5 Handy Apps for Guitarists in 2022

 

Photo by Marcos Vinicius on Unsplash

Practicing, gigging and touring in the modern music landscape is more complicated nowadays, particularly with the limitations imposed by Covid-19. 

There's nothing wrong with a good old analog setup, but embracing new technology can increase the efficiency of your practice and performance. 

There are countless phone and tablet apps on the market. A lot of them are confusing, ineffective, or not worth the price. 

After trying out dozens, found the 5 best apps for guitarists that will actually help your playing. 

Read on to get going.

 

1: "Guitar Tricks" for Learning Guitar

When you hear the phrase "an app to help you learn guitar," you may think that it only applies to fledgling guitarists who need lessons about chords and tunings. Guitar Tricks offers that in spades, but it also offers highly advanced courses for experienced guitarists.

Guitar Tricks bridges the gap between a haven for beginners and a place for highly skilled players.

A screenshot from iPhone app "Guitar Tricks" showing menu options titled "Beginner Lessons," "Experienced Lessons," and "Song Library."

Follow step-by-step videos for each tutorial, or find lessons covering your favorite songs. 

Guitar Tricks comes with a whole slew of useful guitar tools like the Scale Finder, the Fretboard Trainer, downloadable tabs and video playback.

Browse collections, song libraries and genres to find what's best for you.

A screenshot from iPhone app "Guitar Tricks," showing guitar lesson collections like "British Invasion Songs," "Early Rock n' Roll," "80s Hair Metal" and more.

 

Guitar Tricks costs $19.99 a month, but you can buy a yearly subscription at the rate of $15 a month.

Find it in the Apple and Google Play app stores.

2: "The Metronome by Soundbrenner" for Keeping Time

Finding a reliable digital metronome should be easy, right? You'd be surprised. I mean, we tried. Some were really expensive (what?), some were inaccurate, and some just flat out didn't work. 

Finally, we found Soundbrenner's metronome app. Check it out: 

A screenshot of the iPhone app "The Metronome by Soundbrenner."

Soundbrenner is known for their Pulse and Core, watches that vibrate a song's BPM while you play. They're fantastic products, and the app is set up to sync with them, but you don't have to purchase one to use the metronome. 

It comes with a BPM scroll wheel, multiple time signatures, tap tempo, and a visual representation at the top. Plus, you can save individual presets to match the songs on your set list. 

Soundbrenner's metronome is always free to use, but you have the option to buy access to unlimited songs and setlists, unlimited sync to iCloud, and more. Soundbrenner Plus costs $7.99 a month, or you can pay the annual fee at a rate of $4.99 a month. Go check it out!

 3: "Ultimate Guitar" for Guitar Tabs, Bass Tabs and More

If you learned to play guitar in the internet era, it's safe to say you likely got your first guitar tabs from a website like Ultimate Guitar. Even if you've been playing for decades, you've almost certainly have seen this name come across your radar. 

Now, Ultimate Guitar has developed a phone and iPad app for Apple and Android, which brings the bulk of their website to your cell phone. But is it any good? 

It boasts "the world's largest catalog of guitar, bass & ukulele chords, tabs, and lyrics. . .' and its unbelievably high ratings seem to back it up. 

Here are a few things that make the app a good fit for guitarists, whether you're a touring musician or an enthusiast: 

  • 1.4 million guitar tabs and chords 
  • On-board tuner 
  • Offline access to the tabs you download
  • Playlist creation to compile your favorite tabs and guitar chords
  • Left-handed mode 
  • Dark mode (ideal for your next bar gig) 

Perhaps best of all, Ultimate Guitar's app gives you ability to actually edit your tabs. You can change the chords, transpose, and even change the lyrics to personalize your favorite projects. 

Though you can find many of the tabs for free, you'll need to upgrade to Ultimate Guitar Pro if you want to access many of the features listed. It's $9.99 a month, or $39.99 a year, and definitely worth a closer look.

4: "Harmonious: Music Theory" For In-Depth Musical Scholarship

Have you wanted to learn more about music theory lately? Have you been saying you'll get to it for about 5 years now? Don't sweat it, we found a little gem of an app.

Though it isn't a big name, it gives you access to an unbelievable cache of musical knowledge, with tutorials, easy-to-read lessons and more. 

Made by developed Jared Updike, Harmonious is "the exhaustive piano and guitar chord and scale app for students, composers, songwriters, arrangers, and working musicians."

A screenshot from the phone app "Harmonious: Music Theory," showing a list of tutorials and how-tos

You can start with tutorials on navigating the app, as well as using all of its different features. The "Theory: Straight, No Jargon," is a fantastic introduction for those of us who find the often (verbose, arduous intricacies of theory) to be somewhat annoying. 

However, if you're ready to really dive in, you can. Learn to read music, use interactive fretboards and pianos, audio examples, even mode diagrams. 

Screenshot from iPhone app "Harmonious: Music Theory" showing various tutorials about musical concepts such as scales, fret notation, and fret diagrams"

Sometimes the lesser known tools are the best tools. Harmonious only cost $5 per month, and is well worth the small expenditure

5: "Guitar Tuner - Chromatic" for Accurate Tune-ups 

There's dozens and dozens of guitar tuner apps available for Apple and Android, so why Chromatic? Because it's simple, accurate, and free

Pop it open and this is what you see: 

A screenshot of an iPhone app called "Guitar Tuner - Chromatic" showing the note and level of an instrument, as well as options to remove ads, and do ear training.

It may not be terribly glamorous, but that's exactly what makes it worthwhile. As you can see, the free version is accompanied by a few ads, but it never affects the performance, and it never stops you from tuning up.

After all, it's unlikely that you don't have a tuner on your pedalboard. But in instances where you're on the go, or don't have your full setup, it never hurts to have a reliable program on your side. 

Our advice? Don't pay an arm and a leg for a tuner app that might be marginally more accurate. Guitar Tuner - Chromatic gets the job done just fine.

Please note: Guitar Tuner - Chromatic is only available on iOS. For Android users, we recommend Guitar Tuner - Simple Tuners. It's free, and offers much of the same functionality and ease-of-use. You can find it in the Google Play Store now! 

5: Wr(app)ing It Up 

Having on-the-go tools for your guitar is a win-win. You get diverse, affordable technology without taking up more space on your pedalboard.

Easy access to guitar tabs, tuners, chord diagrams and music theory concepts gives you a leg up anywhere, and it gives you the ability to practice anywhere you bring your instrument. 

We think all the aforementioned apps are worthwhile, and they come with minimal cost. Find them on the Apple or Google Play store.

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And as always, keep rockin'

3 comments

  • “Guitar Tuna” tuner app that works well, includes a metronome.

    Mark Lewis
  • Jim, thank you so much for taking the time to help us make this post better. We’ve gone ahead and added an alternative from the Google Play Store. Keep rockin’

    Singular Sound
  • “Guitar Tuner – Chromatic” is iOS-only.. not on Android. :(

    Jim Buck

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