A Guitar Note Chart

All the online guitar note charts I could find were loaded with clutter, and one even has the actual chart shrunk and sideways at the bottom. I wanted something I could print, hang up, and read without my reading glasses. This is almost big enough. I suppose considering the shape I should work on one that prints on 2 pages you tape together end to end, but I just thought of it.

The thumbnail above is linked to a bigger version I made to post on Facebook, but don't print that, print the PDF.

This was a fun project, I took the original fret positions from a fret position calculator like you'd use if you were making a fretboard. I scaled those down, because I was after the proportions. I wrote in C which writes Postscript, which I can feed directly to my printer or turn into a PDF with ps2pdf (Mine is from the Raspbian debs). (Adobe Distiller will also work if you're stuck using Windows or Mac.) The units are points, not inches or centimeters. There are 72 points per inch but you can use decimals like 30.857142857 points. I've been doing Postscript on and off for a few years but I've also done HPGL and a few other graphics languages. You can find examples on the web but if you want to fill in all the bits and pieces missing grab a copy of the Postscript Language Reference Manual.

I mostly don't play guitar, I just plink around. I bought my first close to 50 years ago because they were cool. After about 20 years without one I bought a Squier Stratocaster again because I'm mildly interested in music theory. On a piano (even the Perfect Piano app) most notes that aren't next to each other sound good when you play them together. An instrument like a guitar is unique in that instead of needing to reach way down the string (or keyboard) for a different note far away, you just jump over a string or two. But you have to know your way around, which is why I made a note chart. In elementary school we learned a little about reading music, but then I wasn't in Band in high school so now I want to catch up.

Oh, this is for "standard" tuning, but it wouldn't be hard to change. The notes are defined in this section:

char notes[22][6][3] = {{"E","A","D","G","B","E"},      // open
                       {"F","A#","D#","G#","C","F"},    // fret 1
                       {"F#","B","E","A","C#","F#"},    // fret 2
                       {"G","C","F","A#","D","G"},      // fret 3
                       {"G#","C#","F#","B","D#","G#"},  // fret 4
                       {"A","D","G","C","E","A"},       // fret 5
                       {"A#","D#","G#","C#","F","A#"},  // fret 6
                       {"B","E","A","D","F#","B"},      // fret 7
                       {"C","F","A#","D#","G","C"},     // fret 8
                       {"C#","F#","B","E","G#","C#"},   // fret 9
                       {"D","G","C","F","A","D"},       // fret 10
                       {"D#","G#","C#","F#","A#","D#"}, // fret 11
                       {"E","A","D","G","B","E"},       // fret 12
                       {"F","A#","D#","G#","C","F"},    // fret 13
                       {"F#","B","E","A","C#","F#"},    // fret 14
                       {"G","C","F","A#","D","G"},      // fret 15
                       {"G#","C#","F#","B","D#","G#"},  // fret 16
                       {"A","D","G","C","E","A"},       // fret 18
                       {"A#","D#","G#","C#","F","A#"},  // fret 19
                       {"B","E","A","D","F#","B"},      // fret 20
                       {"C","F","A#","D#","G","C"},     // fret 21
                       {"C#","F#","B","E","G#","C#"}};  // fret 22
That's what controls the labels that get applied to the string and fret positions.

Most people will probably be interested in the PDF but if you're a programmer you probably want the tarball.