So you want to learn to play the guitar, huh? First you have to master the basics: how to hold the instrument, basic fingering, how to use the plectrum, and of course how to smash your guitar in half over a Marshall amp after the encore. No guitar player’s tuition would be complete without a lesson in axe-breaking.
Appetite for instruction
Unsurprisingly, Avanquest’s Interactive Guitar Workshop doesn’t provide lessons in guitar destruction. But more surprisingly, considering it claims to guide you through the basics on the box, the course contains absolutely no instruction on the basic elements we mentioned in our introduction. So what does it contain?
Nine rather flat and uninspiring bluesy-type tunes with names like ‘Lazy Lizard’, complete with guitar tabs for the lead and rhythm. You can listen to these, then attempt to play along – and that’s it, really. There’s a training section for each song, but it doesn’t do a very good job of breaking down the tune to make it any easier to learn.
In all honesty, this package is pretty mystifying all round. About the only useful learning tool is the virtual fretboard at the bottom of the screen, which at least shows you the correct fingering for these songs. Banal songs that you won’t particularly want to learn in the first place, but which are still too complex for beginners to dive straight into.
A rather useless ‘help’ function fails to provide any actual assistance with the program – although it does cover some musical theory basics. Theoretically, it’s possible for Guitar Workshop to record your playing via a microphone, and indeed there’s a built-in tuner to get your instrument tuned up. However, we couldn’t get either feature to work, or find anything in the help text to understand why nothing was happening.
As well as the guitar section, Interactive Guitar Workshop also includes a bass guitar course that boasts more content and actually has a proper introduction to the instrument. However, it still suffers from poor presentation and a clunky interface. We also experienced several crashes to add further flat notes to the overall cacophony.
Contact: 01480 359403
- Bass guitar lessons are better implemented and structured, to an extent.
- The guitar 'course' isn't really a course at all; woefully poor help function.
A poorly put-together package that does little in the way of tutoring and certainly isn't suitable for a beginner - although the bass guitar course is better in this respect, actually providing an introduction to the fundamentals. Given the poor presentation, clunky interface and many issues present, Interactive Guitar Workshop won't be music to anyone' ears - or wallet, at this asking price.