BreakingModern — Like every red-blooded teenage kid from Middle America in the ’70s, I wanted to learn how to play the guitar, get the girls and be a rock star. So my mother, caught in a nurturing mood, bought me a $27 acoustic guitar from Service Merchandise along with two books that promised to teach me how to play. One was even endorsed by Chet Atkins. The first song on the agenda was that infamous rock and roll classic: “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”
Perhaps if I had the Guitar+ app, and a lot more musical talent, I may have been inspired to pursue my dream of sex, drugs and rock and roll. At the very least, I would have learned a few songs that were actually fun to play. Luckily for all you aspiring guitarists, Guitar+ for Android is available, for free, on Google Play.
Better Learn to Play Guitar
Unlike my instructional books, Guitar+ provides you with a large variety of songs you can learn to play. The available songs range from the obligatory “Greensleeves” to the ultimate guitar anthem “Stairway to Heaven.” There are classical pieces, popular songs and everything in between. Some of the songs are simple, some are complicated but just about all are much-more interesting to play than “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”
Guitar+ shows you where to place your fingers on the guitar neck for each note or chord of the song you are learning. You can go to the settings menu and change the speed at which the song plays — slow as you learn, and progressively faster as you master the tune.
Once the song notes are mastered, you can go to the Chord section of Guitar+ to learn the chords of a song. The app will even teach you various common finger patterns used in advanced playing. In the Sing a Song section of the app, you are given the lyrics to songs so you can play guitar and sing at the same time — like a real rock star.
Each song can be taught using the sound of one of three guitar types: acoustic, classical or electric. Now, the rocker in you is probably going to gravitate toward electric, but I think the emulated reverb setting is a little too high for my tastes and would recommend sticking with the acoustic style. The notes are the same no matter which guitar you choose.
The Rock Star in all of Us
There are a few caveats to keep in mind with Guitar+. As with most free Android apps, Guitar+ is ads supported. The advertisements are displayed when you change settings or choose a song from the playlist, which I think is a very-workable compromise. No ads interfere with your learning of a song once it is chosen.
The other caveat I learned is it doesn’t matter which song you are trying to play — when you are teaching yourself how to play a guitar the learning process for most people requires persistence and practice, practice, practice. And then more practice.
Guitar+, by itself, is not going to turn you into Eric Clapton. That kind of talent comes from within. However, Guitar+ may spark the rock and roll spirit inside of you, so it’s worth a free download for that reason alone.
All screenshots: Mark W. Kaelin