Retail about $44.00
As a musician, I need to be able to access any chord that might be the right one for that new of mine, or to find something just a little different, or to figure that new fingering I devised and give it a name. That is where Chord Wizard comes in.
Chord Wizard is to the musician what shoes are to the professional runner. You could do without it, but WHO WOULD EVER WANT TO?
Here are some things taken right from the Chord Wizard web site that describes this extremely cool and useful application:
"What Can ChordWizard Do?
Show you several possibilities for playing any chord (such as Am7) on your instrument.
Demonstrate the relationships between chords in a scale so that you can write more interesting chord sequences in your songs.
Identify chord type(s) from any possible chordshape that can be made on the instrument neck.
Let you hear the sound of any chordshape, chord or scale.
Allow you to create your own files for storing collections of your favourite chordshapes.
Print out the chordshapes of your choice to make your own chord books."
Ok, the next question is, of course, does it REALLY do everything it says? The answer is, after much testing and thorough research by me, an emphatic YES! I've used it to write more then a few new songs for my group "Collins Gate" and Chord Wizard gave me more ideas than I would have come up with without it. I sometimes have difficulty in finding the right chord that gives my music that unusual feel I like.
I have used chord wizard for hours on end without finding an end to its usefulness. I can't stress the fact enough that no serious musician should be without this wonderful program.
It allows not only guitar tunings, but also mandolin (or Irish bouzouki, my instrument), ukulele, bass, 4, 5, and 6 string custom, and any other custom stringed instrument that I know of.
On their web site at http://www.shordwizard.com they contend that the program has the following features. I took a look at each one in the program to see if it was as they said.
Key Features of ChordWizard
"Attractive and Easy to Use
ChordWizard has a well-designed main screen featuring an attractive on-screen display of the instrument neck. It makes extensive use of tabbed property sheets to organise its many options, and provides several shortcuts for common tasks."
Yes, I agree with this completely, it was very cool to be able to set the background textures and such. The main screen was very easy to understand and use.
"Standard Default Settings for a Quick Start
ChordWizard comes set up with standard collections of formulas (chord types), scales and instrument tunings. If you are a new player there is no need to change a thing. As your knowledge of music progresses, you can take advantage of the more advanced features of ChordWizard. "
Yes, this is true. I'm still pretty much a beginner with my bouzouki, but have enough experience to go to the advanced settings on occasion.
"Choose your Instrument and Tuning ChordWizard can be used with a guitar, banjo, mandolin or ukulele in standard or alternate tuning. In fact, it will accommodate any 4, 5, or 6-string instrument in any tuning."
Yes, this is an amazingly flexible program. I also play bass, guitar (a little), and Violin (even less), but the Chord Wizard is there when I need it.
"Tune Your Instrument ChordWizard's sound is pitch perfect. Use it to tune your instrument or record your own personal tuning."
I have and do tune my instruments to the Chord Wizard, it is my computer pitch pipe, now if I could only figure out how to get my computer in my gig bag...
"Quick access to Standard Chordshapes ChordWizard provides several sample data files of chordshapes for the guitar, banjo, mandolin and ukulele. These can be added to or changed."
Yes, another true and useful feature.
"Store Your Own Collections of Chordshapes ChordWizard allows you to create your own files of chordshapes. A single file in ChordWizard can store up to 65,000 chordshapes. With ChordWizard you can build large collections of chordshapes easily and quickly."
I have added several of my own warped and twisted bouzouki chords to my list already.
"Unlimited access to Chordshapes ChordWizard gives you access to millions of different chordshapes. In addition to the chordshapes provided in the sample data files you can identify or discover any chordshape possible to play on the instrument neck. Any chordshapes you discover can be stored in a file for finding easily again later."
Yes. This I've done.
"Flexible Viewing Options ChordWizard has an attractive onscreen display of the instrument fretboard to show you how to play each chordshape. The display options allow you to to view the instrument neck in any orientation, rearrange the components of the screen, or change fonts and colors."
I chose European Spruce for my instrument neck. Very light and attractive.
"Flexible Sound Options ChordWizard can use any installed MIDI-capable sound card to play chordshapes and chords as you view them, and also allows you to manually strum the instrument neck on the screen. The sound (or voice) of the instrument and the speed of the strum are among the several sound options you can change. "
Very useful, but I like to play the notes on my own intstrument.
"Print Your Own Chord Books ChordWizard allows you to print out diagrams of chordshapes and their matching chords from the files. If you wish, these can be grouped by chord, so that for example, all chordshapes that play Bmaj7 will appear together. You can also print this information in a more compact tabular format. "
This I haven't yet done, but it does work just like it says.
Advanced Features of ChordWizard
"Finding Chordshapes With Filters ChordWizard has a flexible Filtering capabililty which searches an existing file to find only the chordshapes that match the conditions you specify. This means that you can build very large files of chordshapes and yet, at a given moment, easily extract just the handful of chordshapes that you are interested in. ChordWizard can filter by chord (eg.Am7), by finger position, or by
notes or degrees present in the chordshape. You can even join multiple conditions together. "
This feature I use extensively. I like to experiment with the neck and see what sounds come out. With this feature I can write down the newfound chord instead of trying to explain it to my colleagues. This is perhaps my favorite feature.
"Discovering Chordshapes With Suggestions If you can't find a chordshape in your current file that meets your needs, ChordWizard is able to scan the fretboard for possibilities and suggest additional chordshapes. You control the quality and difficulty of the suggested chordshapes, and the same Filtering mechanism specifies exactly what you want. Store any of the chordshapes you discover in your file for convenient future use."
Yes, this I've also done quite a bit. It is so nice to have these filters for just such an emergency.
"Songwriting With Relations ChordWizard's Relations feature can help you write more interesting chord progressions by showing you choices of chords that sound good together in the scale of your song. This can be used like a musical thesaurus, prompting you with chords that could lead on from one at which you may be stuck. Once you have decided on a chord, Filtering or Suggesting will reveal which chordshapes could be used to play it. Different scales will yield different choices of chords and chordshapes. "
Oh yes, if you want your song to be just a little more different than the usual, this really works!
Unlimited Chord Formulas and Scales
ChordWizard comes set up with 40 different chord formulas (such as m7 and maj7) and 12 different scales (such as the Major and Harmonic Minor), so it will satisfy the needs of jazz musicians and advanced players. Any of these can be deactivated for the sake of simplicity. On the other hand, ChordWizard’s open-ended structure can grow with your needs by allowing you to modify and extend the lists of formulas and scales that it uses for all of its operations.
Absolutely true. I've been a flautist for almost three decades, so my music ability is advanced, however, my experience with the other, stringed instruments is a little more limited. Having the Chord Wizard at my side is an invaluable tool. Its usefulness is unparalelled for its flexibilty and depth of knowledge base. Many programs of this nature are for beginners only and don't have the advanced capacity, and the more advanced programs are just too complex and do not have the simple inteface of this one.
If you can justify spending $20+ on straps and stands, you have NO excuse not to get the Chord Wizard right now. I HIGHLY recommend this program.