The 13 Best Guitar Apps That You Will Actually USE In 2017

Hey good people! My name is Alon, I'm 27 and I play mainly the guitar, piano and harmonica. In the last few years, I traveled through four different continents with my guitar while teaching music. Currently, I am based in sunny Tel Aviv, Israel. The GuitarHippies mission: To get you to enjoy your musical journeys to the fullest. Cheers! Do you want to improve your song-playing, and always play smoothly and confidently? Join 11K+ successful guitarists:

Hey! So I have come to write this article after seeing a lot of “Best Guitar Apps/Apps For Musicians” lists out there but unfortunately, most of them provide a lot of apps that are not actually very useful to the everyday guitarist.

*Updated May ’17.

best guitar apps

Welcome to GuitarHippies, one of the world’s top five most read guitar blogs. I appreciate comments and more apps ideas below. Enjoy:

The 13 Best Guitar Apps and Uses That You Will ACTUALLY USE in 2017

So our goal today is to give you guys and girls an overview you with the best uses (not only apps) that you can get out of your iPhone / Android smartphone as a guitar player and a musician. Here we go:

  • The links are for the App Store but all of these apps are available on Google Play for Android as well.
The Best Metronome / Drum Machine: (click the headlines or the icons for the App Store link)
best guitar apps musician

Metronomes and drum machines are a big part of my daily practice routine and will be of a major help to anyone in order to get your sense of time much better – besides, it’s always a ton of fun to play your favorite songs on top of some special drum beats and signatures – the song feels totally different and fresh. For the best free metronome I use Guitar Tuna and for the best drum machine I use Drum Beats+. I plug it into my stereo system, choose one of the countless drumming patterns, push play, and it totally feels like there’s a drummer in the room and I’m jammin’ with a band!

Another metronome / ear trainer that I really like that also helps you work on your time keeping skills in various original ways is this trainer by Justin Guitar that will challenge your time skills in original ways.

Chillin' at home and feeling like you have your own private drummer. Gotta love the options that 2016 puts at the palm of your hand.

I like chillin’ at home while feeling like I have my own private drummer in my stereo system. Gotta love the options that 2017 puts at the palm of your hand!

The Best Jam Tracks / Scales Teacher App: 

best guitar apps musician

Whenever I try to practice my lead guitar skills – one option is to record songs and improvise along, but another comfortable option is one of the many backing tracks apps that’ll help you work and have fun with your scales and solos. My favorite is Guitar Jam Tracks by Ninebuzz – It’s super intuitive, you can easily switch keys, and they let you choose between a variety of music genres. Your scales never sounded so good and it will give you a great paved road for lead guitar improvement. Full version. Free version.

It also shows you all the pentatonic scales you’re gonna need for improvising on their platform, so even if you’re new into the whole world of lead guitar – it got you covered. Once you have these scales memorized, your way to creating your own solos and guitar licks is starting to get a solid form!

Related Post:  Washburn WD10SCE Review & Video - The Best Guitar Under 300$!
The Best Chord Dictionary And All-Round Guitar App:

best guitar apps musician

Guitar Toolkit has a beautiful and intuitive interface that’ll show you any freakin’ chord that there is on this planet in any position along the fretboard, just name the chord and it’ll do the rest. It also has hordes of other features such as a scale dictionary, a super fast tuner, a metronome, drumming pattern builder, and more, so for me it’s the most used guitar app and the best 10$ I have invested in the Appstore.

I learned this fresh Eminor open voicing from the Guitar Toolkit chord dictionary

I learned this fresh E minor open voicing from the Guitar Toolkit chord dictionary

The Best Free Tuner:

best guitar apps musician

There are at least a hundred tuners out there but a lot of them are slow, not responsive and not very accurate. Guitar Tuna is the best free tuner – very responsive and accurate.

My favorite feature is that it gives you a “lockdown” sound and visual cue when your guitar is perfectly tuned. Still, Guitar Toolkit is even better if you are looking for a wider array of features in one app other than the tuner.

The Best World-Music Discovery App:

best guitar apps

Exploring new music is one of the best things you can do to your music life in order to keep your music chakras vibrating! A friend told me about this attractively designed and free app called Radiooooo (with 5 O’s). You pick any country in the world, you pick a decade, you pick your mood – and it plays you some interesting choices from this time and place. A very amusing pastime! Available for Desktops as well in a web version.

Otherwise, Apple Music and Spotify are also doing an awesome job music discovery, and if you have one of them you’re probably good to go. Just let yourself get lost in their random shuffles they create based on music that you already like – and you’re bound for pleasures.

Who's down for some Italian 70's guitar music? Radiooooo got you covered for some fresh musical ideas injection.

Who’s down for some Italian 70’s guitar music? Radiooooo got you covered for some crisp musical ideas injections.

The Best Song’s Chord Sheets App:

best guitar apps musician

Ultimate Guitar Tabs is my go-to for song’s chord sheets. It is the biggest and most comprehensive chords website / app and you can find a variety of versions for every song out there, shown in a very convenient way with auto scroll, transpose tools and other useful features that work well.

One thing I gotta say is that I highly dislike them for being so pushy and intrusive with their demands to get the app when you just try to browse the web on your phone to get chords from their website. Still, the best option out there.

Related Post:  7 Things That Changed My Guitar Life Forever

 

The Best YouTube App:

ProTube is the one app that will do everything that you wish the official YouTube app would do.best guitar apps 7

Do you want to watch your YouTube videos in HD and with a non-compressed sound quality? Without ads? Do you want to be able to let the music play when the app is in the background or the phone screen is off, to save battery life and data? Do you want to be able to download your favorite videos to watch offline?

The user interface is incredibly responsive and easy to use. Make sure you connect your YouTube account and then you can easily start adding stuff to your playlists, comment on videos, like stuff, etc. These are the best 3.99$ that I spent in the App Store.

best guitar apps

One of my overall favorite apps. ProTube is a superbly elegant YouTube app that will make your music life much richer.

The Best Audio Recorder:

guitar apps musician apps 14

The default iPhone audio recorder gives the best quality and it’s one of the most useful things I use for my music. I record song sketches, band rehearsals, song ideas and sometimes record myself when I practice singing or playing, to see how I’m doing. I always save those recording to refer to later and monitoring my progress over time. I have tried a few recorders but always came back to the free one that comes with the iPhone.

There are some fancier recording apps out there, but I love the Apple one the most because it truly offers everything that you’ll need as long as you are not looking for complex features. And if you do – I actually recommend looking for a good microphone or field recorder instead and work with them and a computer.

My iPhone 6 and my Washburn WD10 . Smartly combining your powerful smartphone with your guitar can take you much further as a musician, so take advantage of these great apps!

My old iPhone 6+ and my
Taylor 12 String. Smartly combining your powerful smartphone with your guitar can take you much farther as a musician and at greater ease, so take advantage of these great apps!

The Best Singing Lessons (Click here for the Full GuitarHippies review)

best guitar apps musician

I like using my iPhone to watch and practice singing lessons and do daily singing exercises / warm ups without having to sit down in front of a computer. I took an online course called Superior Singing Method that took me from being a horrible singer to having a voice that I am very happy with and gets a lot of great feedbacks as well.

It’s a program that DOES require you to commit with 30 mins a day for 8 weeks and the cost is not cheap, but considering that 40$ is what I used to pay for a single weekly meeting with a voice teacher in New Orleans, I realized that the online lessons can be way more cost effective. And they were. You can also get a full refund if you don’t like it.

Related Post:  The 7 Simple Keys of Teaching Yourself the Guitar (Play ANY Song)

Read on GuitarHippies: Superior Singing Method Review – Excellent & Affordable Singing Course

This next one is for you - vocalists:

This next one is for you – vocalists:

The Best Lyrics Website / App:

best guitar apps 7

Whenever I am looking for lyrics and not for the full chord sheet, I will look up the song on google and go for the “azlyrics” option which will usually be the first one on the list. It shows you almost the whole song on one page without needing to scroll down every second, and in easy to read fonts.

Another great lyrics option that I like is the app Lyrics+ which synchronizes with the music you are playing in Apple Music / Spotify (also for the songs that Apple Music can’t get the lyrics to – for some reason) and instantly shows you the lyrics on the screen.

The Best Way To Organize Your Music Life And Creativity – The Notes App:

guitar apps musician apps 3

Yep, that’s not a typo. I use the notes app very widely with music. Examples are to write down my repertoire list, write down a list of songs that I want to learn, musical “enlightenments” that I get to, lyrics to songs that I write and much more.

Check out this article I wrote about how to become a better and more organized musician with the notes app, I guarantee you’d be surprised and you might really like some of the neat ideas there: 7 Ways To Become A Better Musician With The Help Of… SMARTPHONE NOTES (?!)

If you don’t know Evernote, it is also a very rich notes app and you might like using it instead. I just prefer the original notes app since I find it more intuitive – mostly because it loads up way faster – and especially now with iOS 9 when we finally got the long awaited option to divide our notes in different folders.

 The Best Inspiration Capturing App – The Camera and the SLO-MO Option:

guitar apps musician apps 3

The phone’s video camera… Yep! Some people just don’t use it often enough. Especially the 4k camera on the new phones, and the slo-motion options that allow you to later look at the stuff that other guitarists play and break it down slowly in order to learn it.

Usually, whenever I am seeing some really good guy playing the guitar, a girl singing beautifully or a really special performance in an open mic or a gig, I take a short vid with my phone to remember and inspire me later for my own ideas, instead of just counting on my memory. Give those memories a tangible form.


That’s it for today. Please let us know in the comments about your favorite useful guitar apps and any comments you may have on the apps above!

Peace and have fun, thank you for reading.

guitar 5

Drew, a Californian I got to jam with in Amsterdam, was playing some real mean blues in a unique style. If not for the quick vid I took, it would have been hard for me to recall his style and try to practice it myself later.

guitar jam harmonica

Raw blues: A harp and an acoustic guitar on the river. Hell yeah

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37 comments for “The 13 Best Guitar Apps That You Will Actually USE In 2017

  1. Phil Barclay from Canada eh
    September 16, 2017 at 1:07 AM

    I want an APP that will display the lyrics and chords for any song i search for And scroll as I play. Is there any app out there.

    • Alon Cooper
      October 7, 2017 at 9:45 AM

      Yeah, currently I use Apple Music for this purpose. (it’s actually available for Android as well)

  2. Marky
    August 8, 2017 at 10:17 AM

    Ultimate Guitar Tabs
    You are right about the pushy sales tactics. I have been using cifraclub.com.br for a few years
    Yes, it is a Brazilian site, in Portuguese, but their database is huge and much better free feature than Ultimate. For example, a search for Eric Clapton on Ultimate yields 500 results, while Cifra yields 550. Plus, CifraClub has free features that Ultimate wants you to pay for – Valuable features like key change (tom in Pt) and variable speed Auto Scroll (auto rolagem in Pt). I also find there to be less pure junk tabs and song charts. Interested to see what you think.

    • Alon Cooper
      August 11, 2017 at 8:29 AM

      Hey man. You surely developed some hopes in me, but I checked out Cifra and the second I saw they only have about 20 Bob Dylan songs I knew it wasn’t a website you can take seriously. Also many ads. However, their video tutorials on YouTube are awesome, even though I don’t understand the language it was the easily the best tutorial for the Hotel California solo and Sultans of Swing solos, with animated tabs and everything.

  3. James Magdalene
    August 2, 2017 at 3:02 PM

    Amazing Read! I recommend people coming down to the comment section to read more of the blog. Very well written! Cheers to the Writer!

  4. Fred
    June 19, 2017 at 7:30 AM

    Hey Alon, Great article. Very useful stuff. Unfortunately it appears that Guitar Toolkit by Agile Partners is not available for Android. It appears there are at least two other apps with the same name, for Android, but they are nothing like the AP product. If you know of a good substitute for his app I’m very interested to check it out. Really enjoying your other suggestions. Thanks. Fred

    • Alon Cooper
      July 23, 2017 at 5:25 PM

      Yep, sorry about that, I am still looking for a good Android substitute for Guitar Toolkit and will update when I find one.

  5. Emily
    May 8, 2017 at 2:21 AM

    I think Final Guitar is amazing for iPhone & iPad! It is a kind of 3D guitarist simulator with correct arm and finger movements just like a real guitar teacher is in front of you.

    • Alon Cooper
      May 14, 2017 at 11:48 AM

      Thanks Emily, sounds interesting. will check it out soon.

  6. Natalie
    April 19, 2017 at 10:28 AM

    Yeah, I like the tips which you provide here. But to learn the total beginning method I should follow the total steps correctly and carefully. To go one step to another step I need to understand the difference between correct and incorrect pitch. So, in this case, I expect that you will upload a video in where I can catch the main difference between each step and also learn the beginning method easily.

    • Alon
      April 20, 2017 at 8:33 AM

      Hey Natalie, in early June I will post a whole new course for beginners that teaches guitar from scratch. You can subscribe to the newsletter (there’s a sign up box at the bottom of each post) and get a notification when it’s out. Best

      • Nick
        June 4, 2017 at 6:50 AM

        Cant wait for new course for beginners , just bought my first guitar can’t wait to learn. Thanks

        • Alon Cooper
          June 5, 2017 at 11:06 AM

          Hey Nick, great! The GuitarHippies beginners course on playing any song will be out in early July, you can sign up to the email list to get the first update. Best!

  7. Bob Hall
    January 11, 2017 at 8:26 PM

    Thanks for putting this list together Alon….very helpful. I have downloaded a couple of the apps and hope to turn my guitar playing up a notch.

    Couple of my discoveries might interest you….for gigging musicians who need a way to organize and display chord and lyric sheets, build, save and recall setlists and have them available at a glance on stage, UnRealBook is unbelievably good. I no longer tote my various notebooks of songs to gigs, jam sessions or festival campgrounds….just my trusty iPad. Unfortunately there is no Android equivalent. UnRealBook is so worth it.

    Also, for lyrics, have you tried E-chords? They seem much more dependable and accurate than any other lyric sites. If you become a member, you can easily cut & paste, print and even change the keys to the songs.

    • Alon
      January 16, 2017 at 7:29 PM

      Thanks for the heads up Bob, I will check out the UnRealBook thing soon.

      About E-Chords – I never liked them for being very pushy towards getting the subscription and not letting print stuff out. They lost me for that and I am all for Ultimate Guitar. Just make sure you’ll always look up the version with the highest rating and highest number of ratings and you can be pretty damn sure these chords will be spot on correct.

      • Anonymous
        April 18, 2017 at 6:08 PM

        Try guitarLayers 😉

  8. dennis maher
    May 24, 2016 at 10:54 AM

    what can you suggest for people with just an android phone?

    • Alon
      May 31, 2016 at 7:17 PM

      Hey Dennis.

      As far as I know all these apps are available for Android too. If you found ones that aren’t and let me know – I will make sure to look for a similar app to recommend for our Android friends.

      Cheers/

  9. dennis maher
    May 24, 2016 at 10:52 AM

    great ideas, will start to follow!

  10. Karen
    April 10, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    I have just had a little look around, very informative and inspiring 🙂 thank you

    • Alon
      April 12, 2016 at 12:30 PM

      Thank you Karen, glad you liked it!

  11. Rick
    January 26, 2016 at 2:29 AM

    Hey great article and thanks for the plug! This is Rick from Ninebuzz, glad we made the top of the list! My brother and are music nerds and put together these apps to make jamming and songwriting more fun and “real”. For lead guitar players, we also put an incredible amount of time into our Guitar Lick Master and Modal Buddy apps, check them out if you get a chance. Thanks so much and take care! Great site here –

    Rick
    Ninebuzz

    • Alon
      January 26, 2016 at 11:58 AM

      Cheers Rick, thanks a lot for these great practice companions. Beats+ and Jam Tracks truly helped me step up my lead guitar and rhythm skills!

  12. Bryan
    January 25, 2016 at 1:58 PM

    Thank you for the article! I was already using most of the apps, but you turned me on to a few new ones.

    • Alon
      January 26, 2016 at 12:09 PM

      Thanks Bryan, your comment is much appreciated.

  13. Jonn
    January 11, 2016 at 8:15 AM

    Why the simple audio record app when there’s Recordium with highlight sound wave features to know where to return?

    Why simple notes app when Evernote is available to better organize your notes,photos, audio recordings for a specific song idea with tags for searching later in life?

    Etc etc..

    I see where you’re going with this with USE, but the app suggestions just seem lazy with so many other apps available. Perhaps I should come up with a “BEST” list..thanks for the ideas in use.

    • Alon
      January 12, 2016 at 12:12 AM

      Jonn, hey man, thanks for the input. I do know about those fancier apps – Evernote and Recordium, but for me (and most other people too I believe) the default Apple ones will do the job just as good and will work faster as well. However, you are right and I did added a line on these apps for the users that will want to check them out as well. Thanks!

  14. Dave continuers
    January 10, 2016 at 3:43 AM

    I really appreciate that you care enough to write this, I had only a minimal clue as to where to go and you mentioned some things I had no clue even existed! Thank you again for your quite obviously educated and unbiased opinions, please feel free to continue

  15. Patti Romo
    January 7, 2016 at 5:41 AM

    Thank you for this great looking list. These apps sound so much better than anything I’ve been able to find. I’ll check them out and share the list if they’re as good as they sound. Many thanks!

  16. Wojtek
    December 16, 2015 at 6:38 PM

    Hi,
    I’m the author of my new app for guitarist, if you like it you might add it here as well.
    It’s Band Creator: http://www.bandcreatorapp.com
    The app generates backing tracks out of chords you play, you can choose different styles and program multiple tracks. You can use it for practicing, jamming and songwriting.

    • Alon
      December 17, 2015 at 6:32 PM

      Hey Wojtek. Thanks for the heads up, I downloaded your app and played around with it. The idea seems incredible and can make practicing way more efficient and fun, but the technical performance is not good enough. I played some simple progressions in different forms but the app kept struggling with producing correct chord transitions exactly where it should, and kept on adding chords I didn’t play. let me know when you sharpen it enough to be fully usable and then it will defiantly belong on this list. Thanks again for reaching out.

  17. Anton
    September 21, 2015 at 12:38 AM

    Hi there, you might be interested to try my just released app: Guitar Rabbit.
    Plug in with iRig and play along for a serious guitar workout as it takes you through many exercises, charting your progress as you go.
    https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1005594805
    Video demo here:
    http://guitarrabbit.com

    • September 21, 2015 at 11:27 AM

      Hey Anton,
      Your app looks great from the demo I saw on the website. Practice routines are very important if you want to get far with the guitar. Unfortunately, I do not have an iPad so can’t give it a try right now but thank you for letting us know, some of the readers might find it useful.
      Alon

  18. crazy jammer
    September 14, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    My favorite backing track app is MusiClock, haven´t found an easier way to practice scales and improvisation. No in-app-purchases and a great variety of backing tracks and different scales.

    • September 14, 2015 at 9:55 PM

      Thanks for the heads up about MusiClock, I’ll give it a try!

    • Nikita Sharma
      October 20, 2017 at 2:33 AM

      Hey, I checked this app & I’m not that convinced. It is too much for normal Guitarist !!. Could you suggest some easy on eyes apps for me 🙂

  19. Big Ben
    January 27, 2015 at 11:04 PM

    My 2 cents – on Youtube there’s a huge variety of professional level backing tracks for any genre. I just use it through my phone and I like it better than a lot of the apps since every genre is available there. I use the guitar toolkit as well. it used to be cheaper tho.

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