Don’t let your guitar purchase become a bad decision just because you don’t have the time and money to take training lessons. You can do and learn a lot right at home with some great online lessons available on YouTube. But then again, it’s like having a book full of knowledge and information but no teacher to correct you when you are wrong. Well, once again the smartphone apps have come to save your day. You can have a guitar teacher right on your phone and practice chords, songs anywhere and anytime you want. Let’s see what we have here.
Best Guitar Learning Apps
1. GuitarTuna for tuning
First things first, let’s get your guitar tuned up. Now, if you search the web you’ll see a number of tuning sequences available for any guitar. But universally the standard guitar tuning (E, B, G, D, A, E) is what most guitarists use, including professionals. If you’re new to the instrument GuitarTuna is the first app you must have in your smartphone.
GuitarTuna works like any other manual or digital guitar tuner that we used back in the day. The app interface is extremely simple and all you need to do is open the app and hit the strings on your guitar one after the other. The app will guide through the adjustment required to get the perfect tone for each string. The app additionally offers some games and tools that help you learn various chords and chord diagrams.
First on my list is the app that has not failed to impress me in my days of testing by far. From strumming the first string on your guitar to playing full songs, Yousician has got you completely covered. And the best part is that most of it is free.
The app interface is pretty much basic but detailed. You may simply follow the home page to follow your progress and see what’s new every time you open the app. Or, you may use the ‘learn’ tab to check and follow step by step progress of your guitar skills. Under the ‘learn’ tab there are a series of missions in sequence which unlock one after the other when you master the previous mission. So how does the app know when you master a mission? Well, the app uses the microphone to capture and judge your playing skills.
Apart from live exercises in the form of missions, the app also has some workout sessions and challenges that you may pick randomly to strengthen your skills. Yousician also creates your profile when you login in the app. If you tap on your image on the top left corner, you can see your activity details and progress reports like your total playtime etc. Additionally, you may follow and be followed by other people on the Yousician app to see how they are performing.
Yousician is good if you are beginner, but as you move forward, the app becomes quite limiting. That’s where Rocksmith comes in. Like Yousician, Rocksmith also gamifies your guitar learning experience, but unlike Yousician, this app is quite good if you’re intermediate level guitar player especially if you have an electric guitar.
What separates Rocksmith from the rest is that it focus on the desktop app more than mobile. You can connect your guitar (any Guitar will work) with your PC or Mac or even PS4 and Xbox, using cables and practice on a bigger screen. Although, this also means, you will have to buy extra cables from Rocksmith 2014 Edition, which will cost you around $40 including the game and cables.
4. Justin Guitar
Next, on my list is Justin Guitar for people who still prefer the video tutorial way of learning. The man behind the app is Justin Sandercoe himself who is a world-famous guitarist. Although the app follows the traditional and lengthy video tutorials methods, I found it pretty well designed for a beginner.
The app interface is nothing but a list of content and is very easy to navigate through. Step by step videos is categorized under various stages of learning. The lessons work in a sequential manner thus giving you access to the next file only when you are done learning the preceding one. Most of the content available for beginners is free and if not in the app, you’ll probably find it for free on justinguitar.com.
The app also features a songbook where you can find lessons to learn your favourite songs. The songbook is also categorized under head like POP, ROCK etc and is updated quite often. The app additionally offers a digital guitar tuner in both manual and automatic mode.
Coming to the next app on the list, this one is a little different and doesn’t necessarily seem like an app for beginners who want to start from a scratch. On the contrary, if you’d like to choose a specific category of music and pick your own educator, this might be the app for you.
The app interface seems a bit scattered starting with tags like ‘you must know’ and ‘new releases’. Scroll down to see categories of music like jazz, bass, acoustic, rock, country etc. Sliding on to the next tab you’ll find video tutorials under the head ‘ Lessons’. You may browse through or search for a specific lesson. The app also features a section where you can choose to learn from an educator of your liking.
The app also has a personal dashboard space where you can find your favorites and recently watched tutorials. You may also archive the best videos to find them in your collection. Additionally, the app lets you download videos as well so you may use the app offline as well.
6. Coach Guitar
Next on the list is Coach Guitar and although the contents seemed similar to other apps on the list, it did deliver what the name suggested. Coach Guitar also has video tutorials but with a smart difference. Basically the app is made for coaching you songs but if you look closer you’ll find beginner lessons too.
The app interface starts with popular song lessons, week’s picks etc. You can simply click on a song to start learning the chord sequence. The best thing about Coach Guitar video tutorials is that it provides a section-wise playlist as well. You may choose to play the whole video or a section of the video that you want to practice before moving on to the next one. The app also features a search tab for you to find your favourite songs.
The ‘Songs’ tab of the app is the one you are looking for if you are a beginner. Here you will find subheads like Levels, Basics, Titles, Artists and Genre. If you are taking up guitar lessons for the first time I suggest you start with ‘Basics’ tab for chords and technique guidance. And if you know the basics and want to start with songs, ‘Levels’ head should be your start point. Like and download your favorites to watch later in your Profile tab both online and offline.
Next app on the list is not exactly a learning app per se, but could be useful for guitar players who the basics well. You’ll need to know the chords and strumming techniques to be able to use this app. Moreover, you need to learn music notes to understand the song guidance in the app.
Songster, as the name suggests, is mostly an extensive list of songs. If there’s a popular song on your mind that you want to learn on guitar, you’ll probably find it on the list. The app displays a continuing string diagram with musical notes that you need to follow. You can manage the speed, repetition, volume, and type of guitar in a selected song. Alternatively, you may also switch to chord diagram with lyrics if you know the strumming pattern. The only drawback I found here was that there is almost no complete song in the free version.
Best Guitar Practicing Apps for Android and iOS
When it comes to guitar learning and practicing apps, there are a combination of apps that you can use. You could use apps like MetroTimer for a basic metronome, Fender Tune for tuning your guitar and Genius for lyric collections. But if you are not a pro and want to learn the basics or beginner level guitar, my list should be able to help you enough. Although Yousician is one of the best ranking apps, I personally like a mix of Justin Guitar for technique and Coach Guitar for learning new songs. Go ahead and give them a try, let me know which app do you prefer.