For help with Chordious 2.0-2.6, see Chordious WPF Help.

For help with Chordious 1.0, see Classic Chordious Help.

Video Tutorials


  1. General
  2. Installation and Releases
  3. Image Formats
  4. Common Issues

1. General

What is Chordious?

Chordious is a free and open-source app for generating fretboard diagrams for fretted stringed instruments.

Why are you giving this away for free?

I enjoy making software. I especially enjoy making software that people find useful. I am also a strong supporter of the Free Culture Movement. All creative works are built on the shoulders of others, and no person can claim to have created anything without having been inspired, influenced, or taught by the work of those before them. My software benefits from my access to others’ code, and so that’s why I release all of my software for free and under Open Source Licenses.

Can I pay you something anyway?

I’m really not looking to make any money off of Chordious. But if you feel like spending some money, feel free to donate to a music-related charity like Hungry For Music.

Why can’t Chordious do XYZ?

If you have an idea for a feature that you’d like to see in Chordious, feel free to drop me a line. If it makes sense I’ll try to get it into the backlog.

2. Installation and Releases

Why do I get a security warning when trying to install Chordious?

If you’re running Windows 7 or greater, you may be blocked from installing Chordious by SmartScreen. If a dialog pops up about ChordiousSetup.msi not being safe, you have a couple options:

  • Windows 7: Uncheck the box labeled “Always ask before opening this file” and click “Run”.
  • Windows 8: Click on the “More Info” link and then click “Run anyway”.
  • Windows 10: Check the box labeled “I understand the risk and want to run this app” and then click “Run anyway”.

Read more about SmartScreen here:

3. Image Formats

What are SVG images?

Short answer: SVG images don’t get blurry when you resize them. You can take a single SVG, shrink it to a postage stamp, or blow it up to a poster, and the lines will be crisp, clean, and beautiful.

Long answer: SVG images are vector-graphics, unlike the raster image formats you’re probably used to dealing with like JPG, PNG, or GIF. The difference is in how they store a given picture: raster images save the picture as you see it, vector-graphics instead save the instructions for how to redraw it. JPGs are great for photos – SVGs are great for line-art, or really anything you could describe with simple shapes. In the case of Chordious, chord diagrams are very easy to describe in those terms – boxes with lines and circles on them with a little text.

That simplicity is really powerful, because it means if you want to scale an SVG, your computer can “do the math” and simply redraw the diagram at any size and still end up with a sharp, beautiful picture.

To see this in action, open one of the SVG chord diagrams with your favorite web browser. Now zoom in a ton, and you’ll see how sharp the lines remain, at any size. This makes it easy for you to say, use the images on a letter-sized handout, then blow those exact same images up to put on a wall poster and not have to worry about the images becoming all blurry.

Try that with your JPG, GIF, and PNGs!

And of course, if you really need your images in another format, Chordious can output to JPG and PNG too.

4. Common Issues

Why am I not getting any results in the Chord Finder?

Short answer: The Chord Finder only searches for the exact search parameters you’ve selected. Double-check your search parameters aren’t limiting your results and try again.

Long answer: There are two main reasons why you’re not getting any results:

The most common reason you’re not seeing any results is that you’re looking for a chord that cannot actually be played on the instrument you have selected. The instrument needs at least as many strings as there are notes in the chord quality.

For example, the 4-string ukulele cannot play a 5-note Major 9th chord. So why do diagrams exist for playing Major 9th chords on ukulele? Because those diagrams are only partial chords – the creator has selectively chosen to leave out certain notes, on the premise that it “sounds close enough” or, in a band setting, that other instruments will be filling in the missing notes. Technically however, the diagram is mislabeled – removing notes means you’re now playing a different chord.

Leaving out notes based on it “sounding close enough” is a subjective act and something a program like Chordious can’t do well. However, you can make Chordious do so if you really want. The “Allow Rootless Chords” option does a common trick where musicians specifically leave out the root note, and our brains “hear” them anyway. The “Allow Partial Chords” option will simply return chords with notes missing. In either of these cases, there’s no guarantee that the chords will sound correct.

Now, if you’ve already addressed the issue above and are still not getting any results, then you’re probably performing too restrictive of a search. By default Chordious assumes that you’re okay with open and muted strings, that you’re not playing above the 12th fret, and that you’re not reaching your fingers across more than 4 frets. Playing with these options can drastically increase (or decrease) the number of results you get.

Why do I keep getting an error message?

If you’re seeing an error message that doesn’t make sense or isn’t addressed elsewhere on this page, drop me a line. It’ll be even more helpful if you include the error details (click on the little “Details” arrow in the error dialog) in your email.

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