iPhone guitar app guide

The iPhone is a great learning tool for guitarists
The iPhone is a great learning tool for guitarists

Guitar player and iPhone user? You've never had it so good. But with 185,000 applications now available to buy or download to your iPhone and iPod Touch from Apple's store, finding the best ones is a time-consuming minefield. So let Guitarist show you five of the best to try…

1. Planet Waves ChordMaster
£1.19 (LE scaled-down version available free)

• Library of 7,800 chords
• Fretboard view of chords with alternate positions
• Allows you to strum virtual strings to hear chord

We can all get stuck in a rut, falling back on the same small armoury of chords. Why not add to your stock? We like the price of this and the fact you can download the light version for free.

2. Guitar Toolkit
£5.99 (Lite version with audio pitch tuner £3.49)

• Chromatic tuner, metronome, 500,000-chord library
• Scales referenced in standard and alternate tuning
• Lefty mode and tuning for other stringed instruments

The price of Guitar Toolkit may at first seem prohibitive but you get a comprehensive all-in package here, including an accurate tuner that's very useful on the go. Remember that your second or third generation iPod Touch will need a third-party mic or the mic on the included Apple headphones to use this function.

3. FourTrack

• Multitrack recorder with bounce options for more tracks
• 16 bit, 44.1 kHz recording quality
• Pan control

Sonoma Wire Works' app is great for trying out song ideas and another demonstration of just how far digital recording technology has come in recent times. The only downside is the iPhone itself - its mic isn't the most sensitive (don't play too softly when you wake up with an idea at 2am!) and only has one mic, rather than two like most modern mobile phones. The fourth generation model of the phone is set to fix this later in 2010 but this app is still an incredible amount of power in your pocket. In addition, there's a more comprehensive version of FourTrack heading to the iPad soon.

4. Peterson iStroboSoft

• Precision strobe tuner with 1/10th cent accuracy
• Cents display
• Input boost raises frequencies by +24dB

With the established reputation of the physical pedal version already making the software version an attraction, this is widely regarded as the best tuner in the App Store in terms of accuracy. If you're planning on using your phone a lot for tuning, the investment is well worth it. It better watch out though, we hear TC Electronic is bringing its acclaimed PolyTune to the iPhone in the near future…

5. Gibson Learn & Master Guitar

• Chromatic tuner with alternate settings
• Metronome and library of 30 chords
• Video lessons

The tuner isn't the most accurate in the world, the chord library is limited BUT it's free! There's even a few video lessons on the basics. And did we mention it was free?

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.