There has never been so many ways for learning to play guitar, write songs, or develop music theory. A lot of players have adopted a software-based approach to learning guitar.
Apps are now one of the most popular ways to learn guitar and keep your skills sharp. And there are alot of options when it comes to the best apps to learn guitar.
Some are based on lesson-style material with topics like different types of chords, scales, and theory. Others are more “song based”, with tablature and chord charts across massive databases. Some even have chord recognition software, which we’ll touch on later.
Guitar learning apps offer features beyond lessons like tuners, metronomes, and ways to make rehearsal and performance more efficient.
Let’s dive into our picks for the best apps to learn guitar and which might be the perfect choice for you.
Are apps a good way to learn guitar?
With guitar learning technology constantly evolving apps have come to the forefront as one of the premier ways to learn guitar.
But is learning through an app better than in-person lessons?
It’s really about individual preference and how you learn the best. Apps aren’t the best way for everyone to learn. But they offer distinct advantages.
#1 – The Gibson App
One of the most legendary guitar companies in history, it makes sense Gibson would craft their own guitar learning app. It sets itself apart from others in a number of ways.
Some guitar learning apps don’t let you look ahead past the lesson or section you’re already on. The Gibson App Lessons tab offers a visual of how the flow of the learning material is going to be.
Once you go over the “Basic Skills” and “Melodies” sections, you get the option to take one of two paths – rhythm or lead guitar. You can access either of them at any time, so you don’t have to worry about choosing the wrong one.
Across both learning paths you dive into open and power chords, chord changes, strumming patterns, riff and lick theory, and continue to climb into more advanced techniques across these fundamental guitar categories.
The lesson content in the Gibson App is well rounded, and it’s great if you’re a beginner because you get to learn along a path that fits your goals.
Some apps make you follow a “gated path”, where you have to complete the guitar lessons sequentially. So the fact that you can skip ahead to take on techniques that you want to focus on is great.
Gibson’s guitar learning app doesn’t offer the breadth of songs that some other apps do, but their database is still impressive.
There are four categories: novice, beginner intermediate, and advanced. There are also course playlists that cover basic skills, chords, melodies, chord changes, and strumming patterns.
The song library includes songs by some of the most popular artists of all time broken down into genres. There are also curated playlists and a Top 40 list of popular songs.
The guides section are specific guitar lessons taught by renowned instructors, some even by the artist. They’re a unique and interactive way to learn guitar through an app but still get the insight from a real instructor instead of feeling like you’re self teaching.
The Gibson App offers a chord recognition engine that reacts quickly and with a good amount of accuracy. Each note on the scrolling timeline is color coded for each finger, and there are arrows pointing at either E string indicating if it should be a downstroke or an upstroke.
It picks up simple power chords just as well as more complex chords with the same precision. The chord/note timeline not only tells you if the chord is correct, it also grades you on the timing of the strumming.
The downside is that in order to access the feature, you have to play along to a song. This is a little off-putting if all you want to do is get the finger positions down, or aren’t at the skill level to play along to songs just yet.
As far as the UI/UX goes, some of the screens are in portrait mode and some are in landscape.
Considering how the content on the pages is oriented this makes sense, but it can be a pain to have to constantly change the position of your phone. Especially when you have a guitar in your hands.
Gibson TV provides live video lesson content over a range of topics like guitar maintenance, Gibson manufacturing, icons of the instrument, and much more.
It adds a different spin and educates you on multiple areas of the guitar and music business. Most apps don’t offer anything like it.
Gibson Guitar is one of the best apps to learn guitar. The content covers acoustic and electric guitar. Considering Gibson’s status in the guitar world, it’s no surprise the depth of content with the lessons and the audio recognition technology is spot-on.
Accurate and seamless pickup, color-coded tablature based on the recommended fret hand finger to use, and a wealth of resources make this a great addition to your guitar learning journey.
#2 – Fender Play
Like Gibson, Fender has achieved a mythical status in the guitar industry. Play service is a great way for beginners to begin their guitar journey. It’s not the best choice for more experienced players, but it is really easy to use.
Play offers one of the easier lesson paths and a succinct flow. There is a good amount of coverage over different techniques and concepts. It’s great for beginners, but won’t offer much appeal to intermediate and advanced players.
You’ll go through a brief survey at the start that determines what style you want to learn, which you can change at any time. Play forsakes the common scrolling fretboard screen and has you play along to tablature as the song progresses.
Beneath each line of four bars is an audio waveform and a color-coded (green, yellow, red) indicator line that lets you know the accuracy of your playing.
It doesn’t show you the readout in real-time, so you have to wait until the end of the exercise to review it. You get a scorecard of a 0 to 100 scale based on pitch, rhythm, and overall average.
The five levels of guitar video lessons are well produced, engaging, and interactive. A progress tracker provides a simple visual way to review your path.
The best part? You can learn electric and acoustic guitar, bass, even ukulele!
There are also some cool other features like a Chord Challenge training game, Collections that provide supplementary educational content, and Articles that cover a range of topics. The user interface is streamlined and easy to navigate.
The pitch recognition is one of Fender Play’s best features. It’s an accurate engine that even provides an intonation readout and it’s good at recognizing octaves. Play’s note recognition engine compares your playing to the tablature of the song, not just the overall note itself.
There are a number of readouts that inform you how accurate your playing is. Overall it’s one of the better note recognition engines.
Fender Play offers some appealing features, and the design sets it apart. Some might not like playing along to a tablature visual, but there is a variety of learning content and the audio recognition engine is good.
The biggest downside is that you have to sign up for a subscription to use it. A completely free trial is offered, but you have to provide payment information first.
Subscriptions are somewhat pricey at $19.99 per month. An annual membership costs $12.50 per month, and you also get 10% off all Fender equipment!
#3 – JamPlay
JamPlay is one of the most full featured apps for learning guitar online. It comes with 1,000s of lessons that cover all skill levels, progress tracking, and hundreds of artist instructors.
JamPlay + TrueFire
Through a partnership with another guitar learning titan, TrueFire, you can open up even more content. By combining both services you get access to over 1,500 courses, more than 70,000 lessons, and over 450 song lessons across more than 20 genres.
You don’t have to follow a linear path, so it’s great for advanced players who want to push their skills forward. The song library is constantly growing.
The learning system is divided into digestible chunks, making the process of tackling content beyond your current skill set much less daunting. Also included are custom JamTracks for a more personalized learning experience.
This app lets you learn from the best instructors in the business. The pedigree of the instructors is incredible. Grammy winners, musicians in the Music Hall of Fame, and hundreds of professional musicians and professional music educators.
Lesson learning paths
A lot of beginner guitarists worry about where to begin. With JamPlay’s comprehensive and carefully-crafted learning paths you can make the most out of your practice time. You can choose by genre, guitar styles, and more.
Every aspect of learning is included, from the most basic like how to hold a pick to standard rhythm and lead theory, music theory, how to read sheet music, even concepts like how to establish good practice habits and routines.
The amount of content and the accolades of the instructors teaching it is incredible. JamPlay offers different subscription plans, and the software works on mobile apps and desktop. The plans are really affordable, making this one of the best apps to learn guitar.
#4 – Justin Guitar Lessons and Songs
YouTube was the best thing to ever happen to guitar learning apps, especially for teachers.
The global access the internet provides opened up their potential client base exponentially. This is definitely true for Justin Sandercoe, creator of this guitar learning app and one of the most renowned guitar teachers in the world.
His resume is beyond impressive. With 20 years of experience in the music industry his Youtube channel has over 350 million views, and he’s taught over 600,000 students!
Lessons and songs
Guitar lessons don’t get more personalized than this. The structured learning path features interactive exercises that feels like you’re in person with a real guitar teacher. You can learn at your own pace with the way the lessons are structured
And like the best learning apps there is a healthy song library so you can jump right in. Pretty much every genre is covered, so no matter what your preferred style is there is something in here for every player.
If you’re looking for a system that provides the benefits and feel of learning from an actual guitar instructor this is one of the best.
It’s got an advanced filter system that can jump through lessons and songs so you shouldn’t have any issues getting on a path to the results you’re looking for.
#5 – Ultimate Guitar: Chords and Tabs
Do a search for the tablature to pretty much any song for guitar or bass guitar and you’ll more than likely find the top results coming from Ultimate Guitar.
Since they started in 1998 they’ve been the premier destination for players of all skill levels trying to learn songs or discover how to play that riff they love so much.
When you set up your account you choose between a range of instruments and then your skill level.
Further customization comes from selecting genres and then how to set up their recommendations for songs for you to learn. You then choose some songs and how often you play to finalize the personalization.
You get a 7-day free trial but you do have to provide payment. Like most subscriptions, if you don’t cancel you’re charged. But the subscriptions are affordable, ranging from $40 to $60 based on the tier.
Song tablature and chord charts
Ultimate Guitar is the premier resource for song tabs and charts for a reason. They’re crowd sourced, peer reviewed, and the sheer amount of songs in their library is incredible.
They offer tablature and chord outlines of over one million songs. The downside being the accuracy of the tabs can be all over the place, regardless of the star rating. But for free, the price is right for beginner guitar players especially.
Left-handed guitarists often feel left out, but with this app you can switch to a left-handed mode. Personal Tabs lets you change tabs to better suit your needs. The UI can be customized as you’d like.
There’s song transposition, a metronome and tuner, and a Simplify function that slows things down so you can learn at your own pace.
But since some tabs and chord outlines are really complex, the screen size of the device you’re using becomes a factor.
If your main goal is to find a database for learning songs, there’s no better choice. But if you’re looking for lesson content primarily, there are better alternatives.
Overall this Ultimate Guitar: Chords and Tabs is a fantastic resource for learning how to play that awesome riff you just heard on the radio for the first time.
#6 – BandLab
BandLab is unique on this list as it’s much more than a guitar learning app. Think of it as a free option for the best apps to learn guitar that has more of a focus on recording and collaboration. And every seasoned player knows that recording yourself is one of the best ways to get better.
One of the selling points of BandLab is how it promotes collaboration. It operates through the cloud, and you can upload tracks to work on your music with over 100 guitar and bass presets.
It’s also a DAW, providing a unique, cloud-based approach to recording music. Their focus is to provide every useful learning tool you need right within the app and not have to use any external plugins.
BandLab Sounds provides an extensive library of loops for creating and enhancing your tracks.
Through the online community you have access to millions of tracks made by other artists. There is also unlimited cloud storage, so you don’t have to worry about your projects growing too large.
Bandlab’s app offers a lot of useful features considering it’s free. This is not the right choice for beginners at the instrument who need a structured lesson style.
The educational element comes in with the collaborative nature of the platform. You learn from peers, not from dedicated instructors.
It won’t appeal to everyone. But if you are looking for a more immersive learning experience that provides a sophisticated way to document your progress, why not give this free app a shot? It works with desktop, Android devices, and iOS systems.
#7 – Uberchord
Uberchord is visually one of the sleekest guitar learning apps on the market, and their approach is a little different than others. The focus is on creating a totally personalized learning system for yourself instead of following a preset path.
Unique learning system
They take a different approach to teaching guitar than a lot of the other options here. When it comes to chords, the engine analyzes your playing and gives real-time feedback on finger position, timing, and overall accuracy.
For rhythm concepts their interactive “strumming trainer” analyzes your strumming patterns and their rhythms to guide your playing to be as accurate as possible.
The song trainer guides you through your selected song step by step through a side scrolling visual. This approach helps you learn things at your own pace.
A “success” system gives you trophies to indicate your progress like experience points in the form of guitar pick icons that let you unlock other elements of the app.
They’ve also rolled out a new element called Uberpath which personalizes the learning experience even further, providing unlockable challenges.
Uberchord’s catalog isn’t the most expansive, but it includes 100 songs with customized courses to teach them. The focus is on well-known songs, but they cross a range of genres and artists. New songs are added weekly.
One of the most supportive things about the app is the focus on training and reinforcing practice concepts in order to improve. You set your own goals, can monitor progress easily, set up reminders, and measure improvement with statistics and analytics.
Uberchord has one of the best and most accurate chord recognition engines. It has a distinct advantage against other apps by taking the technology a step further.
Instead of giving you predetermined chords and identifying how accurate they are, you can simply play any chord you want the app to analyze through the Chord Finder tool.
When the chord you play is detected, it provides a readout of the chord diagrams. But that’s not all. Uberchord’s built-in library will show you each inversion too. This helps beginners and advanced players alike solidify their ability to confidently navigate the fretboard.
It’s a great feature that’s useful for guitar players of any level, and an asset for songwriting sessions and practice. It also has a feature called Finger Correction, that shows what you played against the designated chord so you can make adjustments.
Uberchord is one of the most unique and best apps to learn guitar. It’s a highly personalized and customizable experience that really fosters the intangible concepts it takes to improve as a player.
The biggest downside is that it’s only available for iOS devices as of now, but an Android version is in the works.
Uberchord only teaches chord and rhythm play. But due to the quality and accuracy of the “free chord recognition” and Finger Correction features, Uberchord remains one of the best apps in its class.
#8 – TrueFire
TrueFire is by far one of the best apps to learn guitar, and it’s earned that reputation for a reason.
The sheer amount of content is one of the largest among all of the best apps for guitar. It’s got courses, songs, jam tracks, multiple learning paths, all taught by more than 300 of the most respected music educators in the business.
Course content is broken down genre styles for multiple instruments and covers all kinds of topics and techniques. This means no matter what skill level you’re at there is more than enough to keep you engaged.
The song library covers rhythm and lead parts, hands-on practice with renowned educators, and EZ versions of even the most complex songs for students that might not be there just yet. There’s something in here for everybody.
There’s even an advanced tier that offers features like being able to download the multi-tracks through True Fire’s mixing console so you can mute, sole, or move any of the multitracks to assist in learning the tunes faster.
It’s clear why True Fire sits at the top of the heap as one of the best apps to learn guitar. The Premium version is a little pricey, but if you’re looking to dive deeper with the additional features it’s a worthwhile investment.
#9 – Yousician
Yousician offers a lesson plan entirely up to the musician how it proceeds. It’s designed to provide the most to the user by making it a “choose your own adventure” model and like a video game to make learning fun.
There are paths for guitar, bass, ukulele, piano, even vocals!
The lessons in Yousician present a distinct, linear learning path. It goes over standard concepts like chords and melodies, but also has more technique-based lessons that some other apps don’t touch on.
This includes things like legato playing, groove and rhythm, bending, riffing speed, alternate tunings, and expression in your guitar playing. Across the 10 lesson levels, Yousician presents a well-rounded lesson plan.
One of the downsides is that you have to complete lessons on a linear path. So if you’re already familiar with guitar concepts and want to jump in you can’t get right to content that meets your skill level.
But it does provide an engaging, interactive system that gives you real-time feedback to help develop your skills faster.
The 10,000+ song library is updated weekly, and Yousician provides personal recommendations based on the songs you’ve already chosen. This saves you time so you can jump right into your next challenge.
The proprietary audio engine in Yousician provides a readout of a basic chord diagram with metering bars in real-time with the signal. While they move individually the note is either wrong or right, there’s no in between. It doesn’t display the notes, just the chord name.
As for accuracy, it produces a lot of false positives. Sometimes even if you play a note in key but not in the chord it reads it as correct.
If some of your strings or fretted notes are just slightly out of tune but within a few cents, and you play the chord shape correctly the algorithm will still register it.
It takes longer to register certain chords, because it seems to have difficulty identifying notes on either end of the guitar’s frequency spectrum – especially in the low end. Sometimes it will recognize the notes in the key of the chord as the wrong note.
Sometimes you can’t even move through the chord trainer because it won’t recognize a certain note or notes within the chord.
Obviously, the more notes it has to analyze the more room there is for error. Chords that contain fewer notes overall like root-fifth power chords pick up right away.
It picks up chords faster when there aren’t any open notes. When using the chord trainer, you can also play the barre chord variation of an open chord and it will register as correct.
When it comes to strummed chords it retains its accuracy in the chord recognition. Chord complexity doesn’t seem to be an issue, with solid polyphonic detection.
One issue I came across was that while the chord recognition engine works well, it’s not the best at detecting timing. You can be a little ahead or behind the beat and it will still give you a good score.
Overall I found the chord recognition technology in Yousician to be fairly accurate. I played around with wrong chords, transposed chords, and moving semitones of the same shape and was impressed.
It does produce a good amount of false positives though.
The biggest issue with Yousician is that you have to start at square one. Not just on the lesson path, but you can’t access anything else. Songs, challenges, workouts, courses. It’s all gated content until you progress through the steps.
This type of setup makes sense in a way, but it’s understandably a turnoff to guitarists that aren’t starting at the beginning.
#10 – Simply Guitar
Another lesson-focused app, Simply Guitar offers a solid lesson journey. The database of songs isn’t nearly as thorough as options like Songsterr, but that’s not really the focus. It also features a tuner and chord recognition system.
Lessons are where Simply Guitar really shines. Like others, once you get through the first two basics you choose a rhythm or lead path. As you progress there are interim lessons where you go over songs before resume your selected path.d
The extent of lessons are what make this one of the best apps to learn guitar. You have to start from the first lesson and unlock subsequent lessons by completing them. It’s possible to unlock lessons farther ahead – but you have to subscribe. It’s kind of a weird model.
The moderate database of songs offer an interactive way to learn them at your own pace. Real-time feedback is provided and it’s easy to track your progress.
Simply Guitar offers basic chord recognition features. The transport scrolls to the backdrop of a fretboard, and each chord appears as a vertical column. Columns represent the amount of strings in each chord, broken down by individual notes.
It doesn’t seem to have the low end note recognition issues like Yousician, but does produce a good amount of false positives.
Visually it’s not as appealing as other options. The cursor animates in the tempo of the playback track. But there aren’t any strumming pattern indicators, so this is one way to make up for that.
It’s a little loose with the timing too, which isn’t great for beginners.
It doesn’t provide a note breakdown for each chord either. If you play it wrong you have to figure out where the error is. Not great for beginners.
The focus here is on lessons, and the path they present is impressive. It does offer a song database and interactive instruction. Chord recognition is a useful feature, but other apps do it better.
They have a free core learning system, so not all content is gated behind a paid subscription, but you can’t access all of it without paying.
But all-in-all Simply Guitar is one of the most popular guitar learning apps for a reason.
#11 – Guitar Tricks
Easy to follow lessons range from the beginning basics and go over things like how to hold and tune a guitar and branch out into standard chords, scales and move to solos and songs. The aim is to slowly build up skills and confidence.
Experienced lessons are broken up into genres, with a focus more on specific styles and objectives. They then move on advanced concepts like rhythm and groove, theory, and music terminology.
There are hundreds of songs with sequential breakdowns of each section. Some of the biggest names in music have songs in the Guitar Tricks catalog, because what player doesn’t want to start there first? And songs are continually being added to the catalog.
To provide a personal touch, Guitar Tricks instructors are available for live lessons over Zoom. Additional costs are associated with individualized lessons, but it’s worth it if that’s one of the ways you learn best.
The Guitar Tricks toolbox includes helpful items like a tuner, metronome, chord and scale finders, and chord charts.
Guitar Tricks’ model is meant to get players learning and making music at a faster pace than other apps. The app doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking, but it’s structured in a way that benefits players who want to get their skills up as fast as possible.
#12 – Songsterr
Songsterr is another app with a sole focus on learning songs. It takes a different approach, but that’s part of what sets it apart.
With over 800,000 songs, Songsterr’s library is massive. You can choose between popular songs or search the database. You can save favorites and even go through your history to rediscover ones you’ve visited before.
The library doesn’t just cover guitar, but bass and drums too. But the coolest part is the tuning search feature. You can select between 28 different tunings for guitar and bass and the search will filter those songs automatically.
This makes searching quick and efficient.
Songsterr has one goal – to provide you with an accurate, versatile database for learning songs. There are no lessons on theory content, but the volume of your favorite songs you can access is its selling point. It’s free, works on desktop computers, Android, and iOS.
The desktop version offers additional features like being able to adjust song speed, loop mode, track soloing, count-in, and tab editor but some features are paid only.
Songsterr proves they are a true rival to Ultimate Guitar as the king of song tablature databases.
#13 – Chordify
Chordify is another guitar app focused on learning songs. And with an immense database of over 36,000,000 (yes, million) you’ll have no issues finding the songs you’re looking for and discovering new tunes to challenge you.
Their database covers guitar, piano, ukulele, even mandolin!
Chordify song approach
Something that sets Chordify apart is their chord selection engine. Say you’re a beginner that might only know the major open chord shapes, but want to get into learning songs.
This feature lets you input the chords you know and generates song results that only contain those chords.
How cool is that?! This is a learning tool and discovery tool combined, as it exposes you to songs you might have never heard of.
Premium+ guitar toolkit
It’s only available for iOS users right now, but this premium subscription offers more useful tools like a metronome.
There’s also lesson content that teaches timing, accuracy, rhythm, and concepts like endurance and focus. It’s a great addition to the app. Hopefully they release it for Android in the future.
There aren’t lessons per se, but through the settings on the app you get access to chord theory in different languages (English, German, Latin), can change the diagrams from right to left-handed, and change chord font size.
Chordify’s mission is simple – to provide players with an insane database of songs. It’s lacking in lesson content, but the way they’ve set up the organization of their song database gives you multiple ways to search through it.
Guitar apps are the modern way people learn guitar now.
It doesn’t displace the benefits of an actual teacher, but the convenience and wealth of knowledge the best apps to learn guitar provide make it a viable way to get further into learning the instrument or increasing the skill set you’ve already built.
It’s all about experimenting to find the best guitar learning app for you.