Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Plug for GoChords

Now that I've found myself pressed into service as a teacher of the ukulele, I find that I often want to create my own arrangements to illustrate a technique or enable a particular teaching moment. Sometimes it's just a matter of changing the key of a popular tune to make it more friendly for beginners.

In any event, I started using GoChords about a year ago. It's a super-easy-to-use tool that lets you drop chord diagrams onto a page to create your own arrangements. To arrange a song with lyrics, you simply paste in the text with line breaks and you're able to drop in diagrams between lines and drag them to their proper places to indicate the chord changes. Once your arrangement is complete, you can change key with a single click, which is a boon for ukulele teachers whose students want to learn a pop tune that's written in a decidedly uke-unfriendly key.

I have a few quibbles with GoChords. For example, it currently only offers first position chords, so it's not much help for intermediate or advanced arrangements. You can create your own custom chord shapes (I've created the 2020 Hawaiian D7 chord for my library, e.g.), but custom chord shapes are static, and do not change if you change the key. But these are small complaints, and since I have been using the free version, I felt as though it would be impolite to gripe.

Yesterday I returned to GoChords to print out some music for a student and learned that they've decided to migrate to a subscription-only model. It didn't take me long to do some mental calculation and conclude that the time and hassle that GoChords saves me is well worth $50 a year. (You can also subscribe for $5 a month.)

GoChords has many features that I haven't taken advantage of. (There's a tablet version and auto-scroll capability, among others.) And I hope that by moving to a paid model they'll have deeper pockets for feature development (like a full set of chord inversions). But I'm happy to now be a paid subscriber.

Check it out. GoChords site.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gary, and thanks for the plug -- much appreciated! I thought I'd take a moment to comment on your observations about there being only first-position chords. We've heard this from other users as well, and it's something we've been considering for a while, albeit with a degree of caution. By adding additional positions the number of chord forms increases exponentially, and we just want to make sure it can be offered in a way that still keeps it simple enough for the beginning players as well. We do agree it would be very useful to have, though.

We really appreciate the comments and suggestions, so keep 'em coming!


Gary said...

Like I said, Charlie, "small complaint"! Looking forward to seeing you progress. Gp

Ron Hale said...

Bb, Eb, ugh... But, Gary, unless my senior sight is totally gone, there are, in fact, chords that aren't first position shown in the example.

(Little known fact:

According to her write-up in the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum, May Singhi Breen used GoChords with her students.)

The Hawaiian D7 is a great chord. Underrated. The 'Little Chord That Could'.

Should be the first D7 taught if it isn't already.

Teaching the bar version first is a crime against uke students.

And turning it into a movable chord gives you an extra 7th chord option.

Gary said...

Ron, some teachers I know go so far as to teach "lazy F": 0010.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this! Mind if i link to

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