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Top 7 Guitar Tab Apps for iOS and Android

Guitar tablature is a great, easy way to learn new songs, and most of us use it. Thanks to sites like ultimate-guitar.com, guitaretab.com, and 911tabs.com, it’s easy to find a tab to nearly any song with just a few clicks.

On your phone or tablet, though, it’s a bit more difficult. It’s harder to search, the tab often doesn’t layout right, and the advertising pop-ups from the website can mess with the display.

So here’s the 7 guitar tab apps for iOS and Android guaranteed to make your life easier.

About this particular list of the best guitar tab apps:

  • Rankings are determined by Reviews, Number of Downloads, Usability, and Aesthetics.
  • App store reviews are shown for both a)  the most recent version of the app and b)  the overall history of the app.
  • This list leans covers both the iOS world and Android world.

UltimateGuitar1. Ultimate Guitar Tabs

By: Ultimate Guitarwebsite
Platform: iOS and Android
Reviews: 1,850 (4.5 stars)
Overall Reviews: 21,508 (4.5 stars)
Price: $2.99
In App Purchases: Yes (“Pro” upgrade is very popular)

The Verdict: This is the #1 guitar tab app in Apple’s app store, and in Google Play. The ultimateguitar.com website is also a super popular choice for finding tabs directly. It benefits from a huge base of users who upload, correct, and comment on tabs. A really amazing community. The app itself is well made, and comes with a variety of In App Purchase upgrades. The “Tab Pro” upgrade is the second most popular guitar tab app in the Apple Store. Interestingly, Ultimate Guitar’s app strategy allows you to either a) buy the Ultimate Guitar Tabs app and then upgrade to Pro, or b) just buy Pro to begin with. Pro features include: Scrolling playback, audio track accompaniment, tempo control, and more.

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40   Google_Play_Icon

2. SongsterrSongsterr-Guitar-Tabs

By: Guitar Tabs LLC | website
Platform: iOS and Android
Reviews: 161 (4 stars)
Overall Reviews: 2,752 (4.5 stars)
iOS Price: Free with $4.99/month In App subscription service
Android Price: $4.99, no subscription needed.

The Verdict: Similar to the Ultimate Guitar Pro upgrade, Songsterr takes guitar tab to another level. Rather than simply presenting plain tablature, Songsterr plays the tablature in tempo. The music scans across the screen while the song is played, allowing the player to play along in real time. Common requests from users are for the ability to slow the tempo, which seems an obvious need. Also has a huge selection of 500,000 tabs.  Interestingly, they note that all tabs are accurate and there’s only one version of each song (a not-so-subtle dig at the ultimate-guitar.com way of presenting lots of tab versions).  A pricy $4.99/month subscription for access to all the tab. And you need the subscription because the Free version isn’t much help, only giving access to 15-second preview clips.

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40   Google_Play_Icon

GuitarChordsAndTabs3. Guitar Chords and Tabs

By: xssembler | website
Platform: Android
Overall Reviews: 13,720 (4 stars)
Price: Free
In App Purchases: No

The Verdict: Hugely popular Android-only guitar tab app.  Provides access to 500,000+ tabs.  The app does not provide Songsterr-style scrolling as you play.  It functions more like the free version of Ultimate Guitar, providing an extensive library of tabs in an easy-to-search format.  And you can’t beat the price!

Google_Play_Icon

Achording4. Achording

By: JamonApps
Platform: iOS and Android
Reviews: 24 (4.5 stars)
Overall Reviews: 712 (4 stars)
Price: Free
In App Purchases: Yes

The Verdict: Achording is a ‘meta-search’ app, meaning it really just searches other websites and imports the data in real time to present you with access to a lot of the tabs normally available on line. Original? Not really. Effective? Yes.  A few folks mention that it needs more content, though.

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40   Google_Play_Icon

5. GuitarTabGuitarTab

by GT1 Apps | website
Platform: Android
Overall Reviews: 196 (4 stars)
Price: Free
In App Purchases: No

The Verdict: GuitarTab bills itself as a ‘tab viewer’.  It provides access to 500,00+ tabs, similar to Guitar Chords and Tabs, but also can display Guitar Pro files (if you happen to have those).  It also promises to provide a scrolling tab feature soon.

Google_Play_Icon

guitar-pro6. Guitar Pro

By: Arobas Music | website
Platform: iOS and Android
Reviews: 8 (4.5 stars)
Overall Reviews: 1,069 (4 stars)
Price: $7.99
In App Purchases: Yes

The Verdict: Guitar Pro is a well-designed tab learning app, similar to Songsterr. Tab is played in real time, moving across the screen in sync with music. Traditional notation is also shown, which is a unique feature in this list.  Downsides? A bit pricy, although it’s much less pricy than subscription-based Songsterr.  They also don’t indicate the size of their catalog, which makes me wonder.

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40   Google_Play_Icon

Tabfinder7. Tabfinder – Guitar Tabs and Chords

By: PDM Systems | website (is gone, not a good sign)
Platform: iOS
Reviews: 777 (4.5 stars)
Overall Reviews: 1,100 (4.5 stars)
Price: Free
In App Purchases: Yes

The Verdict: Similar to Achording.  Tabfinder searches the existing tab databases on the webs and aggregates the findings.  Despite being popular and well ranked, there’s a two reasons to worry here:  the app hasn’t been updated since Dec 13, 2013.  That means it hasn’t kept up with the recent iOS update.  The other reason is that the companies website domain is for sale.  That’s never a good sign.

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40   

 

How’s your experience with these guitar tab apps? Do you have one to add?

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  • Nitarsh

    Hi, Nice list, but seems outdated. Like for example Songsterr has gone to a one time purchase model since then. Could you please update it?

    • Taylor Smith

      Has it? On the iTunes Store, it’s still 5/month. Can you give us a link?

      • Nitarsh

        I meant on Google play.

        • guitarjournal

          Hey Nitarsh, thanks good point! Songsterr entry is updated.

  • Christophe Damour

    Hi, yes Nitarsh, this list is a bit outdated. There isn’t even Jellynote in it, even though, IMO, it is the best currently. Largest catalogue, practice mode and learning mode that makes you feel like you’re playing Guitar Hero while learning a real instrument, offline songbooks and synchronized videos. All of that for 9,99$ per month. There is even a free version with everything that you need to play the music (btw the catalogue is free too!), like metronome and tuner.

    And if you don’t want to include this App Taylor Smith, then you can just test it here : https://goo.gl/pDqof1

  • piepol

    Hi, great article! Here´s another great app with a totally new approach to master scales and jamming, name MusiClock http://mymusiclock.com

    MusiClock is a huge help for beginner musicians and guitarists who struggle with music theory, scales and soloing. The app has various backing tracks and scale charts from every fret and key, it really makes avoiding bum notes dead easy!

  • Khubaib Khan

    Guys,

    Check out this amazing app “Trendstoday”

    Please check and provide review on appstore.

    Appreciate your help here.

    http://trendstoday.co/

    day

    iOS:

    https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/trendstoday/id955246281?mt=8

  • Hey great article. Another great app that’s totally free is http://keeping-tabs.io . It allows guitar players to track their progress, setup and track goals/progress over time as well as use onscreen tools to run through practice sessions. I would love to hear your review of it if you get a chance to check it out!

  • Benson Wallace

    Hey guys,

    Anyone out there got any experience in using the first 3 apps for hands-free gigging? Songsterr looks perfect – I hate having to vet different tab versions for wrong chords, and I like that the artists get paid when you buy it – but they don’t have a transpose feature. And that’s a huge hole. Anyone know if they plan to add one?

    Otherwise it’s down to Ultimate Guitar Tabs vs Guitar Chords and Tabs. I’m dubious about whether UGT will be worth the money when I have to vet different versions for mistakes anyway. If it can’t do that for me, what CAN it do that Guitar Chords and Tabs can’t do for free?

    I just had a look at Guitar Chords and Tabs on an Android Tablet – it has basic autoscroll with adjustable speed (at any zoom level and in portrait or landscape mode), one-touch transpose, and offline access to favourited tabs (and it will even remember the zoom level, transposition and autoscroll speed settings you had). For $1.96 you then get no ads, syncing between multiple devices, the ability to categorise, sort and search favourites, and the ability to create notes on each song (like “put capo on 4th fret”, or “play Bm instead of D”). And a feature listed as “ability to stop auto scrolling when not playing” – anyone know what that means?

    Anyway, I think we have a winner – unless anyone out there has any bad experiences to report when using it for gigs?

    Benson

  • Thomas Lebegue

    Hey,
    You should also check out Jellynote (https://www.jellynote.com/fr/android-iphone-sheet-music-tabs)
    We have over 300k+ tabs and it’s free and legit (we have a deal with most labels).

    Thanks !

  • Guitar Gravitas

    Hi,

    Just wanted to let you know we just released a very cool app for guitar players of all levels. It is called Guitar Gravitas (http://www.guitargravitas.com). The current version supports iPad and the universal version with iPhone support is coming soon with an update.

    You can check it here: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1171417699

    We have published also a bunch of videos on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQYyJ_4SnoYUFp2wb3St35w

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