What Is a Guitar Chord Finder?

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  • Written By: Lori Spencer
  • Edited By: S. Pike
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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A guitar chord generator, also known as a guitar chord finder, is a learning and reference tool for finding chords on the guitar. Musicians use a generator to create fingering charts for various guitar playing positions along the neck. Guitar chord finders also come in handy for chording any stringed, fretted instrument such as mandolin, steel guitar, banjo, or bass. They are used to look up scales and chord charts in almost any tuning the guitarist can conjure. Many Internet-based guitar chord generators allow users to customize the chart for left or right-handed players.

As a teaching tool, guitar chord finders help practicing musicians learn scales and chord construction. All types of scales are covered, from major and minor scales to Dorian, Aeolian, Locrian, Pentatonic scales, and many more. A guitar chord finder helps the guitarist master ear training, as most generators will play back the chord so that the musician can hear what it sounds like. It also allows musicians to learn parts by looping the chord progression at any speed. When trying to figure out a song, for example, the guitarist can slow it down until he or she has got the hang of it, then practice speeding it up until the desired speed is finally achieved.


To use an online guitar chord finder, the user first chooses a tuning and key. If playing left-handed, the guitarist would switch the neck to a "lefty." After the player selects whether to search for chords, scales, or notes, these preferences are submitted into the generator's internal search engine and the results are displayed on the screen. At that point, the chord charts can be saved, printed, or played through the user's computer speakers. Users may listen to the chords played on a variety of stringed instruments, often with the ability to add effects such as reverb or distortion.

Other options might include the ability to view the chords in notation or tablature, or read both simultaneously. The guitarist may opt to view intervals or the scales they are based on. Strumming speed can be user-controlled and certain strings can be muted or unmuted if desired. For transposing keys, many guitar chord finder programs also have a helpful capo function. Creative guitarists also enjoy the flexibility of using a guitar chord generator to create and save their own custom chords.


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