What is this?
A visual library of the most-used shapes and patterns, in a free web app for guitarists.

I already know chord and scale shapes.
This is much more. Most of the shapes in the library are "riff" and "lick" shapes you won't find anywhere else.

Why is this useful?
Many of the most common shapes and patterns used by good guitarists don't have names. And because they don't have names like chords or scales do, many players never learn them. Most players won't know all of these shapes.

How do I use it?
Pick a category like "riffs" or "licks", or "chords". Scroll through the shapes. Flip a switch to see fixed (open position) vs. moveable shapes; for the latter, move the red circle (the root) up and down the neck to match the key or chord you're using, or to match one of the examples shown.

Example shape:
(goes here). The horizontal lines are the strings. The vertical lines are the frets. The circles are the notes where you put your fingers.

What do the symbols mean?

  • bent strings: bent in direction you'd normally bend them
  • barres: both full, and partial
  • hammer-ons and pull-offs: a curved line between two notes
  • slides: a dotted line between two notes
  • double-stops: a line between two notes on two different strings
  • root: a red hollow circle. More about this later.

Do I play all the notes at the same time?
Unless it's a chord shape, these shapes are like scale shapes: each note is a possibility. You might not be playing all the notes at the same time.

Do I strum all the string at the same time?
Unless it's a chord shape, you might not be strumming all the strings at the same time.

Why only these chord shapes?
Only the most common are shown. There's no need to learn 1000 different chords if you're never going to use some of them. But you will see the most common "voicings" and "inversions" (different ways of playing the chord).

Why are there only a few scale shapes?
Most players get too hung up on scales. After you learn basic chords and maybe a few of the basic scales, the next best step to improve your playing and expand your vocabulary is to start learning more riffs and licks.