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.