Using the Fretboard Chart Generator
Use this interactive tool to create a map of the notes on the neck of your guitar. See the note for every fret on each string of a guitar in any tuning, any number of frets or number of strings.
These tips are intended to help you take full advantage of the tool. But we'd like to think that this tool is pretty easy to use, so feel free to just poke around with the controls above. The fretboard diagram will update automatically as you make changes to the form, so there's no need to "submit" the form or reload the page to see the impact of a change to the configuration. (You can also use the "Generate" button to trigger a refresh if you need to.)
In addition to the standard tuning for guitar or for bass guitar, you can create fretboard charts for an arbitrary tuning.
Just list the note to which each string is tuned in the box marked "Tuning".
For example, to tune your guitar to the popular Drop D tuning you lower the pitch of the low E string (the thickest, top-most string) by one full step, from E to D.
To see the notes across the entire fretboard for the Drop-D tuning, simply edit the tuning description to change the first string from E to D. This yields D A D G B E. The diagram will update automatically to show you the notes on the fretboard under this new tuning.
If you want to map a tuning that includes sharp or flat notes, you can do that too. Just add
b after the base note to specify a sharp (#) or flat (b). You can actually use the real sharp and flat symbols -
♭ - but those aren't nearly as easy to type. For that matter you can use the letter
s to mark sharp notes and the letter
f to mark flat notes, but those are most convenient when you creating the URL for a fretboard diagram by hand.
For example, you may be familiar with the Open E tuning, which lets you play an E chord by simply strumming the open strings. Open E includes a sharp note: the fourth string is tuned up one half-step from G to G♯. To be clear that's not the only thing you need to change when retuning from the standard EADGBE to Open E - the second and third strings also need to be tuned to a different pitch (from A to B and from D to E, respectively) - that's just the only sharp note. To see the fretboard chart for the Open E tuning just enter the note to which each string is tuned: namely E B E G# B E.
We also have a small list of common alterative guitar tunings, if you're looking for inspiration.
Guitars With Extra Strings
In addition to the regular six-string guitar fretoard, you can create fretboard charts for uklele or bass by only entering four notes in the tuning field - one for each string. You can even map the notes on the neck those extra-wide, extended-range guitars that have more than six strings. The legendary two string bass? Prog rock fan with an eight string guitar? Not a problem. The tool can create a fretboard diagram for any number of strings.
Each note in the tuning field reflects the tuning of a different string. So to generate a fretboard for an arbitrary number of strings, just change the number of notes listed to match the number of strings. For example, to see the neck of a four-string bass guitar in the standard tuning, just type EADG into the box. For the conventional five-string bass tuning, add a string tuned to B below the E, leaving you with BEADG.
The standard 7-string or 8-string guitar tuning works exactly the same way. Like an extended bass guitar, the extra string on a 7-string is one fifth lower than the low-E - tuned to B - yielding BEADG. Typically the 8th string is dropped another five half-steps (frets), tuned to F♯, so you can see the notes on the fretboard of an eight-string guitar in the standard tuning by entering F# B E A D G B E into the tuning field (as mentioned above, Fs B E A D G B E and F♯ B E A D G B E work equally well).
You can even create a diagram that shows the notes along a single string if you want to.
The notes on the fretboard begin to repeat at the twelth fret. That is, when an open string is tuned to E then the pitch of that string at the 12th fret will also be an E, just one octave higher. This is usually marked on the fretboard with an inlay of two dots. So in theory a fretboard chart only needs to show the first 11 frets: you could just slide the whole thing down and start over with what used to be the open note at the 12th fret.
Of course, most guitars have more than 12 frets. A "classical" guitar, or a guitar that might be used to play Flamenco music, usually has 19 frets, while an electric guitar typically has around 22 frets. The neck on a bass guitar is a little bit longer still, often 24 frets or more.
You can create a fretboard for an arbitrary number of frets. Just enter the number of frets on the neck of your guitar into the "Frets" field. For example, set the fret count to 19 frets for a Flamenco guitar or other small scale instrument or to something like 26 frets for an exceptionally long-necked bass.
Note that the frets are numbered across the top of the diagram, starting with "fret 0" for the open string. Also, the conventional inlay symbols - the marks that normally appear in the middle of 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th frets (and so on) - are included at the bottom of the fretboard chart, since they are useful landmarks when scanning the neck for a particular fret.
Sharps, Flats and Accidentals
To make the chart easier to read, sharps and flats are normally omitted on the fretboard diagram. For example, between the notes C and D you'll see an empty square. This box marks the fret on that string that would generate a note one-half step between the named notes: in this case the note known as C# or Db.
There's one exception to this rule. When the "open" note on a string is a sharp or a flat the name of that note will also appear on the 12th fret and 24th fret and so on. We just think the chart looks better and more consistent when we do it that way.
If you'd like to see the name of the note on every single fret on the neck of the guitar - sharps and flats included - just check the box marked "Show All ♯ /♭". For example, here's the fretboard of a 6-string guitar in the standard tuning marked with the note at each and every fret, even sharps and flats.
Uncheck that box to hide the labels on the sharp/flat notes again.
Hidden Option: Prefer Sharp Notes
Congratulations! By reading these instructions you are about to discover a hidden feature of the fretboard charting tool.
Usually the "Show All ♯ /♭" option will use the flat-based name of a note rather than the equivalent sharp-based name. For example, by default the note one half-step between F and G will appear as G♭ rather than F♯. There are a couple of exceptions:
- When a string's root note (the pitch the open string is tuned to) is specified as a sharp, notes on that string will appear as sharps rather than flats.
- If more of the open strings are tuned to sharp notes than to flat notes then fretboard diagram will switch to showing sharps by default. In other words, strings tuned to the natural notes (not sharp or flat) will also show sharp note names. In that case only strings explictly open-tuned to a flat note will use the flat note notation.
While there's no control do to this directly on the form, there is a hidden query string parameter that allows you to override the default and use the sharp note names instead (or force natural strings to show flat notes even with other strings are tuned to sharp notes). To enable the prefer-sharp-note-names mode, append either
?ps=1 (if there is no
? in the URL yet) or
&ps=1 (if there other query string parameters and so there is a
? in the URL already) to the URL for this page.
If you're not familiar with query string manipulation that may be a little confusing, so here are some links that add or remove the parameter for you:
Clicking on one of those links will reload the fretboard diagram generator with the specified default.
This mode is "sticky" until you leave this page, so once set it will remain active even if you make changes to the other settings. The print-as-poster, bookmark and raw-image links also respect this setting.
Color Coding of Notes
A distinct color is used to indicate each note of the scale. For example, frets that generate an E are indicated by a shade of purple and frets that generate the note D are filled with a light blue.
These colors are used consistently throughout the entire fretboard so that every time that particular shade of blue appears the fret will generate a D (and vice versa, every single D fret will be marked with a blue square).
Color coding the fretboard in this way makes it easier to scan the chart to find a given note, and makes it a little easier to notice patterns in the way in which notes are arranged on the fretboard. For example in the standard tuning, the fret two strings up (to thinner strings, closer to the bottom of the guitar when played) and two frets down (closer to the body of the guitar, further from the headstock) is usually the same note, just one ocatave higher.
The reason for this pattern is pretty clear once you think about it: since each string is usually 5 frets (half-steps) higher pitched than the one before, moving two-strings-up and two-frets-down is just like moving 12-frets (half-steps), or one octave.
(In the standard tuning the second thinnest string - tuned to B - is an exception to this rule. There are only 4 half-steps between the G string and the B string, not 5.)
Shareable Links (Permalinks)
If you'd like to send someone a link to a custom fretboard diagram - without asking them to enter the tuning, number of frets, and other settings themselves - use the link labeled "Permalink for this fretboard chart". Copying the target of that link (or opening that link and copying the URL of the web page that it takes you to) will provide a URL that points to the specific fretboard diagram you are currently looking at. You can share that link with others or bookmark it so you easily find it later.
If you'd like to see the "raw" image for a fretboard diagram - without any of the controls or this text or anything at all - click "open this image in a new window". That link will do exactly that: open the diagram as a stand-alone image. This could be handy if you want to embed the image in another web page or share the image on social media.
Notice the image is "responsive" - it will automatically grow or shrink to fill the space that you give it - and that it is a "scalar" image, not a "bitmap", so you can zoom in or out as much as you want without distortion or pixelation.
Printing the Fretboard Chart
If you want to make a hard copy of your fretboard diagram, simply print this web page using your web browser's built-in File > Print menu option (or click the "Print this fretboard chart" link.)
Don't worry about this help text and all the other "junk" that appears on the web page. Through some technical wizardry all of that stuff disappears in the printed version of the diagram. Despite all of the other content you see when this page is viewed "on screen", when you print this page you'll get a nice and clean one-page mini-poster that you can pin to the wall of your practice room or keep in your guitar case for easy reference.
The fretboard poster looks great whether printed in color or gray-scale. If your computer supports it, you can also "print to PDF" to download a digital version of the poster for your convenience.
If you run into any problems with this tool you can send a bug report or hit us up on Twitter for help.
If you run into a problem then other people probably will too, so don't be shy about reaching out. We want to make sure the tool is working for you, and you'll be doing us (and other visitors) a favor by letting us know.
We also welcome your input if you have any suggestions about how to improve this tool or ideas about similiar tools you'd like to see.
Smash that "Like" button?
If you find this fretboard chart generator useful, you can show your appreciation by spreading the word to others, whether in person or online.
It feels cheesy to say, and it may be cheesy to see, but if you like what we're doing here and want to see it continue, it would help us out a lot if you could tell some of your friends - or your followers - about us. It may be the easiest (for you) and most impactful (for us) way to show your support. It really does make a difference.
And if you think this tool is neat, you should check out the FATpick app. We call it "the tab player that listens".
FATpick opens any Guitar Pro tab into an interactive tablature player, sync'ed with audio, that gives you real time feedback on your timing and accuracy as you play along with your guitar.
Playing a song in FATpick feels a little bit like playing game - and that's no accident - but make no mistake about it: FATpick is a serious guitar practice productivity tool. Our goal is to provide the best way to experience tabs with you guitar in hand - and to make that experience so effective and engaging that you'll be motivated to keep practicing.
Hundreds of guitatists have already made FATpick a part of their practice routine.
You can download and use FATpick for free right now.