How my iPad helped me Learn to Play Guitar

How my iPad helped me learn to play guitar

When I decided that I wanted to learn how to play the guitar, I wasn’t sure where to start –- so I turned, as I always do, to my trusty iPad.

I’m not the most spontaneous person in the world – my wife and kids would say that is a huge understatement. I am a bit programmed and disciplined and really work on “trying new things.”

So, in my disciplined way, I decided that at 48 years of age, it was time for a mid-life crisis. Since I’m not terribly spontaneous, I have an amazing, beautiful wife and six great kids, my mid-life crisis needed to be something out of the norm.

I thought about getting a motorcycle, but my family seems to think I lack the proper coordination and that it might end very badly for me if I tried that. Then it dawned on me – what I wanted to learn how to do was play the guitar. I have been playing the piano since I was about six, I knew music theory and I played in bands in high school; but what I really wanted to do was learn the guitar.

I found my goal, and set upon my journey with iPad 2 in hand to start my adventure. The first thing I needed to do was buy a guitar. I fired up my eBay app to see if I could get a good used one. When nothing jumped out at me, I launched the PriceGrabber app and looked for a guitar that got a great write up in Guitarist Magazine that I had just read using iOS 5's Newsstand.

The PriceGrabber app let me look for a guitar that got a great write up in Guitarist Magazine that I had just read using the Newsstand app

PriceGrabber - Free - Download Now

I ordered my new guitar and started looking for apps to teach me how to use it. I was very surprised that when I did a search for “Guitar” in the App Store, I found over 800 iPad apps and close to 2000 iPhone apps. Where to start? I narrowed my search to “Beginner Guitar” to narrow the field a bit. Pay dirt!

To better cope with the quantity of apps in the App Store, I narrowed my search to “Beginner Guitar” to narrow the field a bit. Pay dirt!

Beginner Guitar Songs - Free - Download now

I found Beginner Guitar Songs from GuitarJamz.com. Marty Schwartz, who is an amazing guitar teacher, showed me how to hold the guitar, how to hold the pick, basic strumming patterns and then introduced easy chords to learn. I quickly progressed through the Beginner Lesson Series and advanced to Important Guitar Chords. After an afternoon, I could play an E minor, A major, D major, G major, E major, A minor and C major chords –not bad for the first day.

Beginner Guitar was so much fun and I could really see some progress.

The next morning of my first weekend with a guitar, I fired up the Beginner Guitar app again and went through the Strumming Patterns and tried to learn some songs from the Easy Guitar Songs section. This was so much fun and I could really see some progress.

One thing that Marty did mention in the lessons was keeping your guitar in tune. I had forgotten about that. I touched base with some musician friends and read up on line. It seems that the “purists” like to use a tuning fork, the “realists” like to use an analog chromatic tuner and the “techies” like the digital chromatic tuner. I just couldn’t see dropping close to a hundred bucks on a tuner when I knew there must be “…an app for that.” Back to the App Store – this time searching for Guitar Tuner. I came across many options, but I settled on Cleartune Chromatic Tuner. For $3.99, I figured it would be worth a shot and it is great. Play a note on the guitar and the “analog looking” dial shows you how far off from the actual note you are. I just tuned my strings and kept plucking and tuning until the guitar was in perfect tune.

Play a note on the guitar and the “analog looking” dial on Cleartune shows you how far off from the actual note you are.

$3.99 - Cleartune Chromatic Tuner - Download now

Now I was ready to learn more chords – I had about seven under my belt and I wanted more. I found the Howcast Guitar Lessons app and found over 140 video lessons – mostly chords and progressions. I spend the better part of the day learning more chords. I continued each day; adding a new chord and then reviewing the ones I had learned. By the end of the first week I had about 10 chords I was comfortable with. By the end of the second week, I had about fifteen I could remember and play. The Howcast app also taught me how to play scales and I learned the Pentatonic scales and the Blues scale and felt like I was ready to dive into some music.

I found the Howcast Guitar Lessons app and found over 140 video lessons – mostly chords and progressions.

$1.99 - Guitar Lessons from Howcast - Download now

I so enjoyed the GuitarJamz app that I looked for more stuff from Marty Schwartz and found Blues Licks, Solo Guitar and 100 Lessons and I downloaded all those apps. I then saw that in addition to the apps and the website, Marty had hundreds of lessons for free on his YouTube channel. I watched, learned and experimented to see what I could do. I had to remember, I was only a little over two weeks into my new hobby.

What I learned was that some of my favorite classic rock songs were pretty easy. America’s “Horse With No Name” – two chords. The Beatles’ “Let it Be” – four chords. Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train” – four chords. I could do this.

Over the next few weeks – and now after about four months – I have been watching YouTube videos, using the Chromatic Tuner app and downloading guitar sheet music via the Songsterr Plus app. The guitar learning apps showed me how to read guitar tablature and chord diagrams – so I can do that as well.

The Songsterr Plus guitar learning app showed me how to read guitar tablature and chord diagrams – so I can do that as well.

$9.99 - Songsterr Plus - Download now

As I write this, I have just learned the guitar solo to Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” – something I never envisioned I would be doing four months into learning how to play the guitar. Now, I still need lots of work and I’m sure my technique needs improving. Thanks to a Valentine’s present for my first “in-person” guitar lesson, I hope to work on those things and more. However, the reality is that I really did learn how to play the guitar using my iPad.

Have you learned how to do something new using your iPad? Let us know by posting a comment below or joining this discussion thread in our forums.

23
loading...
0
loading...
94
loading...
0
loading...

← Previously

50% off Qmadix Metalix Snap-On Cover for iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 [Daily deal]

Next up →

My A-Z for iPhone teaches your kids the ABCs from their own personalized alphabet

There are 24 comments. Add yours.

SMT says:

I am attempting to learn violin... Not as many apps for that though... I did find clear tune as well, it was a great purchase!

T-Will says:

Thanks for the write-up, learning guitar has been one of my goals too, but it's all about setting aside the time (which I haven't done yet) and actually sitting down and do it.

Gnargusto says:

Good stuff! I started several years ago at age 25. Which, as I'm sure you know, is pretty old when it comes to taking up the guitar. I'm still pretty terrible (I'd imagine my neighbors could attest to that) but its been a fun learning process. I'd like to recommend ultimate guitar's "Tabs" app and Guitarworld's "Lick of the Day" is a novelty but neat nonetheless.

KenB says:

Wow man starting to learn at 25 ... that is old.
Wish I was 25 though ... I started last year when I was 79 ... now that is old

KenB says:

sorry forgot to add that I started learning using Ipad Irog with Amplitude and of course videos including Marty Schwartz and still use them all and still learning something new every day.

KenB says:

sorry forgot to add that I started learning using Ipad Irig with Amplitude and of course videos including Marty Schwartz and still use them all and still learning something new every day.

Truth3000 says:

I'm learning to play guitar through a combination of my iPad, my iPhone, and Rocksmith on my Xbox 360. Rocksmith is AWESOME! I also got an Apogee Jam and with GarageBand on my iPhone and iPad I've got plenty of guitar amps and stomp boxes plus a recorder and all the backing instruments! Apple is really making it easy and fun!

tOm says:

easy, yes. Fun, it's always been fun

Glenn#IM says:

When it is time to plug in, garage band, amplitube, or ampkit are all great apps. I use the iRig to connect. Have fun.

Tawnya Broomhall says:

I have to say that for the last few of hours i have been hooked by the amazing articles on this site. Keep up the wonderful work.

Valentin Klee says:

I have to say that for the past couple of hours i have been hooked by the impressive posts on this blog. Keep up the great work.

Carioca32 says:

I also have been learning to play the guitar using my iPhone. Gibson´s StudioShare gives you a very good tuner for free. I also invested on an iRig and its a great companion to my guitar. Mine is an electric/acoustic, to Taylor EQ with the iRig works well. Scale Wizard and Chordmaster are also must haves if you really want to know your guitar.

Genrobe says:

Started learning to play a few songs on the piano with The Piano Guy apps, then bought a few books thru the Amazon app.

Luke says:

I've been learning to play guitar with my iPhone and iPad as well. I've really learned the fretboard notes well and triad chords with Guitar Fretboard Addict. I've been learning guitar songs with Ultimate Guitar and Guitar Pro. I like recording songs with Garageband.

mech1164 says:

Can I have the Motorcycle PLEASE!:)

charlie says:

50 Blues Licks You Must Know from Truefire is a bargain at $4.99 and Guitar Lab from them is free!

win lotto says:

Attractive part of content. I simply stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to claim that I get in fact loved account your weblog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing on your augment and even I fulfillment you access persistently fast.

Samual Slutzky says:

I read your article concerning Stephen's ministry . It was informative and accurate. I am enjoying the privilege of serving my third care-receiver and know that God has blessed me in allowing me to serve.

Velva Cinquanti says:

This web site is really a walk-through for all of the info you wanted to know but didn't know who to ask. Thanks for sharing with us!

Popup Deluxe - The Ultimate Conversion Tool says:

Thanks , I have just been looking for info approximately this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I've came upon so far. But, what about the conclusion? Are you positive concerning the source?|What i do not realize is in fact how you're no longer actually a lot more neatly-preferred than you may be now. You are so intelligent.

Jose says:

You can also check out RockProdigy,
their app is inexpensive and it hears your guitar and tells you if you are doing it right. They also build apps for The Offspring, Grateful Dead and Offspring, where they have guitar lessons and songs exactly how the bands play it.

jamey aebersold jazz says:

Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favourite justification appeared to be on the web the easiest thing to keep in mind of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while other folks consider worries that they plainly do not understand about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the entire thing with no need side effect , other folks could take a signal. Will likely be again to get more. Thanks

Samual Peck says:

Débutez et progressez sans soucis à la guitare, apprendre la guitare pros réalisés par un prof de guitare
expériementé auteur de nombreuses méthodes pour étudier la guitare.
Des cours de guitare complets et progressifs avec clips vidéos pour rendre l'aprpentissage encore plus facile et ludique.
Vous allez découvrir pas à pas les fondements du jeu à la guitare, à visualiser les différentes notes de musiques aux différents enrroits du manche de votre guitare,
vous allez également apprendre les accords majeurs et mineurs à la guitare.
Des leçons de guitare réalisés par un véritable guitariste pour les guitaristes qui veulentaprpendre sérieusement et réellement la guitare dans els meilleures conditions.
Une méthode pédagogique guitare complète ludique et terriblement efficace pour jouer rapidement vos morceaux de musique favoris, seul(e) ou en groupe.

Ronald Eversley says:

I got my first guitar 2 years ago for my birthday and haven't looked back.
I'm 39 now.