Review: Guitar Suite for iOS – A Guitarist’s New Best Friend

Rating: 4.5/5

Posted in Apps, iOS, Reviews on 16/08/2012 by Ian Fuchs

0

The rise of games like “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” has inspired a generation of young musicians to pick up a guitar and learn to play. Many guitarists start by learning a few basic chords or their favorite tune – but when you want to get serious, self-teaching can get challenging.

To alleviate some of the difficulty in figuring out every chord progression, every note, and every scale, many aspiring musicians turn to lessons or guides. With Guitar Suite for iOS, self-teaching takes on a whole new meaning.

 

Overview

Guitar Suite for iPhone and iPad is a powerful guitarist reference guide, capable of teaching any guitarist the structure of playing. Featuring a library of over 25,000 chords (imagine memorizing all of those), 50 scales, 19 guitar tunings (including bass guitar, ukulele, 5-string banjo, and 4-string lutes), a precision tuner, and metronome with variable tempo and meter, Guitar Suite is packed with everything a learning musician could need.

Guitar Suite’s user interface is simple and straight-forward. The menu is broken down into six main options – chords, tuner, metronome, play, scales, and tun by ear. Each menu item loads a digital guitar neck, tuner, or metronome to give the user a true visualization of what they are doing.

The chords screen is the easiest way to look up a tricky chord – no matter the tuning. Choosing your root, chord, inversion, and tuning is done through four simple options across the top of the screen. After selecting your desired chord, the chords finger position is displayed on the screen, as well as the ability to strum across the strings to hear the chord played out – an excellent tool for referencing your playing to the app.

The apps built-in tuner is a great tool for guitarists of any experience level. The app accepts iRig and other instrument interfaces, allowing you to plug your guitar directly to your iDevice and receive precise chromatic (all notes, not just the traditional six) tuning of each string.

 

The metronome in Guitar Suite is solid, as well, especially for beginners. The ability to choose metronome sounds, tempo (by manually selecting or tapping), and metre is done very well. The metronome even features a silent mode, which can be very handy when you want to keep the click-track out of your performance, but need to stay in time. The absence of 1/8th notes, 1/16th notes, triplets, and swing metre are the biggest downfall of the metronome.

The play option is great for guitarists who are looking for the right notes, but aren’t sure how to execute it on a full-sized instrument. Load the virtual guitar neck, drop finger marks on the strings, and strum away. This is also a great way to work with another guitarist. If you’re playing with dissonance and are having a hard time communicating what the finger positioning looks like, you can set up the positioning and let your friend(s) use the on-screen guitar as a reference.

Scales in Guitar Suite are simple and intuitive – a must for beginners. Much like the chord screen, you choose your root, your scale (major, minor, etc.), and your tuning, and all the “in-key” notes are displayed on your screen. The scales feature can be an invaluable asset in creating tasty solos or song writing.

Guitar Suite’s tune by ear feature is helpful for quick tuning. Choose your guitar’s (or other stringed instrument’s) tuning option – standard, drop D, etc. – and pluck each string to hear the tuning of the note. During a practice session, this can save you loads of time compared to the chromatic tuner.

Verdict [rating: 4.5]

Guitar Suite and Guitar Suite HD are one of the best comprehensive guitarist reference apps available for iOS devices. The range of capabilities within the this one app combine the feature of what would typically be several apps, saving you time, money, and storage space. Beginners and experts alike can find useful tools and functionality within the Guitar Suite application. As for the price-tag, you’d be hard pressed to find anything this rich in functionality and simplicity for under $3.00 – and that makes Guitar Suite totally worth it.

Pros:

  • Chromatic tuner
  • Extensive tuning guide
  • Vast array of chords, scales, and instrumentation
  • Price

Cons:

  • Lack of advanced metronome function (1/8, 1/16, triplet, swing)

Guitarists of all ages and skill levels can find something to love in Guitar Suite ($2.99 in the App Store) and Guitar Suite HD ($2.99 in the App Store).


Author

Ian Fuchs

Ian, Senior Review Editor at MacTrast, has been an Apple enthusiast for years, starting in 2000 with an iMac and iMovie. In college, Ian developed skills and further interest in all things Apple. Ian's expanding skill set increased his love for Apple's products. Now the owner of an iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPhone 6S Plus, Apple TV, MacBook, MacBook Pro, numerous iPods, and a classic G5 Mac Pro, he is "pretty familiar" with Apple's products. Ian resides in Chicago, works as a Programmer & Systems Analyst at a college, loves his dog more than probably normal, spends most of his free time with his wife and plays various instruments (drums, guitar, piano, trumpet).