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Generic Chord Locator

The Generic Chord Locator displays basic and advanced steel guitar chords on your favorite tuning. See the instructions below and a complete introductory tutorial. Check out the more advanced Chord Voicing Locator when you feel comfortable with the generic locator.

Select Tuning
Select Chord Type
Enter a chord root [C,F#,Bb...], select a chord type and press the Find Positions button. To harmonize melodies, you can enter a melody note in letter format [C,F#,Bb] OR degree format [3,b7,#5]. Select PowerFind to search the entire chord family for your melody note.
Slant Bar Options
Display Options

Chords to Show:

Open-String Pos:

Note Labeling:

Sorting Options:

Show Results as:


The Generic Chord Locator is a tool that allows you to locate chords commonly used for most steel guitar styles. To run a basic chord search, do the following:

  1. Select a tuning from the Select Tuning dropdown menu.
  2. Enter a chord root using normal letter notation (C, F#, Bb, ...).
  3. Select a chord type from the Select Chord Type dropdown menu.
  4. Click the Find Positions button.

I'm continuing to add to the Select Chord Type menu. If you think I've omitted an important chord in any of the chord categories shown, please let me know.

Basic Display and Filter Options

There are lots of ways to control what you're searching for and how the results are displayed.

The Search Summary

The top line of results summarizes the tuning, chord root, chord type, and some of the other settings used for the search. The line below summarizes the outcome of the search: whether or not the search succeeded, if there was a results overflow, and the number of results displayed.

Slant Bar Options

You can filter the search results by checking or unchecking the Slant Bar Option settings. You must select at least one option. To get the most hits, use all the options. Here's what the options do:

Chords to Show

In the Display Options area of the search form, you can choose whether to display Dyads (two-note chords), Triads, Quartads+ (4-note chords or larger), or any combination of these. You must choose at least one. This gives you much more control over chord types than the previous version. By default, Triads are pre-selected.

A new feature is the Hide Positions Above Fret 12 checkbox. This is useful because, more often than not, positions above fret 12 simply mirror results shown an octave below, cluttering up the results.

Open String Positions

Open string positions are positions that contain at least one open string and at least one fretted note. They are pretty abstract and hard to visualize, and often hard to play. There are 3 open string options in the Display Options area of the search form:

Tip: If the Omit option produces no results or very few, try the Include or Show Only option.

Note Labeling

You can choose to label your results with note names or chord degrees, or you can choose to omit labels (chord degrees is the default option).

Sorting Options

Display Options

You can show your search results as either Tablature (the default option) or Fretboards. Note that fretboards are much improved over previous versions and take up way less space. Note also that if you select Fretboards, open string positions will be colored tan, a nice visual aid.

Advanced Filter Options

Setting the Melody Note

When harmonizing melodies with chords, it's very useful to locate chords that have your melody note on top. Enter the melody note in the Melody Note field using either letters (C, F#, Db...) or chord degrees (1,3,#5,b7...).

Using PowerFind

Searching on a Melody Note often produces no results. This is where the PowerFind option comes in. PowerFind takes the chord type you are using (Major 9th, for example) and adds chords from its larger chord family, which can provide playable alternatives to your selected chord type. The following are the chord families used in PowerFind:

So, for example, if you are looking for C Major 9th chords with a G on top, do the following:

  1. Enter C in the Chord Root field.
  2. Choose Major 9th from the Select Chord Types menu.
  3. Enter 'G' or '5' in the Melody Note field.
  4. Press the Find Positions button to view the results.
  5. To use PowerFind, check the PowerFind checkbox and rerun the search, which will include chords from the other Major chord types (Simple Major, Major 6th, Major 7th, etc.).