The Best Smartphone Apps for Musicians

Glenn Sutton teaches guitar, electric bass, keyboard, theory and improvisation for over 30 years, he specializes in rock, blues, jazz, Latin, Brazilian, classical, country, and folk.

Using your Android or iPhone to Enhance your Music

The smartphone has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. These hand-held devices hold the power of a computer, and there are many apps available for iPhones and Androids that can simplify and enhance your life. If you are a musician, there are many smartphone apps you may be unaware of that can enhance and improve how you play, write, and record music. This brief article will review just a handful of the many useful apps available for musicians.

(Note: unless otherwise indicated, these apps are available for both Android and iOS. The availability and listed prices for these apps are subject to change.)

Guitartoolkit

This is one of the most acclaimed apps for guitarists ever created, so much so that Apple has listed it in their App Store Hall of Fame. It can be used for 6, 7, and 12-string guitar; 4, 5 and 6-string bass; ukulele, banjo, and mandolin. With this app, you have access to an extremely accurate tuner, a precision metronome, and more than two million chords, scales, and arpeggios. (iOS only, $2.95)

Garageband

This app creates a virtual recording studio in your iPhone. Use Multi-Touch gestures to play a piano, organ, guitar, and drums. Plug an electric guitar into your iPhone and play through classic amps and stomp box effects. Use a Touch Instrument, a built-in microphone, or a guitar and instantly record a performance with support for up of 32 tracks. This app also makes it easy to share your music through Facebook or email. This only scratches the surface of the functionality. (iOS only, $4.99)

ChordBot

Meet your electronic backup band! ChordBot is an excellent songwriting tool, providing many different instruments and combinations at your fingertips. Use it for songwriting experiments, as accompaniment when learning new songs or for making backing tracks for your guitar. Simply add some chords, select the instruments and comping styles you want to use, and hit play. ($5.00)

B-Rhymes

We have spent some time with music; it’s time to talk about a lyric app! B-Rhymes brings a rhyming dictionary to your iPhone or Android. It gives you words that sound good together even though they don’t technically rhyme as well as regular rhymes. (Free, Pro version with added features for iOS $2.99)

iReal Pro

If you like to play and write in different genres, this could be the perfect app for you. This extremely fun and useful app offers an easy-to-use tool to help musicians of all levels master their art. It simulates a real-sounding band that can accompany you as you practice. The app also lets you create and collect chord charts of your favorite songs for reference. Choose from 35 different accompaniment styles. Even more are available with in-app purchases. ($12.99)

Just a handful

These are just a few of the extremely useful apps out there. The worlds of Apple and Android are chock full of great apps for musicians at all levels of expertise. Take some time and check out what is available.

 

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