OneHour Method – Nice Tool For Understanding Chords On Guitar

Today I’m flying to Nashville and I’m going to use the time to review a nice little tool called the OneHour Method. This post is also the first log of hopefully many in my travel journal of this upcoming 2 week expedition. I’ll be spending a week in Nashville, hit San Diego/Spring Valley for a couple of days and finally visit my old home town Boston where I used to study for a while in the beginning of this decade. But more of those later on. The app is available for download for free during the CAAS convention so you should definitely download it here now! 

OneHour Method is an app for iPhone that’s aimed for guitar players learning the fretboard and chords. To be as transparent as possible, it’s probably best that I talk about my relationship to the app first. I first learned about this app when Reijo Hiltunen, the creator of the method, called me and asked me to make a couple of videos to promote it. That I did and apparently he was happy with my work as he wanted to deepen the collaboration.

We met a few times talking about the history and the future of OneHour Method and finally Reijo suggested that I’d do this trip to the States to spread the word and to find new collaborators.
That been said, this is not meant to be an ad but a review and I aim to be objective as best as I can.

When I first tried the app, I recognised its benefits for a beginning guitarist trying to figure out what the heck is happening on the fretboard. This is not a simple task even on a piano where everything is linear and visually easier to grasp, but on the guitar with six string tuned asymmetrically it can be quite overwhelming. I used to figure out fingerings of scales and chords (which are ultimately two sides of the same thing) drawing them on countless little pieces of paper (which I’m still finding from time to time after all these years). I have no regrets, doing it the hard way challenged my mind in a good a way and made me who I am today, but most of people don’t have the time and persistence to go through this - including most of my students. As I’ve recommended OneHour Method -app to my students, I’ve only heard good things about it and I believe it has sped up their learning process.

The app has two main modes - the tutorial and the chord builder mode.

The tutorial is a simple yet effective introduction on how the chord tones are combined on the fretboard to form chords. It makes you alter chords on the screen and has a quiz at the end to test if you paid attention. I guess the name OneHour Method refers to this part as it can give you the basic understanding of the chords on the fretboard really fast - within an hour they say and I have no reason to doubt that even though it must vary depending on every individual. On top of that you have short theory lessons regarding the different chord types.

The chord builder mode gives you the ability to create your own chords in two ways. You can either choose a root and the type of chord and the app will show you the possible choices of notes from which you can choose or you can just choose notes and it will tell you the name of the chords. The chord selection is very wide, definitely enough for most levels from beginner to advanced. There are a couple of more advanced chord types missing like 9sus4 and 13sus4 and quartal harmony, but I’ve talked to Reijo so they should be included in the future updates. After you have the notes down you can listen to how it sounds. You can even strum or pluck the strings one by one swiping the strings on the screen which is a nice feature.

More advanced features include different tunings and a capo and you can even have both of them on simultaneously. The one feature that I’m missing is the banjo fretboard (who would’ve guessed :D), but if all goes well that will be added later on as well as others like ukulele and mandolin.

If you have comments about the OneHour Method -app or ideas for future development of the app please post them below or e-mail them to us! 🙂

OneHour starts with understanding the familiar chord shapes
The app shows you how to alter the chord tones to get different chords
Testing the limits
After trying out different options we found our winner