0 and is fully object oriented, which Cooling says enables what is essentially a large program to run happily in only 8Mb RAM. Version 1.1 is available now. A shareware demonstration version can be downloaded over the Internet from http://www.inter.net/vws. Version 2.0 will be available next month. The company is also talking to guitar manufacturers and software distributors. It is looking to set up OEM deals with interested parties, and says the software can be customized accordingly.