Monday, October 19, 2009

Free Guitar Apps for the iPhone: Learn Chords, Tune Your Guitar and Play in Time

Both Khan Jr. and I have recently taken up learning to play the guitar. We are not very good but we are very enthusiastic. Practicing is the only way we'll get better and there is no substitution for real life lessons. That said, there are a few tools for the iPhone that can help. Here are my top three free utilities:

1. Chords teaches the novice guitarist which strings to pluck, strum, tap to achieve any given chord. There are paid apps that do the same, you could print off a cheat sheet and there are other free apps available but this program offers a nice clean interface, all the facts and it's accurate.

2. TyroTuner uses the built in microphone on the iPhone (an extra purchase for iPod Touch users) to assess the tones of the guitar strings and provide feedback to aid tuning. Especially useful to those of us who are still learning what sounds the guitar is supposed to make, it can have utility for all levels of expertise though.

3. iTick is a metronome program that provides timing for you to play along with. Unlike other applications that just have visual metronomes (look nice, little use), iTick resonates an audible ticking pattern to which the guitarist can play along.

To finish this quick list, I'd like to also recommend a non-iPhone app that is available free to Mac users. GarageBand offers a number of free lessons that offer a complementary set of instructions to those your teacher will provide. There are also (paid) lessons provided by some notable names but these tend to be a little more advanced than the absolute novice can handle....but still offers something to which the student can aspire.

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