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Best software for guitarists: 10 best apps to learn guitar

Whether you’re a total beginner or lapsed player, these are the best apps and websites to help you learn how to play guitar.

Best Learning Apps for Guitar 2022

Image: Getty Images

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So you’ve got yourself your first electric guitar – and have gingerly strummed your way through Wonderwall and plucked out the riff for Enter Sandman. What now? Sure, you can keep on googling for guitar tabs to other songs, but to really improve as a guitarist, you’ll need some help.

There are dozens of digital learning tools available today. Some can be used as a supplement to your regular, in-person guitar lessons, while many others can replace those entirely. We’ve rounded up some of the best apps and websites to learn guitar – and don’t forget to check out our own Guitar.com lessons and in-depth tutorials.

What to look for in the best guitar learning apps

Not all guitar learning apps are created equal. Some offer great features for beginners, such as real-time feedback on your playing, play-along tabs and even instructional videos. Others are better suited to more experienced guitarists, allowing you to record and listen back to your playing in order to learn, from hearing, exactly where you need to improve.

If the app offers play-along tabs or chords, its song library is probably the most important factor to consider. Even if you’re just starting out, you’ll likely have an idea of the kind of music you’ll want to learn on guitar. Being able to play along to your favourite songs will keep you motivated – but playing outside of your comfort zone can also be a useful learning tool.

Keep in mind the level you’re at with the guitar – and the level you want to reach – while looking at learning apps.

The best guitar learning apps at a glance:

Tim Pierce Guitar

Tim Pierce Guitar
Credit: Tim Pierce Guitar

You might know Tim Pierce through his excellent YouTube content, but he also runs an extensive masterclass course, with lessons ranging from the very basics to advanced soloing techniques. Tim is a veteran session player, and can be heard on countless records by notable artists. So he’s got a veritable treasure-trove of knowledge to share about the instrument.

The masterclass also includes access to lessons about gear, tone and studio techniques, as well as exclusive live streams and Guitar Pro downloads to help you on your way. In total, there’s access to 1800 videos – that’s more than 150 hours of lessons!

Guitar.com readers get a $40 annual discount on full access to the masterclass! Learn more and sign up at timpierce.com

GuitarZoom

GuitarZoom

GuitarZoom is your one-stop-shop for lessons from the excellent Steve Stine. The extensive catalogue of video lessons – covering everything from classic solos to theory fundamentals – is organised into easy-to-digest courses, which automatically track your progress. Each course comes with a detailed accompanying document, offering tabs, chords and theory explanations.

The app, which works across desktop, iOS and Android, will also design a custom lesson path of multiple courses for you based on your current skill level and learning goals. At $39/month or $399/year, it is a little more expensive than other options on this list, however, you are getting your money’s worth in terms of the range and quality of the lessons.

Find out more and sign up at guitarzoom.com.

Ultimate Guitar

You’d be hard-pressed to find a guitarist that hasn’t used Ultimate Guitar at some point during their playing life. It has the largest online catalogue with free access to over 1.6 million tabs and lyric sheets. The app also offers dark mode, so you can check your screen 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.

Find out more and sign up here.

Songsterr

songsterr site screenshot

Songsterr has long been a go-to application for campfire guitarists due to its easy and user-friendly UI – and the fact that it has over 500,000 tabs and chords listed in its ever-expanding catalogue. And this isn’t one of those online libraries with dozens of tab versions for each song. Due to Songsterr’s high transcription quality, there’s just a single tab per song, and the music creators and writers get paid, too. Something to ensure your morals aren’t compromised while you’re learning your favourite Smiths track…

The app also offers a count-in as well as the ability to solo instruments and loop selected measures. Tabs will display and scroll across the screen while the song is played, which might take some getting used to for newbies. It’s reliable, updated regularly and only costs a couple of dollars a month.

Find out more and sign up here.

Fender Play

fender play

Since Fender introduced its tuition platform back in 2017, the brand has added consistent upgrades to make Fender Play arguably the best digital learning tool today.
The app contains 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. Your responses will then guide the creation of a comprehensive, customised curriculum comprising what Fender describes as personal “learning paths”.

The platform was created with the guidance of 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 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.

Find out more and sign up here.

Chordify

chordify mobile app

While similar 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 recognises the chords via the audio signal and will synchronise this with your song in a simple and innovative music player. Pretty neat.

Find out more and sign up here.

BandLab

bandlab

If you learn best by collaborating with other people, With over 30 million users and an in-built social networking platform, BandLab is the perfect workstation for doing just that.. You can upload tracks to the cloud-based workstation to further your music with over 100 guitar and bass presets and the ability to record acoustic guitars, keyboards, pianos and synths with virtual MIDI instruments.

Not in the mood to write? Then discover and stream millions of tracks made by emerging and established artists to reignite your creative spark. Plus, it’s also totally free, with no paywalls or subscriptions.

Find out more on BandLab.com.

Editor’s note: BandLab and Guitar.com are both part of Caldecott Music Group.

TrueFire

TrueFire

A stalwart of the online-lesson world, TrueFire is a video lesson platform with a roster of truly big-name teachers. Joe Bonamassa, Grech Koch, Tommy Emmanuel, Kirk Fletcher, Tim Pierce, Steve Vai and countless others have all contributed lessons to the platform. Courses range from overviews of whole genres to deep-dives into specific theory concepts.

The amount of content within TrueFire is truly staggering. There are some Learning Paths set out to get beginners started in some set genres, but it’s easy to carve your own path depending on your skill level. For most courses, there’s also synced tablature and multiple camera angles offering close-ups of the left and right hands. Because of this presenting style, however, things can get cramped on the mobile app – it’s definitely a platform that works better on a desktop. The mobile app is also missing a couple of the features found in the desktop version, and has a few bugs when browsing and viewing lessons.

Courses can be purchased individually, but this’ll be expensive if you’re planning on buying more than a couple. Grabbing an All Access subscription will instead give you unlimited streams of TrueFire’s entire catalogue, for either a monthly or yearly subscription. Sign-up costs are on the higher-end, but given the scope of TrueFire’s catalogue, it could well be worth it.

Find out more and sign up here.

Justin Guitar

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, offering structured courses in different grades – there’s everything from technique exercises to chord theory to 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.

Find out more and sign up here.

Guitar Tricks

Guitar Tricks

Having been around since 1998, Guitar Tricks has accrued a huge library of high-quality content. There’s a variety of lesson styles, from beginner overviews, more advanced techniques, genre and artist, deep-dives, and lessons for specific songs. As of 2022, the platform plays host to over 1,000 song lessons. The courses are well-structured, allowing you to progress down different branching paths depending on your preferences, and helping you pick through the potentially overwhelming size of the library.

There’s also a nice and stable mobile app for learning on the go (or just not crouched over a desk), and if you’re a fan of certain teachers, some of Guitar Tricks’ instructors are available for one-on-one Zoom lessons.

The site doesn’t have too many other (ahem) tricks up its sleeve – there’s no Guitar Hero-style interaction as with some of the other platforms on this list. However, for those who just want a library of solid video lessons, Guitar Tricks has you covered.

Find out more and sign up here.

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