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. Smart Chords
It’s not easy to remember all chords and tabs if you’re a beginner. If you’re an intermediate or a professional player, a toolkit specially designed for guitar playing always comes in handy. Smart Chords is one such app that is completely capable of handling any demands you throw at it.
When you open the app for the first time, you are welcomed by a tile-based UI with all the necessary tools. There is a chord section where you can find alternate fingering for chords, or search by the key your track is in. To top it all, you can also place individual notes on the virtual fretboard to generate chords and auto-detect them. There is an arpeggio section that neatly displays notes on the fret-board. In addition to that, you can choose keys and scales (Aeolian, Blues, Pentatonic) and view them in the landscape.
There’s a pitch pipe and a tuner, so the need to install a specific app or keeping a physical tuner is no longer necessary. Playground lets you strum virtual guitar through touch by assembling chords that can be edited accordingly. It has a songbook that shows you tabs and chords for songs, you can add your tabs or simply do an internet search and extract the web-page into simple chord charts. Oh and don’t worry if you’re left-handed, you can easily swap between both the options.
Get Smart Chords here.
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.
5. 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.
6. Ultimate Guitar
The website has been a resource for guitarists for ages, and the app is no less. You explore chords and tabs from learned musicians from a huge database. The ability to utilize the website’s resourcefulness in addition to being able to edit chords, change tabs, edit lyrics and compile a favorite list is of great help.
There is an option to change to dark theme and left-handed mode for easy playing. To start with the app you have to select a stringed instrument (Guitar, Banjo, Ukulele), choose your genre and select a song to start with the app so that it could generate recommendations. There is also an Add Shot which lets you upload your videos and watch other artists. With this you can comment, like and follow certain artists and others can follow you which is a good social integration to the app. There are minimal yet important tools like tuner, metronome and a chord library in case you get confused.
Another interesting feature is the ability to connect a pedal to the phone in case you want to scroll through the page and customize pedal controls within the app.
“Buy Pro pop-ups” and ads can be annoying for some. If you can ignore that bit or buy the pro version you can really extract a lot from the Ultimate Guitar app.
7. Andy Guitar
A face often carries around goodwill. Andy in our case enjoys the same. He’s known in the YouTube community for clear and in-depth tutorials and the app is just an extension to it. The interface is plain, so as soon as you open it you see plenty of courses you can choose from like, beginner, quick start, intermediate, etc. There is no need to sign in as of now but having an account will let you sync and track data easily. In addition to that, you can also download videos for storing and offline viewing.
Here’s is my personal suggestion, download the app and try your hands out on the instrument. Once you get the hang of it, you can easily switch to his website or Youtube channel, so you can always have a parallel repository to learn from.
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.