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I am looking for simple ways to communicate to people note patterns on the guitar. It seems like modern technology like computer generated diagrams would be an appropriate way to accomplish that.

Are there any recommended websites, and/or software that will generate guitar fretboard diagrams?

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For PC or MAC? you can roll your own depending on your OS. – filzilla Aug 2 '13 at 23:23
Somebody voted to close this question because they thought it was not about musical performance or practice. This question certainly IS on-topic. It's about methods of notating and learning fingering patterns for playing guitar, and about studying music theory for guitar. That is what guitar fretboard diagrams are for. They are found in most guitar method books and education programs. This is an extremely valid question. – user1044 Aug 4 '13 at 21:19
I would disagree. The question itself asks for software and site recommendations, not methods of notation. I think it is probably salvageable and I won't vote to close but it does need work. That said, @filzillas answer does take the more general approach. – Dr Mayhem Aug 7 '13 at 8:48
I rewrote the question to emphasize it's musical nature. – Frank Henard Aug 7 '13 at 11:09

I have used a number of roll your own versions to create a fretboard and then draw by hand or with other tools to make patterns for scales and arpeggios.

The most relevant things are set the guitar string size to progress from large to small, left to right, put the standard fretboard makers in the right place. However, the fastest thing I found was to locate a high resolution shot of a guitar fretboard via Google images. Download the image, then edited to tweak the brightness and contrast, crop as needed as offered under Microsoft Office Picture Manager. Under Paint, you can pull the image in from 'paste from' and then add the strings if these are missing in the photo.

Once there, you can copy the element several times to fill the page. Save this as your raw template. Then add markers for your scales or chords and save by scale name, such as E minor Pentatonic.

Here is one just using Microsoft Paint: enter image description here

Here is an example as used with Microsoft Office Picture Manager and Paint.

enter image description here

Here is one with the E minor Pentatonic.

enter image description here

You can easily download these images by right clicking and select "save as"... enjoy!

UPDATE (Append): If you have a decent digital camera, take a picture of your own fretboard, transfer to your computer and use what ever picture editor you have to crop and enhance. You won't have to draw the strings in and you are pretty much ready to have a template to start drawing your scales, or chords in.

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I like the update. For years I used to use a reduced template that I got from placing my own guitar on top of a (large) copy machine and experimenting with the settings on the copier. – amalgamate Dec 19 '14 at 16:57

I have tried a demo version of Neck Diagrams, a commercial application that can generate fretboard diagrams for scales and fingering, and chord diagrams.

I know that it's been used by Premier Guitar Magazine in their articles.

I think it's the most comprehensive piece of software of which I'm aware.

It comes in Standard and Pro versions for Mac and Windows. You can download a trial version which is fully functional. You can create diagrams and save them, but the trial version places watermarks on output diagrams until you purchase and register it.

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I have no experience with these, so investigate before buying :-)

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The best tool I have found for this is here:

The interface is clean and simple. You select a root note, and then a chord type or scale type. It also gives you the option of showing scale degrees, in lieu of note names.

A caveat, it is tempting to try and learn every exotic scale with a tool like this. Doing this will probably overwhelm you at first. The most relevant first scales to learn are your Pentatonic Major and Pentatonic Minor. Then, learn the Major and Minor scales, to understand keys and give a foundation for chord progressions.

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visit and you can download the guitar players handbook where multiple empty grids/tab/notation etc images are included in a pdf download and you can just photocopy what you want, or cut-n-paste a graphic to edit within software.

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Take a look at the fretboard example in My VexFlow:

It's free and probably has everything you need for fretboard diagrams.

(Full disclosure: I am the author of VexFlow.)

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I am using this and I like it very much, it is easy to use, flexible and produces great results. I have set aside a textfile containing all notes on fretboard up until the 17th fret. Now when I want to create a diagram of a certain scale, it only takes a few seconds to copy the notes and create a great looking scale! Definitely worth trying out. – Stephane Feb 25 '15 at 15:22
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I started using Google Drawings for this. Here is my Blank Chord Diagram. <-- feel free to make a copy of your own!

enter image description here

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There are fonts for neck diagrams for custom chords and scales on You can write your own diagrams on Mac OS X and iOS.

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