Essential FREE Tools to Learn Guitar Playing Online

Laurence John 12-05-2008

If you like to play a little guitar in between reading Make Use Of and surfing the internet then I am sure you’ve often wished for a few free tools to help you learn your guitar playing online. Unfortunately most decent guitar software and tools are either commercial or shareware.


Well luckily there is always a free alternative. This list is short, but provides you with all the essential tools and resources to learn and improve your guitar playing.

Guitar Tabs

Don’t feel bad if you can’t read music notation, 90% of guitarists can’t either regardless of fame or success. Using guitar tabs will provide you with everything you need to know to play any piece of guitar music.

Guitar Tabs Online

Power Tab Editor


Power Tab Editor is a completely free music notation creator. Tabs can also be played back using MIDI. Not only can you create your own music, but you learn songs by downloading Power Tab files created by other people.

There are a huge number of online tab websites, but in my experience only two are necessary:

Guitar Power Tab Editor

A user submission system, tabs are submitted then voted and commented on accordingly.Ultimate Guitar Chords is always my first source for tabs as the quality and quantity here is much greater then any other site.


If I cannot find a song I am looking for here then I will resort to 911 Tabs.

guitar tabs search

This is a search engine that indexes all available guitar tabs online. The reason that this isn’t my first choice when searching for tabs is that the website can be very slow and frustrating. Although a user rating and reporting system exists it is barely used so a huge proportion of indexed tabs are either dead links, duplicated content or just crap tabs.

As you download a number of tabs then you may start having trouble locating the songs you want on your own computer. Luckily the creators of Power Tab Editor thought of this and have also created Pt Librarian.


Pt Librarian will sit in your taskbar and after scanning your tab files meta data organize your collection much like music library software.

Essential FREE Tools to Learn Guitar Playing Online ptlibrarian2

Guitar Scales V2

This is a fantastic application created using Adobe AIR. This application provides you with more scales then you will ever need, tuning options, strings and even number of frets. There isn’t much more I can say about this, its simple, attractive and incredibly useful.


Guitar Scales Practice and Lessons

What do you use to practice guitar? Do you have any favourite freeware applications? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Guitar Playing Technique
    September 23, 2009 at 1:36 am

    Nice article. It’s really interesting read for me.

  2. learn guitar dvd
    April 8, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks for the info, I really like that adobe air program. We rate guitar software and dvd courses, and these are great free equivalents

  3. Guitar Course
    April 7, 2009 at 6:15 am

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. geek
    May 14, 2008 at 1:52 am

    TuxGuitar is similar to Power Tab Editor, although much simpler. It can import gp3 files which is a plus.

  5. Bill
    May 13, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned TuxGuitar

  6. Laurence
    May 13, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Your right guys.... I can't believe I didn't know that one, thanks for that.

    • Pablo
      May 13, 2008 at 9:03 am

      You're right guys... I can't believe I didn't know that one, thanks for that.

  7. Laurence
    May 13, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Thats exactly right =P

  8. horseyboy
    May 13, 2008 at 7:27 am

    top of your list should be:

    it's the best site tab/chord site i've found.

    huge selection of songs (search by artist or song title); create a free account to save collections of songs into your own online songbook (with easy printing feature); browse, cherry-pick or save entire 'public' songbooks. easily edit/correct existing songs; and it's two best features: chord transposer and autoscroll.

    absolute genius! :D

  9. horseyboy
    May 13, 2008 at 7:14 am

    the only guitar tab/chord site you will ever need:

    that should be top of the list!

    i've been using it for around 6 months now & it's genius. save collections of songs to a personal 'songbook' - don't like the chords? use the transposer to find a better set! use the autoscroll feature (with variable speed) for easier viewing/playing. edit any existing song on the site (words or chords) or submit your own.

    honestly, the single best guitar resource i've ever found. love it.

  10. Kervin Vergara
    May 12, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks, thanks, thanks... ;)