November App of the Month for Musicians

modern cell phonePocketGuitar

Price: $0.99

Compatible with: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Operating system required: iOS 4.3 or later. Optimized for iPhone 5.

If you hold your iPhone horizontally in your hand, you’ll notice the screen is approximately the width of a guitar fretboard. Naturally, someone decided to come up with an app that turns your iPhone screen into a fretboard with virtual strings. Pocketguitar is inexpensive, versatile and fun. You can “pick” notes and play whole chords. It offers a nice way to practice and work on riffs, solos and songs late at night in your bedroom or hotel room without disturbing anyone. You can plug the headphones in and practice in the back of tour van while the rest of your bandmates are playing video games. Pull it out on a cross country flight to help pass the time when you’re stuck in the middle seat in coach. Any place you can’t normally take or play a real guitar, PocketGuitar makes for a worthy virtual substitute.


The app turns the entire iPhone screen into a guitar fretboard with strings. You press on the strings with your fingertips to make notes and strum chords, however, you can’t press a barre by laying a single finger all the way across the fretboard like a real guitar due to hardware limitations. But there is a workaround to this limitation by dragging your finger horizontally to the fret. PocketGutiar lets you choose the sound from six different stringed instruments: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, classical guitar, muted guitar, electric bass and even a ukulele. As far as effects, you can experiment with distortion, chorus, delay and wah sounds. There’s also a control panel that lets you edit the effects parameters and choose from a list of alternate tunings to play in. The latest 1.4 version contains bug fixes to earlier versions.


PocketGuitar gets high marks across the board for it’s simplicity that makes it easy for first-timers to use, as well as effects and the bug fixes to the newest version. The website ranks PocketGuitar No. 1 in its article “17 Best iPhone Apps for Musicians.” A reviewer for praised PocketGuitar for “a plethora of options and customizability [is that a word?] that wouldn’t be out of place on a $5 or $10 app.” And Guitar World magazine listed the app in its article “Top 15 Guitar Apps,” noting that “there are loads of apps on the market that turn your mobile handheld into a virtual guitar, but few are as easy to use as PocketGuitar.”

Do you really need any more convincing? If you’re a guitarist, bassist or, um, ukelele-ist, you might wanna check out PocketGuitar.


Leave a Reply