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I will frequently be playing guitar and end up playing a sound that I am unsure of the technically defined chord type. I have a very basic level of understanding when it comes to guitar theory in terms of chords on the fretboard. However, I've been playing guitar for several years and am quite comfortable with the instrument, which leads me to experiment along the fretboard with weird ( but sonically logical ) combos of personally unknown chord types.

I've been working on learning more guitar theory to figure out these shapings, but I am wondering in the meantime if there exists an application out there where you could input the guitar sound I am playing and generate the type of chord associated.

I've seen many apps that provide a printed text of various chords and play the selected chord sound as an output; however, I have yet to find an app that inputs sound (from your guitar) and outputs the type of chord as printed text. Does this exist?

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  • Any combination of notes that sound good together can technically define a chord. But not all may fit into the western classical definition of the same. If expected notes are missing you will probably get several possible choices. It may not be worth the effort – user50691 Apr 28 at 20:11
  • I don't know of such an app yet, but the tech exists. Various software can take a chord and work out the individual notes for tuning (melodyne etc.) and from this you could input into a known 'chord namer', but as it's still fairly new tech it may still be relatively expensive. As a side, I would be a little careful of chord naming apps. Some are pretty good but even then they often give chords funny names where a bit of theory knowledge could see though what was going on a lot better, very often the naming of a chord is down to how it's being used rather than a definite, correct, name! – OwenM Apr 28 at 22:13
  • I think you’ll do better to write out what you’re playing as tab and/or learn notation and write the notes. Music written as only chord names is pretty limited. Besides, if you write out the notes, you can focus on what sounds good without having to analyze chords. – Todd Wilcox Apr 28 at 22:17
  • The actual problem behind this seems to be, "how to understand what I'm playing and reason about the notes, if I'm able to create interesting sounds, but cannot recognize them as any chords I know." And for that you had assumed that the right way is to find a textual chord symbol name, and that such a name can be found in the first place, and for doing that there is probably an app, and now the problem is to find that app. But IMO, none of those assumptions is necessarily correct. Maybe you could try posting a question about the real problem? If I understood correctly – piiperi Reinstate Monica Apr 29 at 6:35
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I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for exists.

That said, most tuners/tuner apps can usually tell what notes you're playing--though most usually identify just one note. If you play chords into the tuner, you might get some unexpected/inconclusive results. But it's probably better than nothing.

If you're not bent on playing it on your guitar directly, you do have the option of a chord identifier. Here is an example of one I like. This tool--and ones like it--allows you to put what frets you're playing and it will tell you what chord you're playing--or what chords you could be playing if there is more than one possibility (i. e., there's not enough information to give one specific one).

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