5 Amazing iPhone Apps to Better Guitar Playing

Categories Articles, iPhone

Being a guitar player, I’m always trying to find tools and tricks that will help me improve my ability. The introduction of the iPhone brought with it many apps that can aide in that quest. Here are 5 apps that every guitar player should at least check out. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been playing for years, there’s always something you can still learn.


Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar

Thinking about picking up the guitar? Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar app is a great option. This free app that provides a few useful tools as well as some valuable content. Overall, the usability and usefulness of this app are fairly good. The app features a chromatic tuner, a metronome and chord diagrams, as well as a section with lessons along with a mobile version of the Gibson.com site.

The tuner works well, either using the iPhone’s mic to determine whether each string is tuned correctly, or in the alternate mode, simply playing the right note for tuning by ear. The metronome also works well although the number of time signatures provided is fairly limited. This is only a minor issue, as by setting the time signature to none, you can manually count whatever signature you desire, you just aren’t provided with a one beat. The Chord diagrams provided are lacking and do not cover anywhere near the number of chords that the average recreational guitarist will run into or should have access to, but it is a free app after all, so who’s complaining.

For beginner’s who aren’t sure just how far they are going to get with their guitar playing, this app is good start. In addition to the free tools, there are some demo lessons available. If those work out, you can consider purchasing the whole video teaching series.


If you’ve played guitar for any amount of time, you know just how difficult it can be to carry around all of the tools that can sometimes come in handy. Enter the GuitarToolkit, an app that can readily take the place of several of the devices in your guitar case.

GuitarToolkit is a full featured guitar tools app for $9.99. That might seem like a lot of cash, after all it’s just an iPhone app, but let’s put it into perspective. The least expensive guitar tuner I’ve ever purchased was about $20, for a basic metronome about the same, add in a chord reference book for $10 and the total package is up to $50. The GuitarToolkit includes these tools and more, which makes it well worth the $9.99 price tag.

The chromatic tuner is accurate, probably not for use in the studio, but if you’re practicing or playing a gig, it should work just fine. The metronome offers a good number of time signatures as well as a tap-tempo feature which allows you to set your own beat. The chord options are comprehensive enough to do in almost every situation. With these features along I feel like I get my money’s worth out of the app, but probably my favorite part of the app is the fretboard. On this screen you can view either an empty fretboard and play notes anywhere along it, or you can overlay various scales in different keys with indications for where the notes of that scale fall on the fretboard. This can be not only a valuable reference, but also a great teaching and ear training tool.

This app will be a go-to app for me for a long time to come.


PRS Jam Amp

Similar to the GuitarToolkit, this app is designed to replace or eliminate the need for some other equipment that is often necessary for a guitarist. In the case of the PRS Jam Amp, for $9.99 plus a couple of specialized cables, the electric guitar player can eliminate the need for a practice amp. The reality is that most of the time, if you’re using a practice amp, it’s because you simply need to keep the noise levels down. Well, what better way to do that then by using just the speaker on your iPhone, or better yet throwing on a pair of headphones.

The PRS Jam Amp provides a full host of features that are sure to impress. The app includes an amp simulator along with the necessary effects to get a few different sounds out of your guitar, a tuner, the ability to record and import audio, and the ability to play along with the music that you’ve brought into the app.

PRS Jam Amp allows a player to slow down music to play along to. Really want to nail that great solo from your favorite song, with this app, you can slow it down and work it at a reasonable speed until you’ve got it pegged.


PocketGuitar is a great app to have when you’re out and about. It’s right there in the name, it’s a guitar that you can keep in your pocket and it only costs $0.99. This app provides a number of options for sounds, ranging from acoustic guitar to electric bass. In addition, several effects can be added and the settings for the effects can be tweaked to give you just the right sound. The app is pretty straightforward, the touch screen fretboard works well, and the options are right. The only thing that could be integrated to make it really outstanding would be the ability to record. Overall, a really fun way to kill some time and who knows, you might just come up with your next great song using your iPhone instead of your guitar.


Reverse Chord Finder for Guitar

Ever see someone playing a chord and wonder what it was? Ever come up with a cool sound, but not sure where it fits and how to combine it with other chords? Enter the Reverse Chord Finder for Guitar. This $0.99 app is really simple, select which notes (string and fret) you want included in the chord and the app will let you know the name of the that chord.

Of course there are a hundred other apps out there for guitar, and that’s without getting into general music apps, but these 5 are ones that I’ve found which prove to be fairly useful. When these apps help you become a Rock Star, remember me.

Thorren is Director of Operations at Appboy, the premier social network for mobile app users and developers.

  • iPhone and guitar playing… that’s some thing special and unique. thanks for the share. I’ll try these apps

  • This is simply awesome! Cool apps for me to try out with my guitar. Thanks.

  • wow……really cool stuff

  • wonderful apps….i will definitely try theses

  • If there is a market anywhere there will be apps created for it. The reverse chord finder seems like it could come in handy for quite a few occasions.

  • Jay

    Guitar Toolkit actually already has a reverse chord finder so you can scratch that last app and save a dollar.

  • Cool! These are really great apps for guitarists, it’s like bringing your whole guitar kit wherever you go and in just a single gadget.

  • @Jay – thanks, I didn’t realize that the guitar toolkit had that. I’ll have to check it out.

  • Thom

    Another nice app to check out is RiotFX (http://www.riotmode.com) which is a realtime effects unit.

  • The PocketGuitar app is really cool. Brings out guitar playing in a higher tech level.

  • Paul

    Nice article –

    My two favorite guitar apps are 1) Guitar Toolkit and 2) Guitar Jam Tracks (http://www.ninebuzz.com) for when I feel like jamming to some backing tracks.

  • When I’m away from my electric guitar, I play on OT Guitar.

    It’s here at App Store – http://itunes.apple.com/ru/app/ot-guitar/id387631852?mt=8

  • nomo

    what about Ultimate Guitar? Lots of tabs and nice app.

  • These all look really awesome. I especially dig reverse-chord finder and pocket-guitar. Those have helped me at numerous times … in the line at the post office, waiting for a meal, waiting for the check after the meal, etc. I would like to add one to the list, which is an alternative to each of these tuners that tune to 440 Hz … Lovetunar … says “tune to the frequency of love…528 Hz” — this sounds odd but I must say absolutely makes your guitar resonate nicer since the slightly dropped tuning coincides with the natural harmonics. We’re talking STANDARD EADGBE tuning, but not in the standard 440 Hz all of these tuners use. Musicians must research it!

  • sammi

    Yes, please add to that list the Lovetunar iphone/ipod/ipad app http://lovetunar.com/ as it encapsulates the “to Better Guitar Playing” title. At the very least, 528Hz will make your cheap guitar sound better.

  • Hi all! I’d like to announce our iPhone app called Real Guitar. It’s a tool to play guitar right on your iPhone or iPad. Check it out please, and don’t forget to become our friends and like us here! We’d be glad if you followed us on Twitter, as well. Watch the demo video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW43FPM3gtE

  • Here’s a Guitar Lesson app that was pretty good.
    32 lessons I thought were pretty good! Helped me out of a few tough spots I was struggling with.

  • What you can also try is EarPlay Guitarist which is available on the App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/earplay-guitarist/id460836720?ls=1&mt=8

    It helps you learn the sound of the chords (ear training) which is useful if you want to transcribe the songs on your own.

  • GuitarJunkie

    Nice article, you may like the newest app out there called Guitar Loops – currently only iphone support, its designed for recording guitar riffs with a count-in, track trimming and more, check it out in the AppStore.


  • There is a book/app called Kasey’s Guitar Jams for Kids. It is for ages 4 and up. It is a fun and engaging way for children to learn to play music. The book/app is made up of 17 energetic songs that have vibrant illustrations with quirky song lyrics.

    App url-http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kaseys-guitar-jams-for-kids/id511771442?mt=8
    Promo video-http://youtu.be/XFEI44DYr_I

  • Natali

    This one is perfect “Smart Tuner”, simple and free