Parent article: Best Guitar Lesson Apps
Uberchord is fun, good for helping you focus, and has value as a practice aid/chord reference. However, at this point in its development, we wouldn't consider the app a full guitar lesson resource without a significant price cut or infusion of more content.
The Uberchord app is both a guitar lesson resource and a chord-learning tool. In this Uberchord review, we're going to look at the interior of the app, what's free, what you pay for, and how good the app is at teaching you guitar and teaching you chords.
How Uberchord Works
Uberchord is part of a growing family of guitar learning apps that works by providing you real-time feedback through analyzing your guitar playing. This means that as you play, the app analyzes the sound and tells you how accurate you are. This technology tends to work extremely well, both with chords and single notes.
As a result, this type of app is particularly effective for the following disciplines:
- Motivating you to practice
- Helping you work on patterns you wouldn't normally focus on
- Improving accuracy
- Improving speed
Some other guitar lesson programs that have implemented a similar method of teaching includes the following:
We've spent some time using and analyzing the Uberchord app to see how it stacks up against these other options. For a quick look, refer to the comparison chart below:
Compare Our Uberchord Rating to Other Guitar Learning Resources
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1. Content Quantity
2. EDU Quality
2. Topical Order
3. Topic Coverage
4. Song Section
7. App Interface
8. Site Design/Navigation
You can watch the review, which is basically just a walk-through of this article with a short summary of each section.
Setup and Basics
Let's start by walking through some of the basics of starting and setting up the app. When you boot up Uberchord, you'll be greeted by the following splash screens:
The app will ask you to make an account, which you can do with a pseudo name and email, if you don't want to give your actual email. I don't think this company sells data, but I personally don't like giving real information for something like this if I can avoid it. If you want to setup a fake name and email that will let you create an Uberchord account, I'd recommend using MySudo.
Enter the first name, email, and create a password to get started:
Once you do that the app will ask for access to your microphone and then will do a test "listen" for your guitar. The simplest way to start is with an acoustic guitar and the phone on a desk in front of you. I used my Taylor 114ce acoustic sitting on my lap, with my phone - an iPhone 11 - sitting on the desk in front of me. With this setup the microphone seemed to pick everything up fine.
I also tried it with both the guitar and the phone on my lap. This was less functional because the phone kept falling, and didn't seem necessary anyway, given how well it picked up sound sitting on my desk.
While you can plug in an electric guitar to your iPhone, this isn't something I tested out. Yet, I would assume it works fine, given how well the microphone was able to handle my acoustic guitar's open air sound.
Either way, run through the microphone test to complete the setup.
Once setup is finished, you'll have several different categories of content, some of which are free while others are part of the premium content. This premium content can be accessed with a paid monthly membership (more on the pricing later).
Here are the four menu you options you'll see at the bottom of the Uberchord app:
To get started, the app might have you tune up using their tuner. Using the tuner is convenient, though it did seem to fluctuate a little too much and have trouble deciding between the pitch being too flat or too sharp. A couple of times I wasn't sure if I should tune down or up because of the fluctuations.
Since the tuner is free to use (among other things) that makes a nice segway into our next topic: What does Uberchord give you free of charge?
Want more free lessons? Checkout our round up the best free guitar resources on the internet.
The Free Content
Setting up a profile and using the tuner is always free. The chord library - which we'll take a closer look at next - is also completely free and usable from the first time you open the app.
The Chord Database
Uberchord is a combination of real-time feedback guitar courses and a chord database. The app is worth downloading for the chord reference alone, which includes seemingly every chord you could imagine.
To use the chord database, you simply select the chords menu option, which brings up a search bar and a "chords keyboard" that makes it really easy to search for any type of chord.
For example, in the following screenshot I searched for an A chord then hit the "dim" button for diminished:
If I select the Am7 with a flatted fifth, I get the following chord diagram:
For any chord you select you can also browse a list of chord variations - including root positions and multiple chord inversions - at different root positions. Take the Gm7 chord diagrams pictured below:
Again, simply select the chord you want to view to narrow in on it, like we do with the Gm7 at the 10th fret position in the following screenshot:
Even by itself, this chord reference has a lot of value. It's one of the fastest and easiest to use chord databases we've ever used, which makes us immediately more appreciative of the paid side of this application.
Paid (Premium) Content
There are two remaining items in the Uberchord menu bar that haven't been covered:
Both of these sections of the app are technically paid, though the "Courses" tab allows you to use the first course free, which we used to test the app. Likewise, the "Songs" section gives you access to a simplified version of "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica. This is enough for us to test the app and get a feel for how effective it is.
Lessons and Courses
The courses are focused heavily on teaching chords and rhythm, primarily in a beginner's context. In the first course you'll focus on chord changes and accuracy, where you'll learn two chords - going note by note - then practice jumping back and forth between those two chords while the app measures your accuracy.
For example, the progression I spent the most time with was Em and G/D. As I played through the chords, the moving line will show green for accurate, and red if I miss the chord or don't play it right.
On a handful of occasions I purposefully botched the chords to see if the app could pick it up. Every time I did, Uberchord seemed to know that I had missed something and adjusted my score accordingly.
If I went through the process without making any mistakes, I'm given an accuracy score of 100 percent.
I found this accuracy score to be extremely specific and surprisingly accurate. While I suppose you could have the app spit out any number, the percentages I was given - while throwing different levels of "correctness" at the app - always seemed to feel about right.
It sounded like the algorithm, and the technology listening to my guitar, could actually pick out the pitch and timing of each note, even when I was playing full chords.
Once you've gotten a good accuracy score for the chords you're learning, the app will funnel you into playing alongside a metronome or a background drum beat, which I'm a huge fan of. It's not at all fast, but definitely challenges you to stay accurate and begins to grade you, not just on note accuracy, but on timing as well.
These patterns will often continue for several minutes, which can start to wear on your attention span. However, the educational strategy isn't bad: Repetition focused on timing and accuracy. As you use the app and play along with the kick track, you can feel - and see - your accuracy improving as you go along.
If you mess up a chord - miss several notes or miss the chord entirely - the app will stop, work on the chord with you, and then go back to the progression sequence.
For some of these sequences, you might even be playing the same chord in multiple successions.
Once you've gotten through the chord progressions with the backing track, you can go onto an applied scenario with a song. In the example option (the free course) you'll use the chords you've learned to play the rhythm track for "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica.
This is a nice structure for Uberchord because it follows the line of introducing a concept, understanding a pattern, then applying that pattern in a musical context. However, a weak spot of this method is that there is little in the way of explanation or delving into concepts with any depth. In the early stages, the app is limited to teaching you chords and isn't necessarily a full guitar lesson solution.
When there is a video-style explanation, it's a YouTube embed that seems a bit "cookie cutter" and without a lot of personality.
This is partly how they handle the section on strumming.
First, we have the interactive section:
And then the live video:
The video element is Uberchord's way of integrating a more traditional aspect of education into their app, but it's information you could easily find elsewhere. Uberchord's platform is not something we'd recommend for an in-depth, conceptual look at the guitar. Instead, it's an effective tool for memorizing and applying chords, just not necessarily understanding the "why" of what's happening on the fretboard.
These applications are primarily designed to provide feedback and not necessarily to instruct.
While this is a weakness of programs like Uberchord and Yousician, it's important to keep in mind that these applications are primarily designed to provide feedback and not necessarily to instruct.
As a result, it's worth looking a little closer at how well that feedback segment works, since it's the primary reason you would use or even pay for an app like Uberchord.
How well does the microphone system work?
As I mentioned, we did not test Uberchord with an electric guitar connection, partly because the microphone and the acoustic guitar arrangement worked so well. We have no reason to believe a direct line into your phone would be any different (it should be better).
But the simple microphone-based experience was smooth and consistent.
At no point did I feel like the app was missing anything or unfairly grading my timing. This is something we consistently see with similar apps. Both Yousician and Amped are extremely sensitive to the pitch and timing of your guitar playing, while somehow managing to effectively "weed out" ambient and white noise around you.
When you buy an app like this, you're paying for that technology.
Is the technology the same for all guitar feedback apps?
This is a great question, and to be honest I don't know the answer for sure.
I've talked with some of the guys from Uberchord and Amped and have gotten the impression that they've built their systems from the ground up. There are a lot of open source signal processing tools available that go far beyond my comprehension, though I would assume that these companies are building their applications and writing their own algorithms from a similar type of processing tool.
To be fair to Yousician, they were one of the first companies to come out with this type of feedback system, following in the loosely-structured steps of Guitar Hero and Rocksmith.
It's also a fair assumption that Uberchord and Amped have put their own spin on it and made it better.
User Interface and Experience
Another strength of Uberchord is their application design, which is extremely sleek, modern, fast, and easy to use. The only complaint is the integration of the YouTube video embeds, which feels cheap and out of place. However, the chord and course content is all intuitive and does a good job of holding your attention. We're also really digging the dark navy and orange design.
Auburn football fans might like it.
Value of the Premium Content
To be transparent, we did not buy the monthly plan, partly because Uberchord gives you so much content for free, allowing you to get a feel for the effectiveness and functionality of the app. They also give you a 7-day free trial which we took advantage of.
The paid program gives you access to additional courses and the licensed song lessons, for a decently low price.
Cost of Premium
Uberchord's Premium plan is $10 per month if you pay yearly or $14.99 if you go by the month without a commitment. This gets you roughly 16 additional courses with somewhere between 20 and 35 exercises per course. I don't love this value because it isn't a ton of content compared to programs like Guitar Tricks and JamPlay.
The song lessons section is also a bit limited compared to competitors, with only around 100 songs that they've added, leading up to 2021.
You get a good variety, but the selection still feels a bit limited.
At $14.99 it's just not enough substance to be worth the investment. While the yearly signup feels like a better monthly rate, it locks you in for longer than you're likely to really use the app. We do like the concept, but would consider Uberchord - and similar apps - more practice aids than full-time guitar lesson programs.
Thus, to really give it a good value score, they would have to bring the price down significantly, more in line with what Ultimate Guitar Pro is charging.
If you could get it in the $3 to $5 a month range, it's a fantastic practice tool and motivator.
We'd recommend the free download to at least explore the app and use the chord database, even if you don't buy a premium plan.
Uberchord does a lot of things right, and wins in some categories that Yousician completely misses. Most evidently, Uberchord's price is better and they don't have a second pay wall for licensed songs.
Yet, the lack of volume and limited selection of material hurts the value and the ability of Uberchord to be a "full tilt" guitar lesson solution.
We love the chord database and the courses as a practice aid and will keep an eye on the program for future updates and/or price changes.
Your Questions and Comments
If you have questions about the Uberchord app or our audit process for guitar lesson programs, feel free to drop a note in the comments section below and we'll chat.