The best guitar apps

One of the biggest barriers to learning guitar used to be cost. In today's day and age, any computer or phone that can connect to the Internet can allow you to learn guitar easily and on the cheap.

Today I wanted to share some of my most used apps for guitar. These range from simple utilities (like a metronome) to full on tab sites. These are the apps I go to every time I pick up a guitar to practice. Let's dig in!


Tabs & Chords by Ultimate Guitar


Nine times out of ten, I'll try and purchase the real tabs or notation book for a song or album I'm learning. Many times  I'll try and learn the songs by ear. If I need a quick tab, and I don't have much time to learn the song, I'll turn to Tabs & Chords by Ultimate Guitar. You can search their huge database of tabs, and learn lots of songs. Everything from Metallica to Led Zeppelin, and so much more. For an extra fee, you can pick up some guitar tools such as a metronome, a tuner, lesson packs and more.


Guitar Pro



Guitar Pro for iOS and its desktop counterpart have changed my life when it comes to tabs. I write tons of notation in this app, and then can send the files to my phone or tablet if I'm on the go. One of the best things about the app and program for your computer, is that the songs play (in a MIDI-esque sounding way) as the parts go by. This is really helpful when you're trying to pick apart a phrase. You can find lots of great Guitar Pro tabs online, and solo each individual part out to learn it! I also use this for making tabs for students and for the website.

If you'd like to read my full review of Guitar Pro 7 for the desktop, check it out here.

Fender Tune

Everyone needs a tuner, and my favorite app for one has been Fender's Tune. The app is accurate, can tune an electric, acoustic or bass guitar, and even allows for alternate tunings. The best part? It's entirely free! Thanks Fender.

Chord!


I talked to the developer of the app Chord a while back, and he was nice enough to walk me through the entire app. If you remember any of the Guitar Grimoire series of books, Chord is very similar to having a chord, scale, and tuning dictionary right in your pocket. You can build complex chords or scales you've never played before, use it as a quick reference tool, and so much more. This app is an invaluable resource for every type of player. I also heard as beautiful as this app is, it may be getting an overhaul, so stay tuned!

I went more in depth on why Chord! is so awesome in my full review. Check it out here.

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Positive Grid Bias and Jam Up


I love what Positive Grid is doing with their apps, and talk about them all the time.. With Jam Up they give you tons of amp, cabinet, and effects models to string together, and with Bias you can make your own custom amp head.

These apps are perfect for practicing. You can throw on a pair of headphones and play all night, and these amps sound good! You have amp models like Mesa Boogie to Marshall, Orange, and much more. One of the best features of these apps are the ToneCloud presets. You can download famous guitar players sounds and use them for your own playing!

TabBank

TabBank is a text editor that helps you write lyrics, chords, and tabs all from your iOS device. It's like Apple's Notes app, but built for songwriters. You can take your entire song book along with you, and also use its handy action extension to save tabs from the internet right into your library. The app gets out of your way and looks great. Another helpful feature for guitarists is that you can tap on a chord or section of tab and the app will play the chord or riff you've written, and it'll also show you how to play it on the guitar neck.

If you'd like to learn even more about TabBank, check out my full review here.


Time Guru


I've talked about using a metronome in the past, and it is essential when practicing. I enjoy practicing to backing tracks, but when I'm not, I'm using a metronome to help keep me in time. The unique thing about Time Guru is that it will leave beats out as you're playing. What this does is help you strengthen your inner clock. At the end of the day, you'll get a much stronger sense of time and become a much cleaner player. 

I've also loved using Tempo Advance, which I've used for odd time signatures and setlists of tempos for practice.


iReal Pro


iReal Pro is a fantastic app that looks like old jazz charts right on your phone. It's a simple backing track app, and can help you practice. With presets covering everything from Bossa Nova to Blues, Odd Meters and more, iReal Pro is a powerful accompaniment machine. If you want to make your own backing track, it's as simple as tapping your chord changes in to their templates.

Music Theory Apps

tenuto_theory_lessons_semitones.jpeg

All the apps I mentioned above are perfect for guitar players, but at the end of the day, we're all musicians. Knowing the "why" behind what we're playing is so important, which is why I wanted to include 3 of my favorite music theory apps. Theory Lessons and Tenuto are perfect for understanding the inner workings of music, and Semitones is great for practicing the distance from one note to another (super helpful when you're trying to learn or transcribe a song). These apps will make you a better musician!


What's your favorite guitar app?

Those are some of my favorite apps to learn and practice guitar. They'll help you become a better player, and at the same time open up your playing vocabulary. What's your favorite guitar app? Let me know by reaching out on Twitter or Facebook!

A modified version of this post originally appeared in the Six String Sunday newsletter. Want the best guitar news each and every weekend? Sign up below!

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