Using the Visual Chord Builder

One area that’s always dogged the UkeGeeks song editor (aka “Song-a-Matic”) has been custom chords. Until now the only way you’ve been able to define your own chords has been by hand typing klunky ChordPro “define” tags. Sure, it gets the job done, but who can remember the syntax? (trust me on this, I’ve the memory of a gnat and am always referring back to the documentation).

Chord-Builder-Editor-Overview

  1. Chord Name. Should match the chord names you’ve used within your song [ChordName]
  2. Add Dots. Pick this tool to draw dots on the fretboard. Clicking on an existing dot deletes it.
  3. Set Fingers. Pick this tool to add the recommended finger to an existing dot. 1 to 4 correspond to index through pinkie finger. Repeat clicking a dot removes the finger number from that dot. Click the tool to cycle through the fingers. The “zero finger” removes finger numbers.
  4. Starting Fret. The number of the first fret on the diagram.
  5. Slide Up. Moves all dots “up” (towards the top of the diagram) by one fret.
  6. Slide Down. Moves all dots “down” by one fret (towards the bottom of the diagram)
  7. Chord Diagram. This is your drawing surface. Click with either the Dot or the Finger tool.
  8. ChordPro Define Tag. This is the chord definition statement that will be added to your song.

Here’s a transcript of the video:

Today I’ll be showing you the visual Chord Builder.

The Chord Builder allows us to draw a chord diagram, give it a name, and have it included in our songs. Let’s try it out.

When we open the Chord Builder we’re presented with our familiar fretboard. As you can see no fingering position dots have been added to it yet, so let’s draw a “B major” chord by clicking on the fretboard where we want dots.

If we make a mistake clicking a second time removes the dot.

That’s it!

Now, of course, there’s a bit more to this. It’s also helpful to indicate which fingers one might use on each dot. We do this by changing to the Finger Tool.

As you know, 1 corresponds to your index finger and 4 indicates your pinkie.

To choose a different finger just click on the Finger Tool once more — it cycles through the fingers. The “zero” finger clears dots.

You might have noticed that the tool palette remains open while we’re using the Finger Tool to make it easier for us to quickly change and “paint” fingers on our dots.

I actually prefer playing my B chord by nutting that second fret, so I’m going to add some more dots.

And let’s assign our index finger to these as well.

Since our B chord is a closed chord shape we can actually slide it up and down the fret to create C or C# or D, etc. When we go off the bottom of the fretboard notice that the Chord Builder automatically bumps up the starting fret for us.

You’ve undoubtedly noticed that funny looking text being generated down below. That’s the ChordPro define tag, this is what the Chord Builder generates for us, and trust me, the Builder is a time saver compared to memorizing this syntax.

So far we’ve just been demoing the stand-alone Chord Builder, let’s jump over to a real song and see how it’s integrated into the Song-a-matic Editor.

I already have a song here that uses an “inverted G” chord that is not part of the Uke Geeks chord library, so I’ll need to define it. I click Edit and you see that there’s a new option, “Chord Builder”, on the Editor window. It comes up with a list of any already defined custom chords… in this case you see that I’ve already defined a “C add 9”. To add a chord click “Add” and — there’s our editor.

Once defined I click the “Add” button and there! the song’s updated and you see my definition’s been added to the list. Clicking again allows me to edit the chord. I may click Cancel to to abandon my edits and return to the chord listing.

I may also click this icon to delete a chord definition.

Click the close button and we’re back to the Song Editor window.

I hope this quick overview was helpful and, even more, I hope you’ll have fun playing with the Chord Builder.

Until next time, thanks for watching and, as always, send me your feedback and feature requests.

ChordBuilder-demo-screenshot

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