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Music Production

Ultimate Guitar: A Complete Review

Photograph of the blog post author, Richard Gilbert-Cross

Richard Gilbert-Cross


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If you’re an aspiring musician looking to take your music to the next level, the Ultimate Guitar online platform is the perfect place to start. With its vast array of features, Ultimate Guitar provides an easy-to-use platform for guitarists, bassists, and other instrumentalists to connect with other musicians, share their music, and find the tools to help them improve their skills.

Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, Ultimate Guitar has something for everyone. From interactive tutorials and lessons to forums and competitions, the platform has it all. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the features that make Ultimate Guitar such a useful platform for musicians.

What is Ultimate Guitar?

Utlimate Guita Tabs

Ultimate Guitar is an online platform which provides resources, tools and services related to playing the guitar. A key component of the website is a comprehensive database of guitar tabs, chords and lyrics for an extensive selection of songs. 

Ultimate Guitar (UG) has the distinction of being the world’s largest provider of guitar, bass and ukulele tablature (tabs) catalogues and chord sheets. UG is aimed at guitarists and musicians of all expertise levels. 

The website originally emerged in the late 1990s as one of the pioneers in online tablatures for popular songs. However, the platform has evolved to offer a wide range of resources, tools and services associated with playing the guitar.

In addition to a database of popular songs to learn and play, Ultimate Guitar features user-generated content, including reviews, articles and forums, providing a platform for guitar enthusiasts to exchange knowledge and experiences.

Nowadays, Ultimate Guitar has expanded its services to offer mobile apps, which include a tuner, metronome and chord library, in addition to a subscription-based service, Guitar Pro, that enables users to create and edit guitar tablature and sheet music

To this day, Ultimate Guitar remains the leading comprehensive resource for guitar players, providing them with a wealth of information and tools to improve their playing and widen their musical horizons.

UG has garnered 11 million registered users worldwide, earning the platform a rank among the top 500 most popular websites in the US. The website is also stylized as or simply UG. 

Ultimate Guitar was originally based in Kaliningrad, Russia, in close proximity to the Lithuanian and Polish borders. However, the website is now headquartered in San Francisco, California.

How was Ultimate Guitar founded?

Ultimate Guitar Dash in 2010

Ultimate Guitar was founded in 1998 and has since become one of the largest online communities of guitar players, with more than 20 million monthly visitors worldwide. 

The website was created by schoolboy Evgeny Naidenov, originally for the novelty of creating a website. Once Evgeny had decided on the format, he posted some Guns ‘n’ Roses tabs on the website and found that its popularity grew overnight. The website, published exclusively in Russian, was originally called Zappp’s Guitar Archive, however, soon after the website was translated into English and renamed Ultimate Guitar.

By the mid-2000s, despite earlier copyright warnings, Ultimate Guitar managed to license guitar tabs so that they could legally be published on the website. The website then became a vital hub for guitar players and musicians. 

Although the website was unique when originally released, Evgeny has faced a battle to keep the website relevant with ever-changing technology.

In addition to its extensive library of Ultimate Guitar chords and tabs, the website also features news, reviews, lessons, and forums for discussion among guitar enthusiasts. The website also has an Ultimate Guitar app for both iOS and Android devices, allowing users to access their guitar tabs and chords on the go.

How does UG work?

Guitarist practising in a bedroom

The process of using Ultimate Guitar starts with searching for a song. Users can enter keywords, artist names, or song titles into the search bar, and then browse through the results to find the desired tab or chord chart. The website features a powerful search engine that can help users find tabs and chords quickly and easily.

Once a user has found a tab or guitar chord chart, they can view it online or print it out for offline use. The site also features a rating system, which allows users to rate the accuracy of tabs and chords, and leave comments or corrections for others to see. This helps ensure the quality of the content on the site and provides valuable feedback to the community.

In addition to its extensive library of tabs and chords, Ultimate Guitar offers tools and resources for guitarists including a tuner, metronome, and chord library, as well as lessons and articles on guitar technique, theory, and music news.

The site also has a community forum where users can discuss music-related topics and connect with other guitar players from around the world. This forum is a great place to ask questions, share tips and tricks, and get feedback on your playing.

The website is free to use with no obligation to pay. However, Ultimate Guitar does offer a premium subscription service, which provides users with access to additional features such as exclusive tabs, chord diagrams, and lessons. The premium service also removes ads from the site and provides offline access to tabs and chords through the mobile app. 

What are the features of Ultimate Guitar?

Ultimate Guitar Logo

The features of Ultimate Guitar are different for both the free and paid Pro versions. You can also use the website or app for courses and a forum where you can talk with other users about all things related to songwriting and the guitar.

Free version

The free version of Ultimate Guitar allows users to search for and view tabs and chords for popular songs. This is the primary use of the website and allows users to view as many songs as they wish.

Ultimate Guitar applies no pressure to users who do not wish to sign up. Tabs and chords are not full of ads encouraging users to sign up for the paid version. Whilst free users are restricted from the paid features, this does not harm the overall user function.

Paid version

Ultimate Guitar offers a premium subscription service called Ultimate Guitar Pro, which provides users with access to additional features such as exclusive tabs, chord diagrams, and lessons. The premium service also removes ads from the site and provides offline access to tabs and chords through the mobile app.

If you do wish to sign up for the paid Pro version, however, there are plenty of features available to use. These are perfect for budding guitar players or current guitar players wishing to develop their skills.

The paid Pro version allows you to jam along to backing tracks for selected songs, as well as enjoy tab playback, where you can hear how the song is supposed to sound while learning it. The paid version also allows you to hear multiple parts of a song at the same time so that you can learn how to play every instrument part of the song. 

You have control of the tempo, where you can practise and play songs at a comfortable pace. The virtual fretboard feature offers easy-to-follow chord progressions and finger placement, while you can also have fun jamming with multitrack backing tracks.


You can use the many courses available on the Ultimate Guitar app or website. Once you’ve selected your instrument and level of ability, you can choose your desired course. Guitar courses offered include Guitar Techniques and Skills, Chords and Progressions, Advanced, Scales and Modes, Solo and Improvisation, Songwriting and Blues.

Many courses are available for different instruments and abilities. For instance, for beginners learning the guitar, they have a course called Mastering the Art of Strumming. For intermediate players, there’s a course based on Guitar Fingerpicking.

What other features does UG have?

Ultimate Guitar Forum

Ultimate Guitar offers a wide range of features for guitarists and musicians. Here are the main features:

Tabs and chords

Ultimate Guitar has one of the largest collections of guitar tabs, chords, and lyrics on the internet, covering songs from all genres and decades.

Search engine 

The site features a powerful search engine that allows users to search for tabs and chords by song title, artist name, or keywords. Users can also filter results by difficulty level, tuning and instrument.

Rating system

Ultimate Guitar features a rating system that allows users to rate the accuracy of tabs and chords. Users can also leave comments and corrections for others to see. This helps ensure the quality of the content on the site and provides valuable feedback to the community.

Chord library

The site offers a comprehensive chord library that includes diagrams and fingerings for a wide range of chords, from basic open chords to complex jazz chords.

Tuner and metronome

Ultimate Guitar includes a built-in tuner and metronome that allows users to tune their guitar and practice their timing.

Community forum

The site has a community forum where users can connect with other guitar players, discuss music-related topics, and share tips and tricks.

Lessons and tutorials

Ultimate Guitar offers a variety of lessons and tutorials on guitar technique, theory, and music news.

How much does Ultimate Guitar cost?

Guitar leaning aganast a sofa ready to play

UG offers both free and paid subscriptions for their services. The free version provides access to a limited number of tabs and chords, while the paid subscription, called ‘Ultimate Guitar Pro,’ offers unlimited access to their entire database of tabs and chords.

As of April 2023, the cost of Ultimate Guitar Pro is $24.99 per month or $99.99 per year, with a 7-day free trial for the latter.

The free version includes access to over 1.4 million tabs and chords, the ability to stream tabbed songs from a standard music player or Spotify, offline access to favourite tabs, left-handed mode and the chance to create playlists. The version also allows users to edit chords, lyrics or change tabs, as well as edit font style and size for the tabs.

The paid pro subscription provides users with the most functionality available in the Ultimate Guitar app. Some of the Pro features include an exclusive beginner course, video tutorials, guitar tools, official tabs, auto-scroll, and the ability to transpose (change the pitch of songs).

If desired, users can also sign up for a Courses subscription through Ultimate Guitar Courses. This is a new service with  2500+ courses that can help guitar players boost their musical skills.

With the Courses subscription, users get unlimited access to 1500+ courses, access on all platforms (web, Android, iOS), and downloadable additional course materials.

Who uses Ultimate Guitar?

It is a common misconception that only accomplished guitar players can benefit from the site. In fact, music lovers of all abilities can utilise the website for many benefits. 

Hobbyist guitarists

Many people use Ultimate Guitar solely as a hobby, learning and playing their favourite songs in their spare time. Most website traffic comes from the hobbyist guitarist who dips in and out of the website’s content.

Professional musicians

Professional musicians use Ultimate Guitar to learn new songs or to find inspiration for their own music. The courses are also popular for the accomplished guitarist looking to add some finesse to their playing.

Music teachers

Music teachers use the platform as a resource for lesson plans and to find tabs and chords for their students.

Cover bands

Cover bands use Ultimate Guitar to find tabs and chords for songs they want to perform at gigs.


Songwriters may use the platform to find inspiration for chord progressions and to learn new techniques.

Music students

Music students may use UG to supplement their music education and to practice their skills.

Is Ultimate Guitar for guitar experts only?

In short: no. Ultimate Guitar is not just for guitar experts. In fact, Ultimate Guitar is designed to cater to guitar players of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced players. The site offers a vast library of tabs and chords for songs of all genres and decades, including popular songs, classic rock, metal, jazz, blues, and more.

Not only are there guitar tabs and chords for most songs, meaning you can choose a song you might realistically be able to play, but it also offers versions of varying amounts of difficulty for each song. 

How is Ultimate Guitar still alive today?

Technology has progressed since Ultimate Guitar first hit the internet in the 1990s. Throughout the years, the website has had to modernise in order to stay relevant.

Tabs and chords are still the most popular feature of the website and app. However, courses have helped the service to maintain a revenue stream, as well as to keep providing for new and accomplished guitarists.

How does Ultimate Guitar compare to its rivals?


Songsterr has long been a rival of Ultimate Guitar. But how does it fare in comparison? Well, it all boils down to size. 

Ultimate Guitar has a much larger database of tabs and chords compared to Songsterr, with over 1.5 million tabs and chords available. Also, the paid version of the site, Ultimate Guitar Pro, includes interactive features such as playback, tempo control and looped sections, which can be very helpful for practising. 

However, Songsterr uses a different format for its tabs which can lead to higher quality and more accurate transcriptions. This can be particularly helpful for intermediate and advanced players.

Songsterr offers audio playback, which is useful for those learning to play. Although, despite the additional benefits of Ultimate Guitar, the cost is a significant factor in comparison. Ultimate Guitar Pro requires a paid subscription for full access to its features and content, while Songsterr offers a one-time purchase for lifetime access, which is much more cost-effective.

Guitar Pro

Another rival is Guitar Pro, which focuses on tablature for guitar and bass. Ultimate Guitar has a larger database and is more accessible than Guitar Pro, however, Guitar Pro does offer higher-quality tabs, as well as more advanced features for creating and editing tabs. 


We have taken a look at the Ultimate Guitar reviews.

UG has a Trustpilot rating of 1.9 out of 5, which is classed as ‘poor’. Users talk of mainly technical or payment issues, including requesting subscription fees too early.

The UltimateGuitar app has over 523,000 reviews, with a very good rating of 4.4 out of 5 

Pros and Cons

Guitarist playing his instrument looks into the camera

Now that we’ve studied Ultimate Guitar in-depth, let us weigh up the upsides and downsides of using the website and app.


Large database: Ultimate Guitar has a massive collection of tabs and chords for a wide range of songs and genres, which makes it a valuable resource for musicians and learners.

User-generated content: Many of the tabs and chords on Ultimate Guitar are created and shared by users, which means there’s a lot of diversity and creativity in the content available.

Easy to use: The website and mobile app are generally user-friendly and easy to navigate, which can be helpful for beginners.

Interactive Features: Ultimate Guitar Pro includes interactive features like playback, tempo control, and looped sections, which can be very useful for practising.


Inconsistent quality: Because user-generated content makes up a large portion of Ultimate Guitar’s database, there can be inconsistencies in the accuracy and quality of tabs and chords. Some may be incorrect or incomplete, which can be frustrating for users.

A paid subscription is required for full access: While there is a free version of Ultimate Guitar, it has limited features and access to content for those wishing to do more than find guitar tabs and chords. Users who want full access will need to pay for Ultimate Guitar Pro.

Copyright issues: Because Ultimate Guitar relies on user-generated content, there can be legal issues around copyright infringement. While Ultimate Guitar does have a process for taking down copyrighted content, it can still be a potential risk for users.

Not a substitute for professional lessons: While Ultimate Guitar can be a great resource for learning new songs and techniques, it’s important to remember that it’s not a substitute for professional music lessons. Users may still benefit from working with a qualified teacher to improve their skills.

Closing Thoughts on Ultimate Guitar

In conclusion, the Ultimate Guitar is a great tool for guitarists of all levels, allowing them to access a wealth of information and resources to help them improve their skills. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, the Ultimate Guitar is definitely a useful resource for guitarists.
For musicians and producers an online metronome tool is essential when recording, try Music Gateway’s online metronome tool here.

To learn more about how to use the platform, check out this video.


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