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?

  • For PC or MAC? ..as you can roll your own depending on your OS.
    – filzilla
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 23:23
  • 6
    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
    Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 21:19
  • 3
    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.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 8:48
  • I rewrote the question to emphasize it's musical nature. Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 11:09
  • I like this one: guitarmasterclass.net/scalegenerator Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 9:51

11 Answers 11


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.

  • 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
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 16:57

The best tool I have found for this is here: http://www.looknohands.com/chordhouse/guitar/index_rb.html

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.

  • Too bad it doesn't let you add/remove notes from a scale. :-(
    – djangofan
    Commented Apr 4, 2021 at 19:57

Guitar Scientist Generator is a free online tool that allows you to generate free guitar fingering diagrams. You can download them as an image, like the one below, or store online for sharing or editing.

It has countless options like the number of frets, strings, colors, tunings, automatic notation with intervals and note names and can speed up the work with a lot of helper functions.

enter image description here

Example of exported image:

fretboard Diagram generated with guitar scientist


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.


I started using Google Drawings for this.

\/ \/ You do not need to request access to the Google Drawing (see below) \/ \/

Here is my Blank Chord Diagram Google Drawing. It is shared with everyone, and can be copied to your own Google Drive account.

/\ /\ You do not need to request access to the Google Drawing (see below) /\ /\

Much too often I get requests to edit this Google Drawing (though still no upvotes) from people who apparently cannot read. I shared it for anyone interested to be able to make their own copy, edit it, and make as many more copies as they like. There is no need to edit this one. To make your own copy, go to the File menu, then "Make a copy..."

enter image description here


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




Take a look at the fretboard example in My VexFlow: http://my.vexflow.com/articles/119

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

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

  • 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
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 15:22

Check this this LaTeX package for typesetting guitar chord diagrams:




visit 99centguitarlessons.com 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.


There are fonts for neck diagrams for custom chords and scales on http://www.manneschlaier.com. You can write your own diagrams on Mac OS X and iOS.


TLBX has a free online Music Scale Finder which prints diagrams for different scales on a variety of instruments, including guitar. And you can use the “share” button to get the code to put the diagram on your website if you blog about music theory or something.

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