Apps make our lives as guitarists 10x easier.
Nowadays there are apps that teach you guitar, tablature apps, toolbox apps and even recording apps which are completely free. Best of all, you can bring them with you anywhere and access them at the click of a button, like a pizza delivery.
But sometimes, there are just so many apps, it’s hard to know which ones are actually helpful. In this post today, I’ll go over the top 10 best apps that will help you learn guitar.
Also, I have an Android phone, so not all of these are available on iOS. But never fear, I’ll give you some alternatives anyway.
1. Fender Play
Designed by the instrument giant itself, Fender Play has blown up since it’s release. No, you pedantic people… not literally. I mean, in just 3 years it has over 1 million downloads on the Google Play Store alone… yikes!
My favourite part is that you can chose the genres that you want to learn. Whether blues, rock, country, pop or folk is your thing, you can be sure that you will reach a good enough level to get yourself a date with the girl next door.
Each lesson is taught through super high quality videos from experienced teachers too, so you learn plenty of great tips along the way.
The songs section is also great, where there are literally hundreds of videos made by the instructors at Fender to teach you songs from metal to jazz, with a dedicated tab player for each one too.
But I guess if you just want to learn to play guitar and not have to think too much about what path to choose, then it can feel a little daunting.
A bit like choosing between a Bugatti, Ferrari or McLaren when you’ve never driven a car before.
But I’d rather have the choice personally, and this will be one of the best apps to learn guitar for a long time.
- Choose what you want to learn
- High quality 1 to 1 video lessons from experienced instructors
- 14 day free trial
- Tabs of songs to learn too
- 10% of all Fender products with the Annual Plan
Price from: £7.00/$9.99 per month
2. Justin Guitar Beginner Lessons: Play Real Songs
Each lesson is accompanied by an instructional video for that 1 to 1 feel, with multiple exercises and songs to try out as well. This helps makes the app really fun and interactive, whilst also being packed full of expert tips.
My favourite part is the “Playground” section where you can filter the songs it suggests you learn by the chords you know. You can even access the 1st Stage of the app without paying to see if you like it or not.
This app is all about teaching you the basics and getting you playing, fast. Like, really fast.
I found it really hard to find anything I didn’t like about this app. It doesn’t take you to an intermediate or advanced level but that’s not really the point of it anyway. It’s goal is to be one of best apps to learn beginner guitar and it’s achieved just that. All in all, a solid app.
- Learn to actually play music
- Useful exercises to take part in
- 1 to 1 feel
- Playground section has loads of skill level based songs to learn
- For brand new beginners only
Price: £8.49/$9.99 per month
In my opinion, Songsterr is the best app/website out there for learning songs. A controversial statement, I know… but here’s why…
It has hundreds of thousands of tabs from pop to death metal and has many features that I love. Even in the free version you can hit “play” and a guitar will play out the tab in front of you so you can read and hear the notes at the same time.
The tabs are set out in a really aesthetic and organised way too, with note lengths displayed underneath each line of tab.
You can also switch to the other instruments in the band – such as guitar 1, guitar 2, bass guitar and drums – and view the parts for those.
That means you can send your bassist the same tab you’re learning from so he never learns anything in the wrong key again. Genius!
The only fault that I could find for Songsterr is that I prefer the website version to the app.
This is mainly because I prefer the vertical orientation of the website version over the horizontal orientation of the app. That’s just my personal preference though.
Either way, this will always be one of the best apps to help you learn guitar songs quickly.
- Lots of great features
- Tidy and organised
- Hundreds of thousands of songs
- Nothing at all
Price: Free or $9.90 per month/$29.99 one-time purchase
I love this app. When I first started playing guitar Yousician was literally all I used for the first few months.
It’s designed to turn playing guitar into a game, so it’s hooks you to the point where you sort of wanna scream in anger and toss your guitar out the window when your free 30 mins are up… no?…Maybe that was just me…
It works by using your phone/computer’s microphone to listen to the notes you play and compares them to the notes it’s telling you to play on screen – pretty cool if you ask me. You choose between a rhythm or lead path to go down, and get guided lessons and songs to play along each step.
But it’s not all sunshines and daisies.
To play the notes the app is telling you to play during the songs, you need to look at the screen. To look at the screen, you need to look away from the guitar. To look away from your guitar whilst playing in the beginning = big mess.
So you end up flicking your vision between the guitar and the screen like a crowd at a tennis match.
And it’s also not quite so comprehensive as an app like Fender Play.
Nevertheless, Yousician has a proven track record with over 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store alone so I’m not the only who thinks it’s one of the best apps to learn guitar.
- Handheld guided course
- Chose between rhythm and lead guitar paths
- 30 mins per day free
- Game-like + interactive
- Can also teach ukulele, bass, singing, piano
- Difficult to watch and play at the same time
- Can’t choose to learn specific genres
Price: Free or £10.99/$9.99 per month for Premium
5. Guitar Toolbox
Guitar Toolbox is just one of those must-have apps for guitar players. Having a tuner anywhere you go will help you to no end.
Hot weather made your strings go out of tune? You can tune it and play. Pick an out of tune guitar off the wall in a guitar store? You can tune it and play. Anywhere you go, any guitar you pick up… you can tune it and play.
It’s comes with chord diagrams of every chord you could ever make in every shape possible, a metronome AND the option to tune your guitar to any tuning you want. Now how epic is that? In my opinion, this is the ultimate toolbox app.
It’s so useful and guess what? It’s FREE.
There are the ads however, which is annoying but I prefer that to having to pay for extra features.
Also it’s annoyingly not available for iOS, so I’d recommend downloading Fender Tuner and GuitarTuna (which I mention later) for iOS users. The app is also relatively new so doesn’t yet have the track record of either of the two previously mentioned.
- Fantastic features
- Completely free
- Easy to use and simple interface
- Can tune guitar to other tunings
- Ads may annoy some people
6. Ultimate Guitar
Ultimate Guitar is the biggest platform for guitar tabs on the planet. As a result, it’s been one of the best apps to learn guitar for many years. Whether you want to learn the chords to a song or how to play a particular solo, you can be sure it’ll be on here.
The features it offers are pretty epic too. It offers backing tracks, “Official” tabs *wolf whistle* made by the Ultimate Guitar team themselves, a loop feature, a metronome, a tab player that you can change the speed of, the ability to select other instrument parts AND a live fretboard display of the notes being played.
The only problem is, to get all this good stuff you have to get the Pro version. The layout on the Pro version is also much tidier and readable than the free version too.
In short, the Pro version is amazing but the free version isn’t so amazing. That’s why I personally prefer Songsterr – you get a lot more without having to pay.
However, these features aren’t exactly expensive to access. It normally costs just a few bucks a month.
- Pro version is amazing
- “Official” ultra-accurate tabs
- Packed full of features
- Millions of users
- You have to pay for most features
- Free version not so great
Price: Free with different Pro plans available
Made by the guys over at Yousician, GuitarTuna is another great toolbox app. I mean, the ROFL-worthy pun-based name makes it worthy of being on this list on its own…
But it does have a proven track record, and is many guitarists’ go-to tuner app. It also features a metronome and chord diagrams for every chord shape under the sun. There are also games that you can play on the app to memorize chords and train your musical ear.
However, to get access to alternate tunings and more levels to the games, you have to pay a monthly fee.
I also think that if you want more of the “ear training stuff” then MyEarTraining is gonna be your guy.
- Well made app by Yousician
- Proven track record
- Some great features
- Limited access without payment
Price: Free with in-app purchases
8. Music Theory Helper
Yes, I knowww. Us guitarists we HATE music theory. But thankfully Music Theory Helper lays everything you need to know out in a (relatively) simple and easy to understand way.
It makes learning music theory as painless as possible with good explanations and pre-recorded chords and notes.
After using this app for a couple of weeks, you’ll be a music theory maestro.
My only criticism is that it doesn’t explain how stuff like scale modes work yet. Every guitar player will run into them at one point and they tend to frazzle our non-theory-competent brains.
It would just be nice if there was a painless explanation for them on here. Also this isn’t available for iOS but Perfect Ear is a great alternative.
- Easy to use
- Painless explanations
- 100% free – no ads or paywalls
- Doesn’t yet cover how scale modes work
If you own an iPhone, iPad or MacBook, then learning to use GarageBand is a no brainer. (If you don’t have an iOS device, then don’t worry, I mention an alternative next).
The interface is simple and easy to use, with recording, mixing and exporting your music being as easy as burning toast. I’ve used GarageBand many times before to compose songs I always have a good time.
It has everything you need and more to get some solid demos down at home or on the go. And it’s free too, which is amazing considering most DAWs cost hundreds.
Obviously, if you want to produce your own music then GarageBand – or any mobile app really – isn’t the way to go.
- 100% free
- Easy to get to grips with
- Record, mix and export music
- App version means you can record on the go
- Not great for full-fledged music production
If you can’t get GarageBand then BandLab is the next best thing, if not better.
It’s interface is really easy to use with many great features too. Recording, mixing and exporting is also a breeze and although it functions similarly to GarageBand, it has some extra features which give it the edge.
A notepad for lyrics, a built in social platform to find other musicians AND the ability to upload your track to a cloud space where your band members can access it and record their parts are all nifty extras.
And guess what? It’s 100% free with no ads or paywalls. *Mind blown…* Try and find me better value than that and I’ll eat my Telecaster.
- Simple and easy to use
- Connect with other musicians
- Record, mix and export on the go
- 100% free with no paywalls or ads
- Not great for proper musical production
There you have it.
In my humble opinion, these are the best apps to help you learn guitar out at the moment.
Use them wisely and you may even be able to take over the universe.
Anyway, I’ve had a great experience with all of these apps so the chances are they’ll float ya boat too.
Be sure to let me know in the comments if you think I have missed any 🙂