There are literally tons of apps for guitarists out there, on iOS, Android and Windows devices. I personally use iOS but I know that many of the apps I use have android versions or equivalents. I’ll cover some of those in a later post. Apps range from the basic, like a tuner, to the more advanced like ones that display your music for you. Here are my five top guitar apps for iOS that I think every guitar play should have, and I use extensively in lessons and my own playing.
- Tuner – it goes without saying that the most essential thing to playing guitar well is having it in tune. You can spend a fortune on Tuners – I use a Boss TU3 pedal tuner when I play live. These sell for around £60. However the rest of the time I use an app on my phone. You can get free one’s like Chromatic Guitar Tuner, But I like to use Guitar Toolkit, this one costs £2.29 at the moment, but also includes a metronome and drum beats to play along with, and some other features like chord finders and scales diagrams etc.
- Metronome – metronomes are brilliant. Now before you drift off, they really are. A metronome keeps a constant time, which something us humans are not quite as good at. In practice playing along with a metronome can be a bit dull, but will ultimately give us much better timing and rhythm, especially when we play with other musicians. The great thing about a Metronome App is they often include some basic drum beats to play along with, which is considerably more interesting, and more realistic. A good free metronome app on iOS is Pro Metronome. If you’re after something a bit more advanced you could use the Guitar Toolkit mentioned above. But my favourite metronome app is Tempo. This one again costs £2.29 but includes a feature called setlists which means you can save songs, or different practice routines, with their tempos into it and then switch between them. I’ve even used this one live as a click track for the band – a set up that is usually much more expensive!
- Song Folder – once you’ve been playing guitar for a while, you will find that there is an abundance of music sheets, from tabs and chord charts to pages of exercises and scales to music notation. No matter how well you organise these in folders, you will always need another folder. That’s where OnSong comes in. If you’ve got an iPad, then OnSong will store all of your music and will let you transpose songs as you go, import from PDFs and a whole load of online sources. Genuinely a lifesaver. It does however cost £14.99 which is quite a lot for an app, but I’d happily pay it again.
- Recording – not strictly just for guitarists, but Garageband, one of Apple’s own apps is fantastic for recording, from getting ideas as you practice with the built in mic to recording via a line in or audio interface. It costs £3.99.
- Digital amp – there are a multitude of apps out there that let you plug in your guitar via an audio interface. Ampkit however is free (with the option to upgrade for extra features) and gives you some great sounds. There’s a host of interfaces available and ampkit claim they’ll all work!