June 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Free iPhone Guitar Teacher Helps Write Songs for $4

chord bank iphone app chord chart reviewMost guitar books contain the same information, which doesn’t stop dedicated guitarists from owning half a dozen books on chord fingerings.

The iTunes app store’s selection of apps covering the same ground in an interactive format rivals some libraries.

Thankfully, the frugal music student needn’t break the bank on most of these apps, because some exceptional chord indexes are available for free, like Walksoft ChordBank.

We scanned the app store for the best free chord guide based on interface, accuracy and completeness of information, and the least number of annoying ads, and think we have found the key to chordal bliss in ChordBank, which features 2100-plus chords in over 20 categories.

ChordBank has a clean interface, an easy-to-use fret selector and nice playback options, but more importantly for some: Did we mention it’s free?

As with other apps, you get chord shapes on an animated fretboard with fingering on numbered frets. ChordBank leaps ahead of the freebie pack its fretboard position selector, which lets budding guitarists view all possible permutations of a given chord, all the way up the fretboard. When you want to hear what a chord sounds like, ChordBank can pluck the individual strings or strum the complete chord.

ChordBank Pro ($4) includes a left-handed version and the intriguing Smart Chords feature, which offers compositional suggestions for the selected chord “based on proven progressions that have driven hit songs for decades.” It’s like having a songwriting coach sitting right there with you.

As a free chord index, ChordBank does everything we could ask of it. Left-handed users, students seeking more complete information, and those trying to write the next big pop song based on those “proven progressions” will benefit from an upgrade to Pro.


  • Over 2,100 chords
  • Choose from 21 qualities for each chord.
  • It’s informed by music theory:
    • Follows enharmonic rules with regards to sharps and flats
    • Smart Chords feature for help with songwriting (Pro version only)
    • Roman numeral analysis (Pro version only)

ChordBank is free, while ChordBankPro costs $4 in the iTunes app store. They’re compatible with iOS 4.0 or later (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad).