Years ago, I found a classic guitar at home and taught myself how to play it. I was never a guitar guru, all I could play were some chords, but even a handful of around twenty simple chords can amount to hours of fun and hundreds of different songs to play. These days, I don’t have a guitar anymore, but like many others, I do have a smartphone. So how does playing guitar mash up with today’s “there’s an app for that” world?
Recently, after reading Dave’s post about free iOS apps that help you learn and play guitar, I realized that there’s a whole world of mobile guitar out there that I’m not taking advantage of! So yes, my old classic guitar is long gone, but I’ve set out to find some awesome Android guitar apps that will teach me how to play again and let me practice a little bit, even without owning one.
Solo for Android is a $3.99 app which can help you learn guitar, and acts also as a guitar simulator. The free version, which I actually recommend if you’re a beginner, includes an acoustic guitar simulator, and a huge chord library for you to browse, learn and choose from. For each chord, you can see the exact chord diagram, learn how it’s played on real guitar, add it to your virtual guitar and play it on your phone. You can also add any chord you’re missing to the library by showing the app its exact fingering.
The full version includes more instruments, the option to play along with your own music, and no ads. You can try out some featured apps to earn coins, which you can then use to unlock the full version without paying a dime.
Learn Guitar Chords is an app suited for those who are just starting out learning guitar. If you already know your chords, and want to focus on playing, you can skip this app. The app takes you step by step through the fingering of different chords, from the most basic to some more advanced ones.
It shows you exactly which finger to put where, which strings to play for each chord, and you can actually play the virtual guitar to hear what each chord sounds like. There are not many chords included in the app, but it’s great for learning the absolute basics.
Chords! is aimed at more advanced players, who have already mastered their basic chords and want to learn more about them and their different fingerings. The free version lets you search through the huge database for different chords, learn about them, listen to different fingerings and learn how to play different chords. It includes 5 different tunings for different instruments, and if you’re left handed, you can flip the fingerings to suit the way you play.
The full version ($3.99) lets you also reverse search chords by entering the fingering and finding which chord it is, includes more scales and tunings, and no ads.
Robotic Guitarist is for those who want to jam on their phone without a real instrument, but is also really useful for those who do own one. Robotic Guitarist lets you choose chords out of a vast library, and play them on the device. You can also learn fingerings from the app, and listen to each individual string by itself.
The free version also includes a metronome and a tuner, which you can use for playing on any instrument (including the phone itself), and even includes several instruments you can choose from. Get the full $2.99 version to get rid of ads.
Ending this list is The Chordinator. While not being the most slick app I’ve ever seen, it’s a great addition to the collection if you’ve already mastered some chords and want to put them to use. It’s meant for those who actually own a guitar (or two different devices), and want to easily find songs to play on the go. The app is very easy to use: simply search for a song or an artist, and follow the Google links the app finds for you.
Once you tap the link, the Android guitar app will automatically save the chords file for you and store it on your device. You can then browse your files and open the songs to view the chords and play. You can even enable auto scroll to have the song advance by itself as you play.
There are many, many more guitar apps for Android out there. I would love to hear which apps are your favorites and which you think are the best to use.