Nowadays you can find almost anything on your phone. There are apps that will teach you how to play guitar, record songs, simulate amps and more. If you’re wondering where to start, read this list! Here are 25 of the best guitar and music apps.
Join the mobile music revolution! AmpliTube is an essential app that lets you use your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to process, play and record your guitar, bass or other instrument while on the go. AmpliTube is an all-inclusive tone studio that gives you an expandable collection of ultra-realistic virtual versions of some of the most coveted gear on the planet. Build the guitar or bass rig of your dreams and then use its powerful recording and editing tools and other handy features to capture your creativity whenever and wherever the inspiration strikes.
The first thing you’ll notice about AmpliTube for iOS is that it’s incredibly fun and easy to use. It lets you drag and drop pieces of virtual gear to create custom guitar and bass rigs comprised of 6 stompbox effects (4 pre-amp and 2 post), an amplifier and a speaker cabinet with up to 2 positionable microphones. The second thing you’ll notice about AmpliTube is that it sounds amazing and looks beautiful. That’s because it utilizes the same digital signal processor as the acclaimed AmpliTube 3 Custom Shop for Mac and PC. You'll hear the difference and immediately understand why AmpliTube has been used on countless records and has since become the industry standard tone studio for professional producers and recording studios around the world.
And those good looks? Let’s just say we’re obsessed with detail—each piece of virtual gear has been meticulously modeled so that it looks and sounds as good as it does in real life. AmpliTube comes with an astonishing collection of virtual gear that includes 11 creative stompbox effects (delay, fuzz, overdrive, wah, envelope filter, chorus, flanger, phaser, octave, noise filter and distortion), 5 amplifiers (clean, crunch, lead, metal and bass), 5 speaker cabinets and 2 microphones (dynamic 87 and condenser 87).
Guitar Lessons by Guitar Tricks
Guitar Lessons by Guitar Tricks is an app for everyone from beginner guitarists who have never picked up a guitar to advanced guitarists that want to perfect their technique.
Guitar Tricks has more than 11,000 comprehensive lessons for many different styles like rock, blues, country, metal, funk and more. The app also features a tool called Artist Studies that teach you how to play like iconic guitarists, a techniques section that will help you refine your skills and style and hundreds of song-specific tutorials that teach you every guitar part to your favorite hits.
A free membership will include a rotation of select lessons. To access all 11,000+ lessons within the app you can make an in-app subscription purchase. The price for a Full Access membership is $14.99.
Full Access members will have access to artist studies, song lessons, the Core Learning System, tablature, and much more.
What stands out: Since 1998, Guitar Tricks has spent years developing an easy method for learning guitar. They call this method the “Core Learning System,” which is a step-by-step course that keeps beginners on-track and having fun with actual music to reinforce lessons. With age comes wisdom and Guitar Tricks has been around for a while!
Guitar Tricks Inc.; Free
PocketAmp: Guitar Amp and Effects
Finally, an amp you don’t have to lug everywhere! Turn your iPhone or iPad into an amp with this awesome app. All you need is an instrument adapter.
People are going crazy for this app! It’s easy to see why once you hear how great this makes your tone sound. It’s known for having high-quality sound, which is hard to find with mobile amps. The PocketAmp comes with 4 cabs, 7 effects, and 4 amps.
What stands out: Not only do you get a portable and high quality amp, but you also get to jam to your favorite music! This app allows you to jam along with any song in your iTunes library. Can’t keep up with your favorite musician’s guitar solo? PocketAmp has a feature that allows you to slow down any song in your iTunes library.
Pocketlabworks Inc., $4.99
Ultimate Guitar Tabs HD
Ultimate Guitar Tabs HD has over 1 million tabs and chords! The app comes with a Guitar Tools pack, which includes a tuner, metronome, and chord library. This app works well for both intermediate and experienced guitarists, and even features lyrics if you fancy singing along.
The functionality is great. Ultimate Guitar Tabs HD has an automatic scrolling feature, which scrolls while you play along. Just set the desired speed and you’re off! The subscription plans are $5.99 per month or $39.99 for a lifetime membership, while the Android app is $2.99 to download.
What stands out: Ultimate Guitar Tabs HD comes with a ton of content AND tools for guitarists. The app also has a chord diagram that shows correct fingering and multiple variations. It is so important for tabs to be accurate; and this app takes pride in the accuracy of their tabs.
Ultimate Guitar; Prices Vary
Songsterr Tabs & Chords
This app gives you access to realistic playback of over 90,000 songs from the Songsterr website.
The tab player has an option to slow the tab scrolling feature and a “solo” mode that allows you to hear just the guitar part of the song. There is even a “count in” option that gives you time to prepare for playing after tapping! Subscriptions cost $4.99 per month.
What stands out: This isn’t your average tab app. Songsterr plays the tabs in tempo! Tabs will display and scroll on the screen while the song is played, which allows you to play along. Songsterr Tabs & Chords was featured in the Wall Street Journal as one of “The Best Apps for Learning to Play Music” and was Apple app of the week. It’s reliable, updated often, and has a huge tab catalogue.
Guitar Tabs LLC; Free
FunkBox Drum Machine
Who needs a drummer when you’ve got this app? FunkBox has been used by musicians such as Gorillaz, Tom Middleton, Mark Lanegan, and Joan Osborne. This drum machine can be used to make music in virtually any genre.
It sounds just like a classic vintage drum machine. There are 14 different classic boxes to choose from. You can even create your own boxes by mixing different preset samples or importing your own. There are also 36 preset rhythm patterns, which can be edited to create your own beat.
What stands out: You can share your custom boxes and drum loops with friends at the click of a button. This makes it easy to collaborate with other musicians and show off your skills. There is also a feature that allows you to sync the FunkBox up to real hardware instruments and other music apps. The fact that Damon Albarn recorded much of Gorillaz' 2011 album, The Fall, using this app among others on his iPad is fairly convincing!
Synthetic Bits LLC; $4.99
Guitar World Lessons
Guitar World Lessons are great for learning guitar on the go. You have access to hundreds of lessons from the Guitar World catalog in the palm of your hand!
Choose lessons from different genres such as blues, rock, metal, jazz, classical, country and more. This app is perfect for both acoustic and electric guitar players. Want to play like the legends? Check out the “Artist” lessons that will teach you how to play in the style of artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, among many others!
- Guitar World Lessons has a clean design that makes it easy for users to navigate. There is also a search function that allows guitarists to search by artist, genre, instructor, or song.
- The first lesson is free.
What stands out: There is no commitment involved. While the app itself is free to download, you must pay for each lesson. You only pay for what you want to learn – no paid membership required! The prices are super affordable making it an easy pill to swallow for downloading more of the specific lessons you want. There is also a video tour of the app available online.
New Bay Media; Free
This app stimulates a real-sounding band to play with you as your practice. iReal Pro also allows you to collect and create chord charts of your favorite songs to reference.
There are 47 different accompaniment styles to choose from, and you can personalize each style with a variety of instruments including acoustic and electric guitars, electric basses, drums, vibraphone, piano, and more. There is also a recording feature; so you can record yourself with your virtual band.
Improve your skills with the iReal Pro by looking at their chord diagrams. You can look up guitar fingerings and scale recommendations for each chord. You will also find 50 exercises for practicing common chord progressions.
What stands out: Each upgrade delivers better sounds and more flexibility, while the overall depth of the app is amazing!
Technimo LLC; $12.99
This is a great chord chart management app for musicians. Replace your binder full of paper chord charts and upgrade to this digital interactive method for storing your songs!
OnSong allows you to manage large collections of chord charts and lyrics sheets on your iPad or iPhone. You can quickly reorder set lists and flip from one song to the next with ease. You can import songs from online sources like Dropbox, or create your own with the built in editor.
Keeping track of your past sets has never been easier. And collaborating with bandmates is just a click away! Directly send your list to your team via email from the app.
What stands out: OnSong works great with foot pedals to control the app so you’re hands-free. This feature is perfect for vocalists, drummers, and other musicians! The amount of features this app offers makes this a great tool for those who love gigs and need to collaborate with bandmates. Not to mention it’s super easy to use.
This is the app that helps you learn to play by ear!
You can play, transcribe, practice, and perform songs by slowing down the tempo; and even adjust the tempo without affecting the pitch.
With Anytune every note can be picked out to thoroughly learn a piece. You can also just play along with your favorite songs by starting slow and gradually increasing the tempo. And if you’re tired of tuning your instrument, you can tune songs to your instrument or voice.
You get the basic version when you initially download Anytune. You can upgrade the app with an in-app purchase feature pack or get the Anytune Pro+.
What stands out: This is a great app for learning those tricky solos. With so many features to choose from, this app is completely customizable with all the options available for purchase. Only pay for the features you will use!
Anytune Inc.; Free
Autochords is a simple-to-use cheat sheet for songwriting.
Choose a progression style and a key in which you are comfortable playing. Then let the app take it from there as it shows you what to play for your main progression. Autochords also suggests “alternative progressions” that can be used for other sections of the song.
What stands out: This app will give you a whole new perspective if you are stuck in a guitar rut. Some musicians have highly reviewed this app saying they used Autochords to learn to play by ear. While the app is simple, it’s the best of its kind.
Astrocode Pty Ltd; Free
Songtree is a social network for musicians. Record your songs with Songtree, upload them to the community, and watch your music network grow. It’s the perfect app for bringing musicians together.
The app is strictly for recording your music so you can upload it to your Songtree community. It comes with a built-in metronome and a good selection of high-quality audio effects. Create an account with Songtree and download the Songtree Recorder to get started!
What stands out: With Songtree you can start a recording session where others can join and contribute to songs. You can download a track another user has posted and use it as a base track to jam on. Once you are done recording you can post the results online. Songtree really does make music collaboration easy. It’s about time there was a social network for musicians!
Songtree S.r.l., Free
Obliterate zombies by playing guitar! This is a fun way to learn notes. Guitar Bandit gets guitarists practicing notes in a fun and addictive way that makes memorization easy. In the game you duel the sheriff and kill zombies all while playing your guitar! This is a brilliant app that encourages guitarists to have fun while practicing.
Make sure your guitar is tuned properly for accurate results. For electric guitars, it is recommended to use iRig or a small amp loud enough to be picked up by your device’s microphone. Be sure to play in a quiet environment so there is no background noise interfering with the game performance.
What stands out: Guitar Bandit was created by musician/guitar teacher Phil Wilson – no big companies involved! Because this app is considered “indie,” not many people have heard of it. It’s a video game that uses your guitar as a controller! This app would be a great choice for young adults learning to play guitar (or anyone who enjoys video games). It’s fun to play and motivates you to memorize what you practice.
Philip Wilson; Free
Capture and organize new musical ideas with ease. With Music Memos you can use your iPhone or iPad to record your guitar as high-quality, uncompressed audio. The app will automatically detect your tempo, rhythmic feel, and chords. You can instantly hear your musical idea with realistic drums and bass!
What stands out: This is perfect for musicians who want to be able to record their idea as soon as they think of it. You can quickly open your idea in Garageband for iOS to continue editing your song. The drum and bass adapt immediately to match any chord and rhythm edits.
Improve your fretboard knowledge with a fun and educational game!
Fretboard Hero is another app that strives to make learning guitar fun. Guess the correct note before the clock runs out and achieve high scores. You earn points to unlock cool guitars to play on.
What stands out: This game appeals to all guitar players. The difficulty increases as you progress and monitors your reaction time. You can use these features to see how fast you are and track your progress. The creators of this app value user’s feedback so much that they made a reddit thread specifically asking for people to test it out and give them feedback.
Marcin Sewastianowicz; $1.99
Here’s an amp simulator that takes live guitar input into your iPhone or iPad.
With the iShred Live you get the HK-2000 digital delay and Q-36 Space Modulator/Flanger. It also comes with a built-in noise gate and filter. Use this app to morph, warp, and distort your music.
Note: The iShred LIVE is made to use with the GuitarConnect interface cable from Griffin Technology as well as other guitar interfaces. The GuitarConnect cable has a 1/4 inch guitar plug and a 1/8 inch stereo headphone jack.
What stands out: iShred Live is often used for live performances making it one of the most reliable amp simulation apps available.
Frontier Design Group; Free
A music studio inside your Apple device.
With this app you can start making professional-sounding music! Choose one of the Touch instruments or plug in your guitar and select one of their realistic amps. You can even add a virtual drummer to your song that takes direction and plays realistically. There are a ton of features. Garageband is perfect for making you sound like a pro regardless of your playing ability.
What stands out: This is the best music-making app for any Apple product. You can choose from 9 acoustic or electronic drummers. Each drummer has their own signature sound! There are so many ways to customize your music with this app.
Look up any song and see the guitar chords and diagrams synced with the music video. Riffstation uses automatic chord recognition technology, which listens to the music and figures out the chords for you!
Overall the algorithms in this app are incredible and give you real-time progressions that help you jam to your favorite songs. This app is simple to use and a must-have for musicians who want to play like their favorite band.
What stands out: They have an option to switch to left-handed mode in the settings menu. It is rare to come across an app that incorporates a left-handed setting. You can also change the speed of any song with the tempo tool.
Sonic Ladder Ltd.; free
GuitarTapp, with a collection of over half a million tabs, makes it easy for you to store all your favorite tabs on your Apple device.
While there are a lot of tab options for guitarists, this app is a good investment. The app has an automatic scrolling feature that makes it easy to play along from the screen. Use the on-board chord dictionary to view chord diagrams and fingering alternatives for guitar chords. It’s also easy to change the song key by transposing the chords up or down! For less than $3 you have access to hundreds of thousands of tabs.
What stands out: GuitarTapp is the only tab app that automatically adjusts to fit your screen’s width. The price for this app is well worth all the free tab updates that come out. No in-app purchases necessary. This means you get all the new content with each update for free!
8:45 Tools; $2.99
OneTrack: Backing Tracks for Pros
This is professional music player for your performances, recording sessions, or rehearsals.
You no longer have to worry about your music skipping straight to the next track. When one track ends the next track is lined up instantly – ready for you and your band! This app is easy to use and very reliable.
What stands out: OneTrack allows you to adjust In and Out points for each track. This will be useful if you need to rehearse one part of your track. Just set your In and Out points, set the track to Loop, and Autoplay. You can use the iJet remote to control OneTrack from any location while on stage (as long as you are within range of the device). There is a count-in timer so you have time between songs to chat with your audience. The music will come in right on cue making it awesome for gigs!
Sean Bergin; $14.99
Guitar Jam Tracks
Here’s the top app for jamming and improvising with your guitar.
Practice jamming while learning guitar scales and different styles. The scale charts are easy to use and perfect for intermediate guitarists. Pick a song and change the style at any time! The scale charts are easy to read and shows exactly where to put your fingers.
What stands out: Guitar Jam Tracks was featured by Apple as a Best New App on Mac. With hundreds of positive reviews and recognition from multiple magazines, it’s hard to resist the urge to try this app. If you’re stuck in a creative rut, this app is sure to get your musical gears turning.
Ninebuzz Software LLC; $4.99
This app has been widely talked about for years! It’s one of the most trusted guitar simulation apps available. JamUP offers an all-in-one performance and recording tool for guitar players.
Jamup XT comes with 1 amp and 6 effects. JamUp Pro XT has 6 amps and 16 stomp-box and premium effects. Both options include a Jam player, phrase sampler, ToneSharing, preset manager, 8-track recorder, live-viewer, tuner, and metronome. Positive Grid strives to make the best apps for guitarists so they can rehearse anywhere they want for the best possible performance.
What stands out: JamUp is now integrated with BIAS (the company’s other hit amp customization app). This means that you can create your own amps from BIAS within the app. There is also a Live view that allows you to switch between presets instantly!
Positive Grid Inc.; $4.99
Design and customize your own dream amp! Start out your customization process with 36 replications of the coolest vintage amps in rock history. You can change just about anything with this app including the tubes, preamp, transformer, tone stacks, cab, and much more. It even works with GarageBand.
What stands out: Sure there are other amp simulators out there, but this one you can completely customize! The number of custom amps you can create is virtually unlimited. With BIAS Amp YOU are in charge of your gear.
Positive Grid Inc;, $4.99
Here’s one of the best apps for backing tracks and jamming along to a wide variety of styles.
Record, mix, and share your jam sessions with Pro Band. You can play and record through any effect app. This app is like a community for musicians to show off their solos! You can browse shared solos by popularity or date. This is a great app for practicing, improvising, or just showing off your skills!
What stands out: You can remix and replay your solo in any key or tempo. And you can do the same for other musicians who have shared their solos! There are also chord charts for every track in every key with a synchronized cursor that follows the progression. The amount of detail in this app is astounding. There are over 100 tracks to purchase in a variety of bundles.
David J Chura; Free
This is an easy, fast, and accurate tuner app with high ratings.
GuitarTuna was created by the same makers of Yousician, and uses the same audio recognition algorithm as Yousician. This tuner has professional-grade accuracy and is rated highly among the musician community. GuitarTuna comes with 6 ultimate chord-learning games and 4 songs to learn with guitar tabs.
What stands out: Unlike most tuner apps, GuitarTuna works in noisy areas! The app has the latest in background noise cancellation technology.
Yousician Ltd.; Free
If you loved Guitar Hero and wished that it actually taught you how to play, you will love Yousician.
Yousician is a fast and fun way to learn guitar. The app will listen to you play and give you immediate feedback! Beginner guitarists and professionals can use this app to improve their skills.
They offer step-by-step video tutorials that guide you through each lesson at your own pace.
The app has over 1,500 songs and hundreds of videos. Since the microphone listens to you play, there is no additional equipment needed to use this app. All you need is an acoustic or electric guitar. If you are looking to practice solely on the guitar, the subscription is $19.99/month or 119.99/year. The subscription price is a little more than their competitors, but with the technology used to enhance their lessons, it’s hard to complain.
What stands out: Yousician has weekly gameplay challenges where you can compete with other users. But rather than using a plastic controller, with this app you use your guitar. It’s also really cool that this app can listen to you play and give you accurate feedback. Yousician is extremely entertaining and a great way to learn at your own pace.
Yousician Ltd., Free
Please note that prices for each app may vary depending on Apple store or Google Play store prices. Some apps may be listed under a different name for Google Play users.