If you want to teach yourself how to play the guitar, one of the best ways to go about it is by using an app. Guitar-teaching apps are a great way to learn because they let you work through short tutorials, generally structuring the lessons as games that easily allow you to track your progress.
First, we’ll tell you about some benefits of using an app, so you can decide if it’s the right kind of learning tool for you. Then, we’ll let you know about the best apps out there on the market, how much they cost, and what’s so great about them. Then you can decide which one will work best for your learning style.
Benefits of a guitar-learning app:
- You can learn at your own pace – Apps are great if you want to teach yourself guitar because you can work entirely at your own pace, whenever it’s most convenient for you.
- Apps contain a lot of visuals – Visuals are very important for learning music, as studying notes and frets and chords is easiest with diagrams and illustrations.
- You can play along with your instrument as you learn – If you have your own guitar, you can use it to play along while learning. Then you can keep practicing once you close the app.
- You can re-do lessons as many times as you need to nail concepts – Apps let you track your progress over time, and will let you go back and repeat lessons as many times as you need to until you have it all down.
- Some apps have sound-detection technology – Some apps can actually listen to you as you play your guitar, and then give you instant feedback so you know what you need to improve.
12 best apps for learning to play guitar
Yousician is one of the best guitar-teaching apps out there on the market now, which is why it’s at the top of our list. It contains lessons for both traditional and bass guitar, and has a fun, easy-to-follow lesson structure. You can work through tutorials to learn or improve basic guitar skills, or you can work through lessons on specific songs you want to learn (if you want to jump into learning songs right away).
With sound detection capability, Yousician listens to you as you play and offers you instant feedback. It contains sheet music, video lessons, exercises, and more. It even has a weekly challenge, so you can compete against your friends and other Yousician users. Finally, in addition to guitar, Yousician can also teach you how to play piano and the ukulele.
Uberchord is another great guitar-learning app that has many features that places it up near the top of our list. Like Yousician, Uberchord also listens as you play along, so you can get real-time feedback. It has great lessons on how to practice your rhythm, strumming patterns, chords, and your favorite songs – including ones by artists like Michael Jackson, Ed Sheeran, U2, Coldplay, and more!
Try your daily guitar workout to make sure you get into a daily routine. You can also track your progress easily, including your total practice time. You can even set daily reminders to notify you on your device that it’s time to practice learning guitar. Uberchord also lets you create your own lessons, content, or song tutorials that you can share with your friends through the app!
Download Now: iOS
Cost: Free, with the option of in-app purchases that enhance your experience.
Jamstar is an incredibly engaging interactive app that has great lessons on how to play guitar. What’s awesome is that you can play along with these tutorials, getting feedback as you play. It’s also easy to keep track of lessons you’ve already finished, as well as find new songs by genre, skill level, and what’s currently trending. Easily tune your guitar in the app before playing, and then pick any song that interests you!
As you work through the lessons and improve your skills, you can post your song scores to the leaderboards and compete with other Jamstar users. The play-along interface is colorful and simple, functioning a lot like the popular video games Guitar Hero or Rock Band. If you love those games and want to turn your skills with them into real musical talent, then Jamstar is the app for you.
Download Now: Android
Cost: Free, with in-app purchases for premium songs and content.
4. Guitar Lessons by Guitar Tricks
Guitar Lessons is a great app (and website) that has hundreds of guitar lessons, with real instructors showing you how to play through video demonstrations. They offer tutorials on over 700 popular songs, which is more than twice as many as their competitors. You can work through tutorials, beginning with guitar fundamentals and then progressing into different styles including country, rock, and blues. Learn guitar techniques and how to read tabs, use the free guitar tuner, and much more!
5. Guitar Jam Tracks Scales Buddy
This app is specific to learning to play scales on the guitar, but it’s very helpful if you already know a bit about how scales work and want to practice them. After all, they’re really important for learning how to solo and shred on your guitar. Using this app, you can learn:
- Major and Minor Keys (A-G)
- Major and Minor Scales
- Major and Minor Pentatonic Scales
- Blues Scales
- Styles: Acoustic Blues, Humbucker Blues, Jazz, Modern Rock, and Reggae (+ more with in-app purchases)
6. Real Guitar
This app focuses more on teaching you the important basic elements of guitar learning, including how to play chords. You can choose to learn from classical, acoustic, electric, or 12-string guitar, and you can even use the in-app recording function to record your playing and listen back to it. This is a great tool for helping to improve your skills and work on correcting some mistakes you might have made. You can even export your recordings to .mp3 files! You can also use the Solo Note Animation, which shows you the notes you played while you’re rocking out and composing your own solos!
7. Coach Guitar
Coach Guitar is a great way to learn the guitar online, as it offers a very visual step-by-step method of learning. You can use color-coded finger placements on frets to learn to play songs. This app organizes its beginner lessons based on genre, so you can choose your own style (blues, folk, reggae, country, rock, etc.). Coach Guitar also has a library of tabs you can learn from, including essential classics and modern hits. That means you can have fun while learning real songs to show off to your friends.
8. Perfect Ear
This app isn’t specifically intended to help you learn to play the guitar, but it can really help you with your guitar skills. Perfect Ear is an ear-training app that helps you work on your rhythm and timing. If you want to be a serious musician and need to work on your general aural and musical skills, then this is a great app to try. Learn how to recognize chords and melodies by training your ear, learning to read music, or practicing with rhythm exercises. You can also easily track your progress as you learn, and see instantly how much you’re improving.
Download Now: Android
Cost: Free, with the option to purchase additional (but not necessary) in-app content.
9. Fretboard Hero
Fretboard Hero is a great guitar-specific teaching app. It teaches you to know the notes on your fretboard, which can significantly improve your playing – especially when it comes to creating your own music. With increasing levels of difficulty, you’ll definitely improve over time. You can also track your progress and see how you stand up against others on the Fretboard Hero leaderboards. If you master your fretboard, you’ll also be able to easily learn to read and understand sheet music for your guitar!
smartChord is a music-learning app for guitarists, bass players, banjo players, ukulele strummers, and mandolin aficionados. It has a built-in tuner, and contains more than 1 billion chords and fingerings to teach you. You can easily learn all your different scale types (major, Dorian, pentatonic, chromatic, etc.), get the lowdown on how arpeggios work, learn to recognize tone, and train your ear with exercises.
Download Now: Android
Cost: Free with optional in-app purchases.
If you want to learn guitar in a more structured way, then try downloading the Udemy app and searching for a course on guitar. Udemy’s courses work like real post-secondary classes, but you can go through modules and lessons at your own pace. You can work through video lectures, learning each minor subtopic as you go. Though Udemy courses cost money, you get full, lifetime access to them. That means you can go back and review these useful materials whenever you want.
The Coursera app is similar to Udemy, in that its lessons follow the structure of a post-secondary course. It has one great course on guitar, and many others on music – especially music theory. The Coursera Introduction to Guitar course is brought to you by the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and covers a variety of guitar-related topics. It also has weekly quizzes that help to test your knowledge, which are a great way to continuously check on your progress with learning the guitar.
We hope these suggestions for guitar-learning apps help you on your journey to becoming a guitar pro. If you need some more help, make sure to check out our article on the best ways to teach yourself the guitar online. We can show you some other ways you can go about learning the guitar, even if you’re teaching yourself, and give you some great resources to choose from. If you’re interested in learning some music theory as a base for your guitar playing, give our article on the best online music theory resources a read.