An Essential Guide To The Best Guitar Teaching App

Technology is your friend when you’re learning guitar! Check out our guitar teaching app list and find something that works for you!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • Why apps are so great for learning
  • Our 8 favourite guitar apps
  • Why slowing down music helps you learn
  • How to build an arsenal of apps to help you learn

Which Guitar Teaching App Is Right For Me?

Once upon a time, people had to wear out their vinyl just to learn how to play an A major chord!

Now, all we need to do is ask our phones! Modern times sure are nice!

There is enough instructional information on our phones to paralyze us out of picking up the guitar in the first place, but there’s no need to go through all of it.

To get you started, we’ve got a rundown for you to get off on the right foot with a solid guitar teaching app.

  • Some of the apps listed below are focused on guitar instruction, breaking things down into the individual skills you need to learn to play the guitar.
  • Some of them are utility apps, helping you to learn songs or maintain your guitar.
  • Without getting bogged down in everything that’s available, start with a few of these.
  • Most are free to try, and each guitar teaching app on this list has something worthwhile for you!

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Guitar Teaching App I – Ultimate Guitar: Chords & Tabs

This guitar teaching app comes first because it is easily the most reliable source of chords and tabs available for an incredibly vast and diverse collection of songs.

Whatever other app you use for support in learning the guitar, you should have this one as well.

  • There is a free version. To try it out, just download the app and search for a song you want to play. Pick any song, Ultimate Guitar probably has it.
  • When you find the song you want to learn, Ultimate Guitar has the chords and sometimes a version of the song in tablature.

There is a suggested strumming pattern. The chords have either chord diagrams showing you a way to make the chord or a list of numbers, like “320003,” indicating the frets used in a G major chord.

Guitar-Teaching-App

The little devil horns on the G logo are charming.

There are just two caveats for Ultimate Guitar, and they are both pretty common across music apps generally.

  • First, because Ultimate Guitar allows different contributors to submit chords and tab, you are as likely to run into a mistake-ridden set of chords written up by a teenager killing time in math class as you are to find a beautifully detailed and accurate chart or tab.
  • This means that you have to use your ears and critical thinking in using the information you get, especially from the free version.

Best-way-to-practice-guitar

There is a paid version of the app that eliminates the ads and includes peer-reviewed tabs by people Ultimate Guitar has designated experts.

Second, the free version of Ultimate Guitar does include wading through a lot of ads, mostly for the paid version of Ultimate Guitar.

  • Having said that, Ultimate Guitar is a solid guitar teaching app for finding song material.
  • Apart from artist-specific sites like Howard Wright’s amazing Steely Dan collection and other paid apps from professionals, it is the best free app for finding guitar chords for the songs you want to learn.

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Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

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Guitar Teaching App II – Yousician

It’s similar to Rock Band for people who want to learn a real instrument!

Yousician is a guitar teaching app that makes learning into a game, and why not?

Music is a discipline, but it is supposed to be fun and gratifying, and Yousician delivers that.

Covering not only guitar but also uke, piano, and voice, Yousician gives you bite-sized lessons and an algorithm by which it delivers some feedback.

You learn at your own pace and can repeat your lessons as many times as you like.

Guitar-Teaching-App

Yousician is wonderful for getting started on the guitar because you begin by doing, and you get a little score at the end that gives you some idea whether to move on or repeat the lesson.

There are two large drawbacks to Yousician, one of which is common to every guitar teaching app:

  • You are not supplied with the technical feedback necessary to really improve.
  • For guitar and voice especially, that creates a risk of injury.
  • There are demonstrations, but it does not show you what you are doing wrong, so the advertising claim that there is feedback on your performance, while true, is incomplete.

National-Guitar-Academy

The other large drawback to Yousician is that it does not really help you to stop relying on the app to play.

  • A guitar teaching app ought to be something you can step away from to play guitar, and that is not necessarily the case here.
  • There are other apps that do a better job of getting you to play independently, but Yousician is absolutely wonderful for getting started on the guitar.

Pro-Tip: Whatever guitar teaching app or live teacher or combination you use to learn to play, get into the habit of recording yourself practicing.

You may never listen to all of the recordings you make, but being able to hear what you are doing helps you to learn to listen to yourself and others, and that is the most important musical skill you can develop.

Learn-Guitar-App

Guitar Teaching App III – Fender Play

Fender Play uses its fame as one of the world’s premier guitar manufacturers to sell its monthly fee-based guitar teaching app. The lessons are geared toward the absolute beginner guitarist.

There is a 14-day free trial, so you can check it out for yourself!

The lessons for beginners are fantastic, and there is absolutely no reason not to begin learning guitar with the thorough and professional learning capsules Fender has produced.

Guitar-Teaching-App

Although Fender procures your credit card information and will charge it at the end of the free trial unless you cancel, it’s worth it to try out this guitar teaching app as much as you can in that 14-day period if you are an absolute beginner on guitar.

Fender Play is not necessarily for you if you have some experience on the guitar.

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Although they have a good and growing library of songs available, those songs are available on the free version of Ultimate Guitar and on YouTube.

  • With that, unless there are other features you like, the songs alone may not be worth the monthly subscription.
  • The bottom line on Fender Play is that it is a good deal for beginners to try out, especially with the amount of free material available online through National Guitar Academy and other providers to support you on your quest to rock out!

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Guitar Teaching App IV – Chordbank

Chordbank is sincerely trying to be the only guitar teaching app you need.

The features in this app are comprehensive, useful, and high-quality.

  • It may not be the only app you need, but it definitely belongs on your phone or whatever.
  • Chordbank has a great guide to chords. If we weren’t guitar nerds we might say there is too much information on there, because it gets into the music theory behind the chords.
  • That gets us excited, but it isn’t necessary information for you to play the chord.
  • But who cares? Chordbank has beginning guitar lessons, the guides to chords and scales so you can practice, a tuner, a metronome, and a bank of backing tracks for you to jam with!

3-chord-guitar-songs-for-beginners

Chordbank’s free version is delightful, but there are only so many features before you really need to purchase the full version to get the advantage of the app.

Having said that, every feature in this app is useful and friendly to guitarists who are beginners as well as those who have been at it for a while. This is an all-around great guitar teaching app.

3-chord-guitar-songs-for-beginners

Guitar Teaching App V – Guitar Jam Tracks

The absolute best way to learn to play lead guitar, improvise, use scales to create melodies, and to think out loud on the guitar is to play over backing tracks.

Guitar Jam Tracks is the guitar teaching app created just for you.

  • If you are just learning scales, this is a scale trainer to help you figure out which scales go over which backing tracks.
  • If you’ve got some scales under your fingers and you need to develop dexterity and flexibility moving around the neck, the backing tracks work as a harmony guide and a metronome to keep you playing.
  • This app can keep anyone busy for hours jamming along to the backing tracks.

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This five-dollar app has scale guides, charts, and backing tracks played by live musicians. It makes a difference!

Synthesized backing tracks are fine to work with but the live feeling is much more inspiring.

The best feature of this app is that the backing tracks are transposable, so you can use them over different scales.

There are two features that could use improvement, and maybe in the future those improvements will happen.

The first is that the tempo of the tracks is not changeable. You are stuck with the speed they give you.

For learning, it is invariably better to take a skill at a practice tempo until you’ve mastered it and then gradually increase the tempo while maintaining control.

musical-guitar-rhythm

The other is that you are stuck with the chord progressions they give you.

There are other apps like Chordbot that allow you to string chords together. However, for the money, Guitar Jam Tracks is a great guitar teaching app.This five-dollar app has scale guides, charts, and backing tracks played by live musicians. It makes a difference!

Synthesized backing tracks are fine to work with, but the live feeling is much more inspiring.

  • The best feature of this app is that the backing tracks are transposable, so you can use them over different scales and keys.
  • There are other apps like Chordbot that allow you to string chords together. For the money however, Guitar Jam Tracks is a great guitar teaching app.

How-to-learn-guitar-app

Pro-Tip: Keep a chord encyclopedia, like the one in Chordbank or the National Guitar Academy website, handy on your phone so that you can look up chords as you are learning songs!

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Guitar Teaching App VI – FretBuzz

Fretbuzz is a fantastic little app for teaching scales and arpeggios – two crucial parts of being a guitarist.

This app houses a small library of scales and examples that you can pull up for reference to learn.

One of our favourite parts of this app is that it displays the notes of the scales on the fretboard itself so you have a more visual reference to work off of.

If you’re wanting to learn to play the modes of the major scale, Fretbuzz is a great place to start.

beginner-scales-guitar

Guitar Teaching App VII – Chordbot Lite

This amazing little app is fantastic for arranging chord progressions and playing them back.

It may not seem like much of anything at first, but this app is wonderful for opening us up to new chord shapes that we may not have considered previously to include in our progressions.

  • The thing about chords is that one note can change everything. Chordbot Lite highlights those differences so that we can hear them.
  • This opens us up to learning new songwriting techniques like voice leading by training our ear.
  • This app should be in every songwriter’s toolkit.

ab guitar chord

Guitar Teaching App VIII – Amazing Slow Downer Lite

This is not, strictly speaking, a guitar teaching app, but it is an absolutely essential guitar teaching app if you are ever to have any hope of playing by ear.

The Amazing Slow Downer is just that: an app through which you play whatever song it is you want to learn, and you can slow the playback down to better hear the part and find the notes or chords.

Guitar-teacher-app

There is a paid version of the Amazing Slow Downer that makes it easier to loop and contains additional features, and even at 15 dollars it’s not a bad deal.

The free version is all you need, however if you want to slow down songs to learn.

You can also keep a song at the same tempo and change the key, a feature that still astounds and delights those of us old enough to remember slowing down recordings and pitch.

The Amazing Slow Downer is the best guitar teaching app that doesn’t explicitly teach guitar.

Supplement Your Guitar Teaching App Collection!

Every guitar teaching app on this list has something different to offer.

You can get the most out of each one by supplementing what you are learning with other resources, online, in a book, or with a live teacher.

  • The National Guitar Academy has online lessons for you that will add to the lessons you learn in an app.
  • YouTube is full of free videos, many by the same instructors in some of the apps.
  • Those instructors also have books you can use to learn. Just keep playing!

Recommended Resources

If you enjoyed this guide to finding the best guitar teaching app, you’ll love our other content below!

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