The app stores are filled with guitar apps: chord dictionaries, guitar simulators, instrument controllers, and other guitar player-oriented utilities. But few combine the features of GuitarCapo+ for iPhone, which will release version 2.5 on Thursday (March 13).
GuitarCapo+ 2.5 for iPhone from TonApp AS is a chord library, Audiobus-compatible virtual instrument, and capo tool that makes it possible to not only find, learn, and listen to chords, but to play them back on the virtual strings, and even change keys with a slide of the virtual capo. For guitar players who are new to how a capo works and want a handy tool for finding the right placement, this is a powerful core feature of the app.
GuitarCapo+ is aesthetically pleasing, blending into the flat design landscape while also somehow rising above it. It is quick and responsive, with no noticeable lag between functions. And the tutorial that appears upon first launch (which can also be accessed later by tapping a link in the main screen) is a welcome addition to this update. The recorded sounds (for the strings and new effects feature) are great quality, though I found the distortion a little heavy-handed (this is pretty common in virtual guitar apps when attempting to create a singular effect, so I don’t intend this as a harsh critique). I likely wouldn’t use the effects much if selecting this app for its utility; they’re more for those using the virtual instrument capability, but the effects panel is very configurable and I’m sure dedicated iPhone musicians will dial in just the right tone. The strings of the virtual guitar react as well or even better than some of the best virtual guitar apps I’ve used, and further demonstrate the quality of the programming.
The chord chart is very comprehensive, and the ability to hear the chord played with just a tap is a great way to audibly match your playing with the example. I do wish the chord charts were a bit less sensitive; I often activated the audio inadvertently while trying to scroll. Having my volume up, it was a bit jarring. It also took a little time to get used to the note names on the left, but the flat and sharp symbols on the right. But with use, it turned out to be a good two-thumbed workflow. I’d love to see a way to select numbers and other endings (sus, maj, etc.) for faster navigation to chord variations, but with the limited screen real estate, this might negatively impact usability.
I didn’t encounter any bugs in my tests. But if any arise, the developer is enthusiastic and responsive, which makes me confident that fixes would come quickly, and I’m sure even more features are in the works to enrich the app.
Whether you’re just overwhelmed with all the guitar apps out there, or you’re a seasoned app vet looking not only to consolidate features but add a few new ones as well, GuitarCapo+ 2.5 for iPhone is an excellent choice for beginning to intermediate guitar players (for its chord and capo features), and for all levels of iPhone (virtual) guitarists. Version 2 is currently available in the App Store, and you’ll be able to update to 2.5 later this week. A free version is also available for a test drive, with the option to upgrade via in-app purchase. GuitarCapo+ is highly recommended by All About Capos for all its features (but we’re certainly partial to the capo feature!).
Buy GuitarCapo+ for iPhone in the App Store (currently $1.99).
Disclosure: I received an advance copy of version 2.5 of the app for review. It did not influence my expressed opinion or recommendations. I tested the app on iPhone 5 running iOS 7.1.