10 Must Have Mac Apps for Any Beginner Guitarist

Have you ever thought about picking up that abandoned guitar that has been in your basement since high school? Learning to play the guitar shouldn’t be something difficult and expensive anymore, especially since there are so many tools out there that can turn your Mac into everything you could ever need to learn and master this instrument.

Today we’ve gathered up our favorite guitar-related apps for the Mac, thinking about each of them from the perspective of a beginner guitarist. Here are the 10 best apps we’ve found to help any budding guitarist get started — and perhaps give old-timers a helping hand as well.

Learning

We all have to start somewhere! These are apps that will teach you basic concepts that any guitarist ought to know.

ChordMate

ChordMate

Chordmate is an app that holds a huge library of chords, and makes it pretty easy to find any number of strange chord voicings that would go well with your songs, or help you put together a chord progression that sounds good. If you are interested in learning more about chord composition or exploring some new ways to play what you already know, ChordMate is the best app for it.

Price: $49.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit
Developer: Harmonic Sense

Guitar Jam Tracks icon

Guitar Jam Tracks

If you are serious at all about playing guitar, learning the scales (especially the pentatonic) is something that you must do, even if it seems hard at first.

Guitar Jam Tracks can make the process of learning the major and minor pentatonic scales easier, by providing you with scale charts for each key, as well as backing tracks to jam and practice what you’ve learned.

Price: $3.99
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Ninebuzz

Finger Works icon

Finger Works

Finger Works is a beautiful and very simple app that can help you learn each note in the fretboard in a very convenient way easily adapatable to your learning pace. Given a starting note, you are meant to locate a second note in the fretboard diagram, but there’s an adjustable time limit until the answer is revealed and the next note appears. There’s not a lot of interactivity in the app, but it’s still a free and useful way of learning your way around the fretboard’s notes.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Boris Douarre

Practice

Have you ever heard about the 10,000 Hour theory? Well, let’s just say if you want to be a pro, you better get working.

Metronomo icon

Metronomo

If you’re in need of a useful and cheap way to keep track of timing, Metronomo is a very barebones and light solution, but it has every feature you could ask for and it’s free. It has adjustable beats per measure, tempo, volume, and a configurable keyboard shortcut for starting and stopping the metronome.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Dutch:Apps

Capo icon

Capo

Capo is a very powerful app that works by manipulating your iTunes tracks, and letting you slow them down and loop them in order to dissect an intriguing part and finally master the whole song.

It comes with useful features like a spectogram, a smart tablature editor and pitch control. It can even tell you what chord is playing in any given part of your song! The only downside is its price, but if you’re interested in figuring out your favorite songs and playing them as covers, Capo is worth the investment.

Price: $49.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Super Mega Ultra Groovy

iRehearse icon

iRehearse / iRehearse Plus

Think of iRehearse as a simpler, cheaper version of Capo. Just like its competitor, it lets you import tracks and play around with them for practicing: slow them down, change their pitch, loop sections, and whatnot. It may not be as pretty and it doesn’t have support for tabs or chord recognition, but to a lesser extent it gets the job done.

The plus version switches up the interface for something more modern and adds a few features, such as better iTunes integration, more loop control, and a waveform display.

Price: $11.99 / $20.99
Requires: OS X 10.7.3 or later
Developer: RJV Media

Tune

These are simple tools that will help you keep your instrument in tune.

SteadyTune icon

SteadyTune

SteadyTune is a tool that lives in your menu bar and uses your computer’s microphone to match the tones from your guitar and help you get it tuned perfectly. To make tuning easier on you, it lets you select from a vast variety of tunings besides the standard one, and it also supports a multitude of instruments varying from banjos to twelve-string guitars.

Price: $4.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Agile Partners

Free guitar tuner icon

Free Guitar Tuner

If you’re looking for a simpler tuner and don’t really need tone-matching, this app is just what you need. It rings the tones for each string so that you can tune your guitar by ear, and it supports a few guitar tunings besides the standard one, such as Drop D and a few open tunings as well.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: 24/7 Games LLC

Play & Record

These is where the fun begins: apps for recording your creations and messing around with different sounds.

Garageband icon

Garageband

Of course, no roundup of guitar-related apps for the Mac would be complete with the digital audio workstation that comes included with your computer right out of the box: Garageband. It’s actually a pretty powerful tool, and it’ll serve you just fine as a beginner.

It can do a little bit of everything: provide amp simulations, help you tune your instruments, record your songs, use its included (and purchasable) audio loops, and play around with everything previously mentioned. It even has a few lessons for teaching you how to play the guitar and piano.

Price: Included with all new Macs / $14.99
Requires: OS X 10.6.8 or later
Developer: Apple

Ampkit icon

AmpKit

If you enjoy playing around with the guitar amps and stompboxes included in Garageband, you are going to love AmpKit, as it provides a much wider variety of them, helping you achieve a sound that would otherwise require a hefty investment in real equipment. It’s a professional experience for just $49.99, and whether you plan to use it for jamming for fun or recording a song, it’s a great app.

Price: $49.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Agile Partners

Conclusion

That’s about it! We hope at least one of these apps catches your eye an helps you learn, practice and have fun with your new instrument — or help you get more out of the instrument you’ve already grown to love.

Are there any apps we missed and you’d like to recommend to a beginner? Post them in the comments!


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