10 of the best guitar learning apps for 2020

It’s time to dust off that acoustic that’s been stuck under your bed for years and learn something other than Wonderwall. Here are the best apps to get you Glastonbury-ready.

Fender Play

Fender introduced its tuition platform back in 2017 and since then has added consistent upgrades to make it one of, if not the, best learning tool on the web. With hundreds of easy to follow lessons and guides to improve your playing and ability. Once you sign up, you’ll answer a variety of questions on preferred instrument and genre before those responses guide the creation of a comprehensive, customised curriculum comprised of personal “learning paths.”

The platform was created with the guidance of an educational advisers from Thornton School of Music at University of Southern California in Los Angeles and Musicians Institute in Hollywood. There’s plenty going on under the hood here to ensure you stay engaged, such as a a progressive new micro-learning strategy, for those of you that have had your concentration levels zapped by endless scrolling on social media. It’s £15.99 a month, but given the research and quality of tuition, it’s more than worth the price. Did you really expect a bad product from Fender?

Price: £15.99 per month.

Yousician

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yousician

Have you always wanted to play the guitar, but the beginning always seemed slow and frustrating? Us neither. Nevertheless, Yousician is here to help you along the way with a curriculum written by music teachers to help both beginners and intermediate players alike.

Suitable for guitar, bass and even ukulele, the app offers step-by-step video tutorials with a library of over 1,500 “missions” and exercises, and also the ability to give you instant feedback on your performance and offers musical theory tuition. The app is free to download but does require a premium subscription for unlimited and uninterrupted playtime across all platforms.

Price: Free (subscription service offered starting at $9.99 per month).

GarageBand for iOS

learning apps

Almost every millennial’s beginner DAW, GarageBand is now available in your pocket, too. Perfect for when inspiration strikes, and you simply have to record that bossa nova-trap beat that you’ve been humming to yourself in the queue at your local *insert-hipster-coffee-shop*. GarageBand allows you to turn your iPhone or iPad into a respectably deep DAW, particularly due to its price and array of quality on-board amplifier and pedal sims.

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You can use a Touch Instrument, microphone or a guitar and instantly record with support for up to 32 tracks, and also download additional free instruments via the sound library. Add a virtual drummer that’ll play along to your track to add that extra layer of authenticity, and to keep you in time, and you’re set. Recording, mixing and exporting a song can be done at 24-bit audio resolution and you can also upload your track directly to YouTube and Soundcloud. Billie Eilish wrote Bad Guy in a bedroom, go one better and write your masterpiece with your phone in one hand and overpriced flat white in the other.

Price: Free.

AmpliTube

learning apps

Made by IK Multimedia, AmpliTube is the free companion app to iRig. It essentially allows you to use any device – be it your phone, tablet or wind-up radio – to process, play and record your guitar and/or bass while you’re on the move. It offers an extensive library of realistic virtual versions of some of the globe’s most sought after gear. The app is super intuitive and easy to use, and it lets you drag and drop gear to create custom rigs.

It utilises the same digital signal processor as the acclaimed AmpliTube Custom Shop for Mac and PC, so it’s easy to see why this has become somewhat of an industry standard. AmpliTube comes with a great collection of gear that includes 11 pedal effects (delay, fuzz, overdrive, wah, envelope filter, chorus, flanger, phaser, octave, noise filter and distortion), five amps (clean, crunch, lead, metal and bass), five speaker cabs and two microphones (dynamic 87 and condenser 87).

Price: £23.99.

Songsterr Guitar Tabs & Chords

songsterr site screenshot

Songsterr has long been a go-to application for campfire guitarists due to its easy and user-friendly UI and has over 500,000 tabs and chords listed in its ever-expanding catalogue. Unlike other apps and websites that over a variety of song versions, Songsterr lists one version of tab per song, due to its high transcription quality. As an added bonus, the music creators and writers get paid. Something to ensure your morals aren’t compromised whilst you’re learning your favourite The Smiths song…

The app also overs a count-in, the ability to solo instruments and loop selected measures. Note that tabs will display and scroll across the screen while the song is played, which might take some getting used to for you newbies. It’s reliable, updated regularly and only costs a fiver a month.

Price: $4.99 per month.

BandLab

bandlab

With over 12 million users and an in-built social networking platform, BandLab is the perfect mobile DAW for collaboration. You can upload tracks to BandLab to further your work with over 100 guitar and bass presets and the ability to record acoustic guitars, keyboards, pianos and synths with virtual MIDI instruments. The app comes with unlimited cloud storage and a handy mastering tool, so you never need to use external apps or programs to complete your mixes.

If you’re not in the mood to write, that’s not an issue either, as you can discover, and stream millions of tracks made by emerging and established artists to reignite your creative spark. It’s also totally free, with no paywalls or subscriptions.

Price: Free.

Ultimate Guitar: Chords & Tabs

You’d be hard-pressed to find a guitarist that hasn’t used Ultimate Guitar at some point during their playing life, whether it’s to finally learn John Lennon, or Noel Gallagher’s masterpiece, Don’t Look Back in Anger, or to further their next Instagram neo-jazz hit. It’s the largest online catalogue with free access to over 1.6 million tabs and lyric sheets, and 1.3 million subscribers. The app also offers dark mode, so you can check your accuracy during a gig without blinding yourself onstage, plus the option to switch to left-handed mode, compile playlists and adjust font sizes. There’s also the option of a Pro account which offers interactive tabs, transposition and an autoscroll function.

Price: Free (Pro upgrade option also available at various prices).

Guitar Tuna

An easy and fast tuning app that’s super accurate and perfect for those who are still distraught that the Polytune app isn’t available on Android. Made by the same team behind Yousician, it also uses the same audio recognition algorithms and additionally, it works in loud areas! The app has the latest in background noise cancellation technology, so your drummer can crack-on with his unprecedented levels of idiocy whilst you tune up in relative peace.

Price: Free.

Chordify

chordify mobile app

Similar in its make-up to both Songsterr and Ultimate Guitar, Chordify differs in its ability to offer a capo option and the capacity to download songs as MIDI files for easy editing. The programme has over 8,000,000 songs on tap and integrates seamlessly with YouTube. It automatically recognizes the acordes and audio signal of a song and will synchronize this with your song in a simple and innovative music player. Pretty neat.

Price: £4.99 per month.

Justin Guitar Beginner Lessons: Play Real Songs

Justin Guitar is one of the most revered tuition accounts on YouTube, so it’s fitting that his exploits have been turned into a useful app for beginners. Justin Sandercoe offers everything you could possibly need as a beginner guitar player, with innovative exercises and simple chord shapes, scales and strumming patterns. Over a million players have learned to play using Sandercoe’s website, JustinGuitar.com, and now those lessons are available in an interactive format.

Price: £8.49 per month.

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