Fretboard diagrams

Updated 4 years ago
This page shows old instructions for MuseScore 2.
For MuseScore 4 users, see Fretboard diagrams.

    A range of fretboard (or chord) diagrams for the guitar are pre-provided in the Fretboard Diagrams palette in the Advanced Workspace (versions prior to 2.0.3 feature only one diagram).

    Fretboard diagrams palette

    You can create a chord diagram for any fretted, stringed instrument by editing an existing one. It can be saved to a custom palette for future use if required.

    Add a fretboard diagram

    To add a fretboard diagram to the score, use one of the following methods:

    • Select a note in voice 1 and double-click a fretboard diagram from a palette.
    • Drag and drop a fretboard diagram from a palette to the desired position in the score.

    Edit fretboard diagram

    1. Right-click on a diagram in the score and select Fretboard Diagram Properties....
    2. Adjust the number of instrument strings, using the "Strings" spin box at the bottom left of the window.
    3. Adjust the fret position number using the scroll bar on the right-hand side.
    4. Adjust how many frets to display (height-wise) using the "Frets" spin-box at the bottom right of the window.
    5. To place a dot on a string fret, click on that fret. To remove the dot, click on the fret again.
    6. Click just above the diagram to toggle a string between:
      • Open (o)
      • Mute/unplayed (x)
      • No indication.
    7. To create a barre or partial barre:
      i. Make sure the desired fret position is clear of black dots (click on a dot to remove it);
      ii. Hold Shift and click on the fret where you want the barre to begin. Note: Only one barre can be applied per diagram;
      iii. To delete a barre, click on the black dot where the barre begins.

    For example, to create a full-barre F# chord, from a C chord:

    1. Place the C fretboard diagram on the score, right-click on it and select Fretboard Diagram Properties....
    2. Click on the relevant fret positions to establish the fingering dots.
    3. Set "Frets" to "4" and fret number (right-hand scroll bar) to "2." The diagram should now look like this:

      Fretboard diagram - step 1

    4. Create the barre by holding Shift and clicking on the second fret of the 6th string. Click "OK" to exit and you should get this:

      Fretboard diagram - step 2

      The same principle applies if you want a partial barré. For example, the partial barré in an A7 chord is created by pressing Shift, then clicking on the 4th string, second fret:

      A7 chord

    Adjust position, size, color

    The size ("Scale"), color and position of a fretboard diagram can be changed by clicking on it and altering the relevant values in the Inspector.

    The position of the fretboard diagram can also be adjusted in Edit mode:

    1. Double-click on the diagram (or click on it and press Ctrl+E (Mac: Cmd+E); or right-click on it and select Edit element).
    2. Press the arrow keys for fine positioning (0.1 sp. at a time); or press Ctrl+Arrow (Mac: Cmd+Arrow) for larger adjustments (1 sp. at a time).

    Fretboard diagram style

    Some default properties of fretboard diagrams (barre thickness, vertical position, size etc.) can be adjusted from the menu: select StyleGeneral…Chord Symbols, Fretboard Diagrams. Any changes made here affect all existing diagrams, as well as those applied subsequently.

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