Go to the Index for a compact listing of all pages on the site.

Go to New Pages to see new or newly updated pages.

All downloads and samples are on the main Download page.

ChordLocator Tutorials

Generic Chord Locator Tutorial

If this is your first time with the Generic Chord Locator try this simple exercise. Let's look for C major triads in the basic C6th tuning.

Exercise 1

  1. Select the basic C6th tuning from the Select Tuning menu.
  2. Leave the Bar Option Settings to the default—straight bar. This means no slant bar positions will be shown.
  3. Type 'C' in the Chord Root field and select Major from the Chord Type menu.
  4. Press the Find Positions button to view the results in tab notation. Notice that the results are sorted by location on the fretboard. You can see that most of the positions are open or at fret 7 and 12.

Exercise 2—Using the Hide Open Positions checkbox

  1. Perform the steps for Exercise 1.
  2. The Hide Open Positions checkbox is selected by default. Here's why. Uncheck this field and press the Find Positions button. Aiyai! Way too many positions to absorb. Some of these positions are playable, but the main purpose of the checkbox is to locate additional positions when the initial search produced nothing or very little.
  3. Place a checkmark back in the Hide Open Positions field. Now type 'D' in the Chord Root field, select Major 9th from the Chord Type menu, and press the Find Positions button. Not many hits. Now, uncheck the Hide Open Positions option and rerun the search. Now you have more hits, among them some pretty playable ones.

Exercise 3—Using the Hide 2-Note Chords checkbox

  1. Because of the limitations of straight steel guitar, you end up playing lots of 2-note chords to approximate the sound of more complex harmonies. To view 2-note chords, uncheck the Hide 2-Note Chords option in the Display Options pane.
  2. Let's do a search for C Diminished chords using the default settings—checkmarks in both the Hide 2-Note Chords and Hide Open Postions fields, and Straight Bar checked under Slant Bar Options.
  3. Type 'C' in the Chord Root field, select 'Diminished' from the Chord Select menu, and press Find Positions. Nothing there! Diminished chords aren't that easy to find.
  4. Now uncheck the Hide Open Positions option and re-run the search. There are a couple of very playable postions using open strings.
  5. Place a checkmark back in the Hide Open Positions field. Now uncheck the Hide 2-Note Chords checkbox and re-run the search. Now we're getting somewhere. These are all very playable positions. If you now allow for forward slants in the Slant Options pane, you will find all you need up and down the neck.
  6. To find the most positions for C Diminished (and any other chord you select), uncheck both checkboxes in the Display Options pane and checkmark as many slant bar options as you can handle.

Advanced Locator Tutorial

The Advanced Voicing Locator displays all possible positions for a given chord voicing on any given steel guitar tuning. To use this tool, you must know the specific chord voicing you're searching for.

Exercise 1

Let's take the basic C6th tuning and look for the simplest major 7th voicing built on degrees 1, 3, 5, and 7—you don't usually hear this chord on a simple 6-string tuning.

  1. Select the Basic 6-string C6th tuning from the Select Tuning menu.
  2. Leave the Bar Option Settings to the default—straight bar, forward, and reverse slants.
  3. Enter '1', '3', '5', and '7' in the Tone fields. Leave the Chord Root field blank for now.
  4. Press the Find Positions button to view the results. The listing includes all possible positions for this tuning in all keys. This is called a Chromatic Search.
  5. You can limit the results by entering a specific chord root. Enter 'C' in the Chord Root field and rerun the search. Now you see only C chords displayed.
  6. Notice that the listing includes C chords from 2 different octaves. You can further limit the results by entering a specific note in the Chord Root field in scientific notation or as a midi number. Enter 'C4' in the Chord Root field and rerun the search. The keyboard diagram will help you figure out how to enter specific notes in any of the chord fields.

Exercise 2

Although entering scales degrees is usually the easiest note entry method, you can use midi numbers or scientific notation where you specify both the letter name and the octave. Let's redo Exercise 1 using this method.

  1. Select the Basic 6-string C6th tuning from the Select Tuning menu.
  2. Leave the Bar Option Settings to the default—straight bar, forward, and reverse slants.
  3. Enter 'C4', 'E4', 'G4', and 'B4' in the Tone fields. Leave the Chord Root field blank for now.
  4. Press the Find Positions button to view the results. The listing is almost the same as the scale degree search above when you entered 'C4' and the Chord Root field. The only difference is that the results heading now shows no chord root (since none was entered). You can fix this if you wish by typing 'C' in the Chord Root field. This is handy as you'll see shortly.
  5. Let's look for a chord you usually don't hear on lap steel—F minor 6th. It works great against an F minor chord in the key of C. Select the Basic 6-string C6th as before and use the default settings—straight bar, forward, and reverse slants and Basic Search from the Display Options pane.
  6. Enter 'F3', 'Ab3', 'C4'. and 'D4' in the Tone fields and enter 'F' in the Chord Root field. Now do the search. Nothing doing! A tough chord to find.
  7. When you enter exact pitches as you just did, the Chromatic Search from exercise 1 is not available. But you can do almost the same thing by checking the Open Position Search option. Do this and re-run the search. Here, you get a listing of all the open string positions available in all the keys. Here's why it's handy to enter a chord root. It helps you figure out what keys to play in to use your chord. Look at the bottom tab staff, 4th measure—a very playable position. Because you entered a chord label you can see that this is an A minor 6th, and therefore the key of E would give you an opportunity to use this chord (remember, we were originally looking for an F chord in the key of C).