Fretboard diagrams

Musescore allows you to create fretboard diagrams (also known as chord diagrams) for any fretted string instrument. You will find diagrams for the most common guitar chords (major, minor and seventh) already provided in the Fretboard Diagrams palette in the Advanced Workspace, starting with MuseScore version 2.0.3.

Fretboard diagrams palette

You can customize any fretboard diagram to your liking, and optionally add it back to a custom palette for future use.

Add a fretboard diagram

To add a fretboard diagram to the score, open a palette containing a fretboard diagram (it could be the default Fretboard Diagrams palette in the Advanced workspace, or a custom palette) and either:

  • Select a note in voice 1 and double-click the fretboard diagram.
  • Drag and drop the fretboard diagram into position on the score.

Edit fretboard (chord) diagram

  1. Right-click on the diagram 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 (heightwise) 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 above the lowest fret to toggle a string between:
    • Open string (o),
    • mute/unplayed string (x)
    • Off.
  7. To create a barre or partial barre, first make sure the desired fret position is clear of dots. Then click on a fret while holding Shift (see "step 2" below). Delete the barre by shift-clicking again on the same fret. Note: Only one barre can be applied per diagram.

So, 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 to get the Fretboard Diagram Properties window, then click on the relevant fret positions to establish the fingering dots.

  2. Set "Frets" to "4" and fret number (right-hand scroll bar) to "2." The diagram should now look like this:

    Fretboard diagram - step 1

  3. Create the barre by using Shift and click 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.

Position can also be adjusted more directly in Edit mode:

  1. Double-click on the diagram (or click on it and press Ctrl+E (Mac: Cmd+E) , or right-click on the symbol and select "Edit element").

  2. Press 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 via StyleGeneral…Chord Symbols, Fretboard Diagrams. Any changes made here affect all existing diagrams, as well as those applied subsequently.

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