While there are quite a few apps in the app store that claim to offer a complete and thorough experience for guitarists, if you look closer then it becomes obvious that there are few that truly deliver a true all-in-one service that is designed well and sports pretty much everything that a guitarist will need at their fingertips. You’ll find a huge variety of free and paid-for guitar tuners like ProTuner Lite and apps like Tiny Guitar that offer pseudo-simulations of playing guitar, but truly useful apps are much rarer. Developer Agile Partners are responsible for one of these rarities in the form of GuitarToolkit, a paid-for app that works its very hardest to ensure that it is worth every single pound or dollar spent on downloading it. While having to pay for apps often put people off even considering them, one that is as well-designed and feature-filled as this deserves recognition as perhaps the best app that a guitarist can own.
The design of the app will be the first feature to hit you square in the face: it is slick, it is polished, and it is as intuitive as you could possibly hope for. Navigation is facilitated by the sections on the bottom of the screen that denote the individual features of the app, with this section at the bottom taking up minimal space in order to utilise the rest of the space on screen for the all-important tools that this app has to offer.
As you would expect from such an app, the main feature it boasts is a tuner, which can be cycled through different modes including a basic tuner and a chromatic version, which is obviously the best to ensure that you’re tuning up or down to the precise notes required. The tuner is easily superior to even the dedicated tuner apps on the app store as it has a remarkably high degree of accuracy as well as a variety of visual clues to provide dynamic feedback to the guitarist when tuning including a needle display and also an LED indicator. There’s no way that this tuner is going to allow for even the slightest tuning error due to its accuracy and ease of use.
If you pull up the ‘Scales’ section, you’re greeted with a database of every single scale in existence that you can view and practise to your heart’s content. Since scales should always be the basis of one’s guitar skills, this feature is extremely important and just as useful in the long run as the app’s tuner. The virtual fretboard display leaves no room for errors in judgement or explanation as it shows you the exact position of each note of whichever scale you have selected. Pentatonic, Mixolydian, minor, major, you name it and this app has the scale right there for ease of learning. The app can also drill down a level and display the various notes that are harmonious with the scale you’ve chosen, making the scale section even more applicable to your song-writing and live performance. If you’re more of a rhythm guitarist, you can also use the chords section to display every chord imaginable.
A metronome section makes an obligatory appearance of course, even if there aren’t a huge number of players out there that will make use of it apart from maybe to hone in your skills for rhythm-requiring games like the flash game Guitar Geek. The metronome can be an incredible tool if you’re trying to perfect timings however and also develops your ability to stay in time with yourself, which is particularly useful if you’re performing in a band. The metronome allows you to choose your tempo and has a chunky display that allows for ease of use. The sound of the click can also be changed so that you’re not restricted to the usual metronome ticking that can drive many up the wall. Bear in mind that this metronome is easily as good as the metronome-only apps out there such as Pro Metronome.
The brilliance of the app isn’t restricted to just guitar players either, since you’ll find a huge variety of instrument options in the settings section that allow you to use all of the aforementioned features but with any stringed instrument of your choice as well as for left-handed players. It isn’t surprising that the app costs £6.99/$9.99 given the sheer quantity of instruments it can be used for as well as the comprehensive nature of each of the tools it offers the guitar player. Agile Partners’ GuitarToolkit provides more than enough features and tools to justify its price tag and should form an essential part of any guitar player’s app repertoire.