As you can tell from my previous articles, I care about guitarists. I want to help you eliminate or avoid common frustrations that plague so many when learning. One great way to do that is by downloading apps to your smartphone that simplify the learning and playing process so your playing becomes far more fulfilling.
So I put a short list together of must-have apps I like to use and that my students enjoy across all platforms. There will probably be more articles like this to come, since apps in every marketplace are being created EVERY single day, so here are my top 5 must have apps:
There is a paid version and a free version. The difference is the occasional commercial. I usually don’t mind them and they only last about 30 seconds at most. You want Pandora in your arsenal because if you want to get good at any style of music, you MUST immerse yourself in that music.Pandora allows you to type in a genre or artist and automatically compiles a list of similar songs and artists for you to hear. For example, one of my favorite styles is blues, and one of my favorite blues players is Stevie Ray Vaughn. So in the search bar, I type ‘Stevie Ray Vaughn’ and then just let that playlist play. I have gotten so many great licks, tricks and progressions from immersing myself in the music and hearing what other guitarists and non-guitar instrument players had to offer because I do. A must-have app for sure.
There is a paid version and a free version. The paid version includes a metronome, tuner, and some other goodies. Both free and paid versions boast 30,000+ tablature versions of songs from all genres and eras. Tabs is a great app when you’re trying to play cover songs. In other words, if you want to know what chord an artist on the radio is playing or what progression they use on the guitar, just look up that song by that artist and the app will pull up the song within seconds so you can start learning right away! Another must-have app for your Android device, iPhone or Tablet.
There are tons of free available versions of metronomes across every mobile platform. It is VITAL that you learn how to keep a beat when playing any instrument, especially an instrument as noticed as the guitar. It is also VITAL that you be able to slow a beat down and play along with it cleanly so you can play in any given setting. Make sure that whichever one you choose makes it easy to change the tempo and time signature. This way the app can grow with you instead of having to hunt for more complex or simplified apps later on. This is a Vital, Absolute, Must-Have App.
4. Guitar Tuner
There are also tons of free guitar tuners available across just about every mobile platform. Having a tuner in your hand helps prevent you from being off key from your trainer, class, band, or even the song on the radio. When choosing a Tuner, make sure you search for one that plays the tone of the string and does more than just tune by microphone. The microphone picks up on every sound around you and will not pick up the right frequencies, so that becomes unreliable. My favorite tuner for Android is called Waves. It allows you to switch between microphone and listening to the note frequency. It also allows you to tune chords and alternate tunings as you get more advanced!
Switching it to play the tone allows you to both get the right note playing from the right strings, and you get the added benefit of training your ear to recognize the right tones, eventually allowing you to not have to rely on the tuner as much. Very useful app to have.
Most phones already come with YouTube preloaded on them. By now you already know the value of YouTube, as it lets you search for any song you wish, and play along. Some songs even come with tutorials, though every trainer is different and unless you are an advanced guitarist, it’s not easy to connect concepts and techniques apart from the song tutorials. If your guitar trainer uses YouTube for any of his or her lessons, make sure you ask him or her the best way to use it so you can progress in the right way.
That’s it for now!! This list should keep you busy for months and even years! I use these apps, and more, almost every single day and it’s a real treat to be able to always have these ready and at my side. Now there’s only one more problem I need to solve- keeping my battery alive long enough to make phone calls when I’m done practicing!
Let me know how these apps have worked out for you!
Written by: Marcus L. Diaz
Owner, Mentor, Trainer, Coach
Master Your Guitar Music Academy
If you live in Northern New Jersey, and are ready to boost your guitar playing to a whole new level or you’re looking to finally get started in your playing, click here and we’ll contact you within 1-2 business days to schedule a Free Trial Lesson and answer any questions you have before your guitar playing is heightened and transformed forever: