One of your goals is to learn the guitar. As you’ve dug around and started doing some cursory research online, you’ve come across a slew of guitar learning apps. You think these apps could be a fun, convenient way to get better at the guitar, but you only want the best apps. Which are they?
The following 13 guitar learning apps for iOS and Android are considered the best:
- Guitar Tricks
- Fender Play
- Justin Guitar
- Ultimate Guitar: Chords and Tabs
- Simply Guitar
- ScaleBank: Guitar Scales
- Amped Guitar
In this in-depth guide, I will tell you everything you need to know about learning guitar via an app. From whether these phone and tablet-based lessons are effective, if you should learn via an app compared to in person, as well as plenty of info on the 13 guitar learning apps, you’re not going to want to miss it. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll definitely be able to decide if a guitar learning app is right for you.
Can You Play Guitar Using Apps?
First, let me answer a question I’m sure is on your mind. If you’re a complete beginner who has only picked up a guitar once or twice to strum, can you possibly learn to the play the guitar using an app?
Absolutely, but I do want to caution that the app you choose matters. The apps I’m going to introduce you to shortly are from major names in the world of guitar. You’ll gain access to video lessons and chords with these apps that will teach you all the basics to more advanced concepts that you’ll naturally want to learn as your skills improve.
Guitar Learning Apps vs. Real Guitar Lessons
Okay, so you can certainly learn a thing or two (or way more than that) by playing guitar on an app, but how do guitar lesson apps stack up compared to in-person lessons?
Well, you’re still paying for both services, at least for most of the apps I’m about to share with you. You’d likely spend more money for real lessons with an instructor than for an app. That said, who you go to for lessons versus which app you choose does play a big role in price.
Obviously, when you sign up for a guitar learning app, you’re not getting any of the in-person instruction that you do with real lessons. You’re still working with a qualified professional, but these are video lessons, and sometimes prerecorded ones.
If you’re living with a guitar instructor on an app, they can tell you how to improve your finger positioning, but a real guitar teacher can actually guide your hands so they’re correctly placed.
Another big difference between video lessons and in-person lessons is the pacing of instruction. If you’re seeing a real instructor, then you probably visit with them once or twice a week for an hour or so each time. That’s it. With a guitar learning app, you can cram in as much or as little instruction as you feel comfortable with.
For instance, if you find the basics very easy (maybe you had a knack for guitar you were never aware of), then you can breeze right through them. If you’d prefer to learn each day, you can with guitar learning apps. This can make you feel more like you’re getting your money’s worth.
You can also go back and watch any video lessons on the guitar learning app anytime. Unless your real guitar instructor is okay with you recording your lessons, then they’re one and done. If you happen to forget something you learned, you’d have to go back the next time and get a refresher.
Both in-person guitar lessons and guitar learning apps have their purpose. You’ll get different experiences from both, but one isn’t necessarily better for teaching you the guitar.
The 13 Best Guitar Learning Apps
If you stick with one of these 13 guitar learning apps especially, then I believe you’ll get a very comprehensive experience learning to play guitar on your tablet or phone. Ahead, I’ll discuss each app, how the lessons are formatted, and what you can learn.
Let’s dive right in.
The first guitar learning app is
Here’s a link to the
Guitar Tricks organizes its lessons into branches as part of its Core Learning System that start with beginner concepts and then get more advanced as you go along. Each lesson has a chapter with several lessons available per chapter. The video lessons are presented by an expert in that genre or style of music so you’re learning only from the best.
The app offers more than 700 guitar tutorials to follow along with, including some classic songs spanning the decades such as:
- BB King’s “The Thrill Is Gone”
- Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”
- Eric Clapton’s “Crossroads”
- Pearl Jam’s “Alive”
- Boston’s “More Than a Feeling”
- The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses”
- ZZ Top’s “La Grange”
- Eagles’ “Hotel California”
- Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”
- The Beatles’ “Let It Be”
- Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”
An assortment of tools are included with the app to make learning guitar easier with
JamPlay’s app, which is free to download, has more than 345,000 users who have all gotten a great experience from using the app. Their online-based video guitar lessons are divided by skill level (beginner, intermediate, expert, etc.) or genre so you can start learning rock, metal, or blues songs right away. You can also select the instrument type when choosing a song to learn.
Most videos on the app are available from multiple angles so you can see precisely how the professional guitarist is strumming or which fret they’re hitting. That makes it easier to replicate what you’re seeing in the video lessons. JamPlay also has a metronome, a scale library (with 12 keys), and an extensive chord library to use as you get to know your instrument.
The tuner relies on your phone or tablet microphone to help you get your tuning just right before you begin playing. You can also play along with tons of backing tracks, with more than 700 available and more always being added.
One of JamPlay’s biggest advantages by far is their incredible library of teachers. They include Mike Dawes, Tracy Bundy, Aaron Marshall of Intervals, Tony MacAlpine, Dave Weiner of Steve Vai’s band, and Joel Kosche of Collective Soul.
The list keeps going, by the way. You can also learn to play guitar with Rob Flynn of Machine Head, Kaki King, Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, Mike Mushok of Staind, Lita Ford, Brent Mason, Bumblefoot of Guns N’ Roses, and Steve Stevens from Billy Idol’s band.
Besides guitar, you can also use the Fender Play app to master the ukulele and bass. The app asks for your favorite genres of music and which instrument you play, then you can begin taking lessons that are customized to your interests and level of experience. The lessons focus on guitar-playing techniques, skills, sub-genre, and even artist.
Fender Play has real guitarists provide their video lessons so you’re learning from experts. The app will send you reminders to sit down and practice your guitar if you’re busy or bad about remembering. You can also use tone integration, which will recommend amp presets so you can recreate the tone and sound that your favorite musicians use.
To amplify your lessons, Fender Play also offers a glossary of terms, music notes, guitar tabs, and chord diagrams so you can quickly get comfortable with music theory if you’re not already.
The library of songs available grows all the time, with some of the most-loved tracks including the following:
- Nirvana’s “Come as You Are”
- Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”
- X Ambassadors’ “Renegades”
- John Legend’s “All of Me”
- Foster the People’s “Pumped up Kicks”
- Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”
No matter whether you favor ‘90s rock or more modern tunes, you can learn to play them on Fender Play!
Justin Guitar, the eponymous project started by Justin Sandercoe of Australia, has been a big name in guitar lessons since 1996. Yes, his service even predates
Those very new to the guitar will want to start with the Beginner Lessons Song Catalogue, which has a slight learning curve, but nothing steep. Instead, Justin Guitar designed this series of online video lessons to grab you in, keep you interested in learning, and show you new skills commensurate to your level of experience.
As you advance, you can still follow play-alongs from Justin himself that lay out everything you need to know in a step-by-step format. From capo to fingerpicking patterns, guitar scales, guitar tabs, chord changes, and beginner’s chords, you’ll learn them all. You have more than 50 video lessons to choose from.
The built-in guitar tuner will let you set your guitar to the right tuning each and every time. Justin Guitar even has a self-assessment system so you can see how you’ve grown and gotten better from when you just started to where you are today.
You can also pick more than 1,000 songs to learn within the app that span genres such as R&B, country, traditional, classic rock, rock, pop, and so much more. Don’t see your favorite song on the list? That’s no problem. Justin Guitar is always adding new songs, so check back next week and your tune of choice might be on there!
One of the biggest upsides to using Yousician is it’s not solely an app for bettering your guitar playing, but also for becoming a top singer, ukulele player, bassist, or pianist. If you favor acoustic over electrical guitars or vice-versa, both instruments are supported in Yousician’s lessons.
Besides just throwing video lessons at you, according to Yousician, it can listen to you as you play your guitar (or instrument of choice) and then offer critiques on what you can to improve on in areas like timing, note accuracy, and more.
The lessons are nothing to sneeze at, either. Yousician mentions that pro music teachers worked on the curriculum offered through this app, which includes video lessons designed as gameplay tracks to make learning guitar fun and something you’ll want to keep doing.
You can select from more than 1,500 exercises, lessons, and missions, many with included videos on such topics as learning sheet music, sight-reading, fingerpicking, lead guitar playing, strumming, chords, and music theory.
Make sure you partake in the Weekly Challenge, where it’s you against the other users of Yousician to see who can best complete the challenge.
When you download Songsterr, you’re giving yourself access to 50,000 track tabs and 90,000 songs of all genres. Besides guitar, Songsterr also supports drums and bass, so you can bring a few buddies along and learn to play together and then form a band!
As a Songsterr member, if you favorite a tab or song on their website, the app will sync with your account to carry over your favorite information on your phone or tablet. You can also use a history tab to see the songs you’ve dabbled in or those that you’re seriously working on. An offline mode lets you practice even if you’re not connected to the Internet.
Songsterr also has plenty of tools for making learning the guitar simpler. You can set the playback speed multiple ways so the lessons are just fast enough for you to follow along with. You can also check out alternate chords and use Songsterr’s realistic guitar engine when practicing.
If you’re willing to pay for their Premium services on the app, then Songsterr supplies you with even more useful features. These include a count-in so you know when to start playing, soloing so you can hear just the guitar in a song, and looping. You can also mute tracks to hear the backing track.
Ultimate Guitar: Chords and Tabs
From ukulele to bass and guitar, Ultimate Guitar is for all sorts of aficionados of stringed instruments. Upon downloading the app, you can immediately begin playing around with more than 1.4 million chords and tabs, including more than 16,000 songs that feature Tonebridge Guitar Effects for a more original, authentic sound.
Video lessons will help you master the songs you’re having difficulty with, and you can also access backing tracks to make learning easier. In the Personal Tabs feature, trim and otherwise edit chords so you can focus on learning specific parts of a song.
Create a playlist of all your favorite tabs or those you’re learning at the moment. Left-handed mode is great for lefties, whereas anyone can appreciate the offline mode.
If you pay for a Pro account, you gain access to even more features. Now you can export and share tabs, use autoscrolling, transpose tunes, and enjoy Ultimate Guitar’s guitar tuner. The metronome will improve your tempo, not to mention you unlock tab interactivity for more ease with your lessons.
The best part about YouTube is that it’s all free to use. You just search for what you’re looking for, then filter through the results until you track down the video you need. If you want to watch a specific guitar instructor offer lessons, you can search for that. You can also watch casual but highly-skilled guitarists playing your favorite songs.
If you see a video you want to explore later when you have time, then add it to your Watch Later list. You can also put videos in your favorites to access them anytime. Also, unless you pause it, YouTube has a history tab that’s searchable so you can find that video you clicked on but can’t remember what it’s called.
Since YouTube isn’t a traditional guitar learning app, you won’t get any features like metronomes, guitar tuning, lesson feedback, or the like. What YouTube is though is an endless library of educational, informative content that can shape your guitar playing without you paying a dime.
JoyTunes produces the Simply Guitar app, which you can check out on the Apple App Store here. If the name JoyTunes sounds familiar to you, it’s because they also made Piano Maestro and Simply Piano.
When you open Simply Guitar, just put your phone or tablet in front of you and the app will begin listening. You then receive feedback in real-time that can inform your playing in the future. Before you know it, you’ll have improved, and you’ll be amazed at your progress along the way.
Video lessons from real pro instructors will fill in all the gaps in your guitar knowledge, such as strumming, playing chords, switching between chords, understanding music, playing tabs, and other fundamentals of the guitar. All video lessons are high-quality and go step by step so even green players can feel comfortable expanding on their guitar repertoire.
If you’re still mulling over your options for guitar learning apps, I encourage you to check out ChordBank. You can get started downloading the app today for the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
ChordBank is a mostly free guitar app that features the backing and instruction of pro musicians. These same musicians recorded high-quality audio samples that you can use when determining how to strum your guitar and get your chord placement just right.
If you want to master a particular chord, the easy-to-use interface of ChordBank makes that possible. You can even switch from right-handed to left-handed support so lefties can learn just as efficiently. If you know a chord by sound or by feel but not by name, you can use the Reverse ChordFinder to track the chord down. Just press the chord on the digital fretboard and the ChordBank will tell you what the mystery chord is!
By paying for ChordBank’s Pro plan, you get more video lessons, and you can listen and play along with backing tracks, review scale patterns, and see chords in every key imaginable. You also gain access to more chords than what you get when you use this app for free.
ScaleBank: Guitar Scales
Better Notes, LLC is the company behind ScaleBank: Guitar Scales. Here’s a download link from the Apple App Store.
What kind of scales do you want to learn today? Be those pentatonic, minor, major, or anything in between, the aptly-named ScaleBank will help you do it. Seriously, you can also learn hexatonic, whole tone, melodic major, and melodic minor scales.
Their digital fretboard includes all 24 frets and 16 scales, with rich audio samples recorded for each so you can hear what you’re playing before you pick up your guitar. Dig deep into the world of music theory as you become a pro at the enigmatic, Persian, Egyptian, Locrian, Mixolydian, Lydian, Phrygian, and Dorian scales.
Once you get your scales and chords down, take that knowledge and use ScaleBank’s many backing tracks to play tunes of all genres. The supported genres include rock, reggae, funk, and more. The app will tell you where your fingers should be positioned so playing along to any of these genres is easy.
If the backing track is going too quickly for you, then you can always slow it down. You also have the option to speed the track up incrementally.
Getting to the end now, I also want to talk about Earpeggio. Here’s the download link for the Apple App Store.
This ear-training app will teach you to identify rhythms, scales, chords, and intervals by using your ears alone. Choose from a variety of exercises within the app that will help you familiarize yourself with rhythm dictation, melody dictation, chord progressions, chord identifications, and interval identifications.
Earpeggio keeps track of your progress in weekly charts that gauge how long you used the app and how well you’re doing. You can also score on Earpeggio’s weekly leaderboard, which ranks the most proficient guitarists based on training times.
The last guitar learning app I have for you is Amped Guitar, which you can download here on the Apple App Store.
This app, featured in Wired, includes video lessons as part of a curriculum that’s ideal for beginners and intermediate players looking to take their guitar skills to the next level. The lesson numbers are in the hundreds, covering such areas of guitar mastery as how to play songs, solos, and chords. These video lessons, created by music experts, include animations as well.
With its Augmented Reality, Amped Guitar keeps your lessons immersive so you get hooked on learning guitar. The Augmented Reality feature also makes those tough guitar parts a little simpler to learn. This will encourage you to keep going and help you get through your first song, then your second, your third, and so on.
The guided learning with feedback will help you see which areas you’re doing well and in which ones to focus more of your efforts and attention on. You also get a wealth of great songs to learn in Amped Guitar, including those from Brian Adams, Thin Lizzy, Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, The Beatles, Dolly Parton, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Santana, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and lots, lots more.
If you want to learn guitar on your own time and anywhere your schedule happens to take you, a guitar learning app is a fantastic choice. The 13 apps I covered in this article will make you a better guitarist in their own ways. You can’t go wrong with one or more of these apps to augment your learning so you can take your skills to the next level!