From tentative strummers to professional Hendrix impersonators, we can all improve our plank-spanking with judicious use of these rocking apps.
Learning a new instrument can be a right old trudge, which is why Yousician wisely reimagines plucking and strumming as a game. Its exercises are like Guitar Hero turned on its side, as you time your efforts to match coloured blocks and dots scrolling across the screen. If you fancy something a mite more conventional, try Fender Play instead.
R150 per year / iOS
Can’t quite get the hang of that fiddly riff? Trying to figure out the chords in an obscure indie B-side that you want to cover? Load the tracks into Capo Touch and use its tools to slow down audio and isolate frequencies; it’ll even, mostly accurately, figure out the chords being played. Just about all it can’t do is put your fingers on the right frets for you.
You’re not a proper guitarist until you’ve got a rig of mindblowing amps and stompboxes to plug into. But they cost a fortune, weigh an absolute ton, and result in cable-spaghetti. So just use this app instead, with handy presets, custom setups, a built-in looper, and a live mode for those real, sweaty gigs. Just don’t forget yourself and stomp on your smartphone.
Unless you fancy going really avant-garde (in the sense of ‘unlistenable’), you need to tune your strings. Fender’s app gives you standard, alternative and custom options, and has an interface bold enough to see from across the street. Fling IAP at it and you can add a snazzy ‘pro’ tuner, a rhythm box, and a bunch of chords and scales for honing your skills.
Free / iOS
Apple’s freebie recording app covers the full gamut. Beginners can strum smart guitars, and old hands can plug in a real one before smashing their eardrums with a range of superb-sounding amps and pedals. When it’s time to record that hit single, a simple tuner stops you sounding too inept, while in-app synths and drum machines let you pretend you’re in an actual band.
Audio Evolution Mobile Studio
There’s no GarageBand on Android, but this virtual studio does the business for laying down tracks. An IAP gets you USB audio support, there are loads of effects packs, and you can mix audio and MIDI. Editing is non-destructive – handy in case an ill-advised edit suddenly creates a musical disaster worse than Agadoo.