Show HN: I created a game to memorize the fretboard

258 points by udit99 12 days ago

Hey guys I've been playing the guitar for many years but I felt like I had hit a wall and wasnt making progress. One of the things I realized was holding me back was unfamiliarity with the fretboard. I'd often find myself in situations like

“Uhh…Where’s the C# here?”

“Where’s the flat-3rd of this root on the 4th string?”

“Sure would be nice to know the closest min7 triad shape to play over here..”

I tried memorizing the fretboard the obvious way but it extreeemly boring for me. Being a developer, I decided to turn it into a game. I'd love for you guys to try it out and let me know what you think: It's at [](

I've only built the first module right now which is for note memorization but there's been enough interest that I'm planning on building more modules. Please let me know if you like it, what you'd change about it and what other modules you'd like to see in future.

The stack is Vue 3/Nuxt 3/Firebase/Firestore/Tailwind deployed on Vercel. Happy to field questions on the tech side of things as well

i_c_b 12 days ago

I like the general idea - I would like a game tool like this.

(and before I give my feedback, I should say, I spent a year or two working on a solo indie Zelda/Diablo mishmash focused on teaching guitar fretboards and music theory back in 2006-2009. A video of that incomplete game is here: . It relied on players playing intervals and chords to cast spells, for both fighting and puzzle solving, in an ARPG real-time context. I had to pause development due to life, but I'm desperately hoping to find a way to finish and ship it.)

Anyway, I think that your game is... well, really, really hard. More specifically, it feels like it gives a lot of negative feedback right from the get go.

If it were me, I would probably add substantially more scaffolding early on - pull from a smaller section of the fretboard at first for the player to master and get more positive feedback, then expand from there in much more incremental steps. I also feel like the timer feels pretty harsh and negative at the beginning. I've played guitar for many years but have, myself, not really memorized all the higher notes on all the higher strings, so I'm actually receptive for what this tool is doing. But running out of time and then losing a life while I'm trying to count off notes feels frustrating, like it's actively interrupting me doing the learning activity I'm there to do.

Hope that helps! As I say, I like the general idea and would love to see a more fleshed out version.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    your video of the game looks pretty awesome. I assume you're a game dev. Not being one myself, it looks very....elaborate and hard to build for someone with my skills.

    Regarding your feedback...yeah, I've gotten that feedback a lot. Thats part of the reason why I built the practice mode. Did you get a chance to try it? It doesnt have the timer and you can take your time counting notes to get better. And my favorite part: You can pick and choose what frets and strings you want to focus on.

    But your point still stands: There is a need for a gentler introduction and I do have that in mind: A Duolingo style Spaced repetition approach that starts off with 5-7 notes a day and builds up from there. Once you're done with the course, you can play the game to reinforce and test the concepts. What do you think?

    • i_c_b 12 days ago

      Yeah, I have a deep game development background (both in industry and as an indie dev), but I've also worked closely for a number of years on building learning game prototypes with education professors from UW-Madison and CMU. So this is a space I'm super interested in.

      I actually had added a comment that I ended up deleting about Duolingo (and Dragonbox, another educational game that I think structures learning pretty nicely). I was going to add the reference specifically because of their spaced repetition and incremental addition of skills, but then I deleted the comment because, well, those games are pretty elaborate, too, and I was mindful of the scope you looked like you were aiming for.

      • udit99 12 days ago

        TBH, Im so high off of building something that finally gets some traction instead of sinking into oblivion that I'm freely making grand plans of building elaborate features instead of aggressively limiting scope like I really should. Oh well...this will fade anyways, let me have my dream roadmap for now.

    • blopker 12 days ago

      If it helps, I did try the practice mode, but still found it frustrating. I was hoping when I got the wrong note it would not only show me the correct one, but also show me all the notes at the same time. That would help me correct my logic around why I picked the wrong one. That would also help me memorize the patterns.

  • ch71r22 12 days ago

    I would love to get sucked into learning guitar with a game like that. I think there's an untapped niche for educational games with the depth, progression, and addictive aspects of RPGs. Hope you get the chance to resume development

    • criddell 12 days ago

      Rocksmith is kind of like that. You plug an electric guitar into your game console and play games with the guitar.

      I really wish they would come out with an updated version for the PS5.

  • XCSme 11 days ago

    I had the idea for a very similar game, using notes/chords/arpeggios to attack enemies, wanting to first make it for the piano (MIDI). My idea was somewhat simpler, maybe a 2d vertical scroller.

soledades 12 days ago

This is really cool, thanks for sharing.

The Tenuto app has some similar exercises (also available here: you might take inspiration from, or others might find useful:

- fretboard interval identification. shows two dots on the fretboard, you are supposed to indicate the interval between them. this is useful for bridging the gap between audio interval recognition and actually playing by ear. since you already have the functionality for selecting notes - which the Tenuto app does not - a useful extension would be to have it where the app presents a note and an interval, and you select the note that is that interval distance from that note on the fretboard.

- fretboard chord indentification. shows multiple dots on the fretboard, you are supposed to indicate what chord it is. the tenuto app doesnt have the functionality for you to indicate what the inversion is. you could also do a similar extension where the fretboard has some notes selected and a chord display, and you select the rest of the notes needed to complete the chord.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    I loooove Tenuto, its awesome. I honestly never used it for guitar stuff, more like ear training. I'll check it out, thanks

kavouras 11 days ago

Hi, first of all congrats for your effort, but I think this is hitting a little bit on the HN information/app hoarder mentality for many commenters and not from people actually planning to use it. I don't think that there is an extreme amount of transfer from learning the fretboard on your website and on the guitar, as there is a different context from using your mouse to select a note on a image representation of the fretboard and on a real guitar. I don't think it wouldn't work, but it would be much better if there was an actual guitar involved, like using the microphone to identify if the user played the correct note on a real guitar.

  • udit99 11 days ago

    Hey I personally think there's at least a 90%+ transfer rate. Whether thats extreme or not is left to your judgement. When I navigate the fretboard, a LOT of my navigation is done visually (based on the dot inlays, notes from other strings etc). If you want to know how much of your fretboard navigation is visual, try playing a guitar with no inlays and you can quickly find out.

    Playing this game is forcing you to use those immediate visual cues to memorize the notes and that part transfers really well. The bit thats missing is

    1) The game's perspective is artifical. Noone looks at their guitar like that. Thankfully our brains our fully capable of maintaining spatial orientation while handling perspective shift. You can stand in the middle of Manhattan , look at google maps and translate a squiggly blue line to a 3 dimensional navigation path that looks nothing like it. Fretboard navigation isnt that much different from Manhattan navigation if you think about it.

    2) There's a lot that I know about my guitars from just the sense of touch. 4th string 2nd fret (E) feels very comfortable under my fingers. 3rd string 2nd fret (A) does not. The string cuts into my finger because its still thick but its not coiled. The same string on the 12th fret feels very different because of the tension and the raised action. All that sensory data associated with each note is lost when you use a poor facsimile like a computer game to substitute a real world concept. Which is why I view this as a supplement and not a substitution

    Microphones...yeah...more work..more complexity for fewer gains IMHO. I view this as app as great for squeezing guitar time when you're without a guitar: Eating lunch at office desk, commuting by train/bus etc. That part gets lost with the microphone business

    Anyways, long rant. Let me know what you think

    Sorry that was a long rant.

danhau 12 days ago

Neat! I’m having some issues with how things are displayed on my iPhone. The low E string wasn‘t reachable for me.

Musically speaking, I never really understood the point of knowing the notes on the fretboard. Scales, intervals and chords are waaaaay more useful to know. But I‘m self taught, so what do I know?

  • indigoabstract 12 days ago

    If you know the notes on the fretboard, you can easily(with practice ofc) pick up the melody in any song, and build/reconstruct the chords from there to learn the song.

    To me, it's easier to learn a song this way than by reading guitar tabs or notes.

  • laratied 10 days ago

    This is actually a bug of tabs that you don't even care what notes are being played.

    I think it is why so often I hear people play and the strings aren't even tuned. "Who cares, it is just numbers on a finger board game." mindset.

    No one on any other instrument ever would say musically, who cares what the notes are.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    Hi there Can you send me a screenshot and tell me what iPhone it is?

    I see fretboard orientation as relying on multiple techniques: 1. Notes 2. Intervals 3. Scale patterns

    Notes are not the only way to orient but they're a start. I'm planning on adding more modules about intervals pretty soon

  • rtsil 12 days ago

    If you know the intervals, then you know where all the notes are on the fretboard! You're like Monsieur Jourdain, who mastered prose without even realizing it.

royaltjames 11 days ago

This is awesome. As a complete noob, it would be nice to hear the correct note once I swat the fly. There isn't a lot of positive reinforcement with this and it's really hard

  • udit99 11 days ago

    I originally had it so that tapping the correct note used to play the note instead of at the beginning and people requested it this way. Did you have the audio on? I feel like there's two bits of positive reinforcement in place: 1. Your point score appears and floats away 2. A "correct answer" sound plays

    What would you change about this? If you replace the "correct answer" sound with the sound of the note, the positive reinforcement sound gets weakened. Because you hear a different sound every time you hit the correct answer. Its like training Pavlov's dog for different bell sounds instead of the same bell sound.

noveltyaccount 11 days ago

> “Uhh…Where’s the C# here?”

> The stack is Vue 3/Nuxt 3/Firebase/Firestore/Tailwind deployed on Vercel.

Legit disappointed that you missed the opportunity to write this in C#

awhitty 12 days ago

Looks great! I like the idea of focusing on highlighted regions at a time. I spent some time exploring similar form factors for learning the fretboard, focusing intervals and shapes more than the notes themselves (link below) - I implemented a two-step drag-and-release gesture with visual feedback for selecting positions on a mobile device, and I think it helps avoid frustrating mis-taps. Maybe something to consider for your UI as well. The additional modules look interesting! Bookmarked.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    This is great. Thanks for sharing.I do have stuff in mind thats very similar but a bit of a different form factor. I havent tried your app on mobile so I dont know about the two step thing but I'm excited to take a look

    Thank you for appreciating the app, its sweeter coming from someone who's built something similar. Also, btw, dont forget to sign up for updates to stay up to date on when new modules are released. Cheers

syntheweave 11 days ago

I will critique the training method.

The way the game is presented is as a kind of flash card app: Guess and check. That can work - spaced repetition has been demonstrated to work for symbolic knowledge.

However...the way in which we learn this kind of skill - which is also a muscle memory skill - is not in consciously making a guess "I think it's E here" as we play, it's in "monkey see, monkey do" - associating motion with an idea, and generalizing on that. We know how to "walk to the left" without guessing. That's why musicians play so many scales and arpeggios.

So when the game presents a randomized grabbag of question-answer knowledge demonstration, there's no preparatory step that would contextualize it in a relationship to a motion like "travel through all positions of E". You just grind through punishment until you figure it out. That's always been a problem with educational software because it's often difficult to successfully isolate a concept into a motion - if presented with lots of information we'll pick up on the most obvious cues and ignore the other parts that we might need to rely upon for a full memory.

Find a way of presenting an isolated pattern followed by the current knowledge demonstration, and the software will probably be 10x as effective.

aetherane 11 days ago

I always found it best to learn a few notes and then use intervals to find others. Eventually you will learn their absolute positions too

brylie 11 days ago

Perhaps the first level of the game should start closer to the nut in the campfire zone. This is an important zone to understand and shows wear on many guitars. Players then use that as the basis to venture into open wilderness, e.g., by using octave patterns to identify matching notes on different frets.

  • howLongHowLong 11 days ago

    This very much! I wasted so much time trying to "memorize" the fretboard. It comes naturally by practicing music. Almost all of it began from knowing just the low E string and applying first octave patterns, then other intervals as I understood what they were. Without musical context, it's not really all that useful to know how to instantly name a note on a fret. Maybe finding octaves quickly, given a starting note, could be useful in the time-based game realm.

codegladiator 12 days ago

Sounds good. Jumping all over the fretboard makes it hard since I am beginner so I don't know any notes.

I tried setting up the filter, Frets 0-3 and string 1/2/3, but either I am doing something wrong or it doesnt respect the filter, the next note would still go outside the filter range.

Have bookmarked it.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    the ui control is wonky...colored means unselected, black means selected (I had it the other way round and people complained so I flipped it). Make sure you have the right selections if you're not seeing it work right. I will fix it soon and make a more intuitive interface Let me know if if fixes your problem Thanks

    • codegladiator 12 days ago

      Oh that explains it. Tried it again, much usable now.

      • udit99 12 days ago

        Im kicking myself for not fixing it before I released (I kept delaying this release for weeks on some pretext or the other and had to force myself to release it today)

spondylosaurus 12 days ago

I was gonna ask about a bass version but poked around in settings and found the option to toggle it—glad you didn't forget about us :)

My one suggestion there, then, is to perhaps make the guitar/bass toggle more prominent to grab the attention of four-string aficionados.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    Glad you found it!! Noted. Once I have more time, I might build a bit of a new user walkthrough. Keep me posted it if you have more feedback Thanks

    • AdmiralAsshat 12 days ago

      Another bass player here--very glad to see the option!

      The PS3/X360 instrument training game "Bandfuse" (which had the misfortune of coming out around the same time as RockSmith and went bankrupt within like a year of release) had a really great circle-of-fifths training mode...but only for guitar. :(

      • udit99 12 days ago

        I mean, if you find me a video that shows how it worked, I could eventually build it (for both guitar and bass).

    • someweirdperson 12 days ago

      Basses with 5 strings are relatively common, and even basses with 6 strings are available off the shelf.

      An option to disable the display of the name of the key would make it a nice game for ear training.

      • udit99 12 days ago

        Yeah, its just that I have to pareto-prioritize. The more time I spend on more niche market features, it takes away time from features that 80% of the people want. I'd rather come back around once I have a fully functional product for guitar players and then start serving the custom tunings, the alternate instruments and so on..

  • askvictor 12 days ago

    I'd use this for mandolin and ukulele if there were those options (there are more 4-string instruments than just bass!)

    • udit99 11 days ago

      I would like to finish all the modules for the guitar before I venture into other instruments. The bass so far has been kindof easy..just hide a couple strings :)

indigoabstract 12 days ago

I like it, it's a great idea, at least in theory.

I did something similar to the 'practice mode' some years ago, just for myself, did not publish it. I used the The Synthesis ToolKit (STK) C++ library for the guitar sounds.

In the end, I didn't use it all that much, but I still believe in the idea. Maybe it's just hard to find the best expression/execution.

One idea that comes to mind is to highlight or find the different voicings/aliases and octaves for a given note, since most notes on guitar have at least 3-4 or four equivalents.

Another idea would be to color code the notes on the fretboard. Again, it's been tried before, but maybe there's a reasonably good way to make it stick into visual memory.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    Thats a great idea about the voicings...I might build that as a separate module

    I think you should publish it if you still have the code...make it open source on Github and see if other people are interested in taking the idea forward

    • indigoabstract 12 days ago

      Yes, that could be an idea. Thanks for the encouragement.

ZoomZoomZoom 12 days ago

Am I the only one finding this fretboard representation not jiving with their mental model? The thing is, I'm no Jeff Healey, so I never place the neck before me this way. Generally, I look down only to correct my longitudinal position, and then I just place my fingers in the right place. At the moment of actual finger placement I don't really visualize the fretboard, but I kind of see/feel it through the neck outward of my body.

Also, the unnatural trapezoid shape of the board throws me off a bit too.

BTW, I don't believe the reversed vertical orientation makes it any better for me. Looks like I just use my spatial orientation and tactile facilities, not visual.

maroonblazer 11 days ago

Is it necessary to learn the notes on the fretboard?

I grew up playing piano, so the keyboard is my reference. Years later, learning the fretboard has been less about learning which string/fret combination sounds a given note, but instead, given a certain chord:

1. where is the root of that chord, and with that as my anchor...

2. where is the 3rd, 5th, and 7th of that chord? Only once I can easily find those three intervals...

3. where is the 9th, 11th, and 13th. Finally, the sharps/flats of all of the above.

When it comes to organizing all of this across the fretboard, I've found the heptatonic approach to the fretboard to make the most sense and the most economical. YMMV.

  • brylie 11 days ago

    Agreed that learning intervals and chord tone degrees is important. It is indeed supported by having familiarity with the underlying notes since they comprise the chords and scales.

    Learning the fretboard helps players to find chords and chord inversions further up the neck. For example, the player knows they can move the E shape to the barre A position, which preserves all of the interval relationships from a new root.

    Knowing the fretboard notes is a bit like playing in daylight rather than campfire darkness.

pstuart 12 days ago

I like the idea but one small UI request -- allow inverting the string layout please. I visualize from the top down (EADGBE) and it would be easier (for me) to practice in that mode.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    I asked a grandchild comment this...but is this what you mean?

    • udit99 12 days ago

      Because if it is...I could probably do it really easily but it hurts my brain to orient myself on this fretboard and Im genuinely curious about how this makes sense to anyone

      (FWIW I had the same reaction with building the left-handed fretboard )

      • ksherlock 12 days ago

        When you're playing the guitar and look down at the neck, which string is on top?

        • udit99 12 days ago

          Ahhh...I think I get it. I think you're asking for the "Guitar Teacher view" like you would see the fretboard when the guitar is in someone else's hands or just propped up sideways. I get it.So this view:


    • pstuart 12 days ago

      Actually I envision it as having the nut on the right. But maybe I'm just weird that way ;-)

      • udit99 12 days ago

        Sorry I made a mess of the thread with all my different comments. But would this be what you're talking about?

        • pstuart 12 days ago

          That's a bingo!

          • udit99 12 days ago

            you got it boss...I'll get it done by next week. Check back again in a week and yell at me if it's not done. Any idea what this view should be called? Mirror view? 2nd person fretboard view?

  • udit99 12 days ago

    ooohh...thats a new one. Are you left handed? Have you tried the left handed mode? Would that help? Is there anything unusual about how you play the guitar?

    Honestly, on first thought I'll keep this one on the backburner until more people ask for it

    • jessmartin 12 days ago

      Same request. I really struggled to use it because I’m only ever looking “down” at my fretboard with the low E at the “top”. When I tried to hold my iPhone in that orientation, it flipped on me.

      I had trouble mapping from your visual to my actual guitar. (I’m an intermediate player as well)

      • udit99 7 days ago

        FYI now there's a toggle under settings for "Front View Fretboard" that may be helpful. Let me know if it works out for you.

      • udit99 12 days ago you're requesting something slightly different from the other poster right? You're requesting portrait mode if im not mistaken.

        I got that request a few times as well...and I honestly tried but I cannot make it work. I might seek out pro frontend help to help me out here.

        If I misunderstood your request, could you explain a bit further? When you say low on this what you mean?

        • pajama_garrison 12 days ago

          Just to add to the confusion, I would be really interested in a mode where everything is completely upside-down, including the text. Basically, my instinct was to hold my phone as if it's the neck of the guitar, and look down at it to simulate the perspective of playing guitar. If the whole game was flipped upside-down, this would work really naturally.

    • pstuart 12 days ago

      Nopes, I'm a righty. I'm normal in that I don't practice or play enough ;-)

  • abecode 12 days ago

    or make the neck vertical instead of horizontal. I found myself craning my neck to look at it that way.

    • udit99 12 days ago

      I ran into a lot of problems with vertical mode. Turns out just doing a CSS transform is not enough. It creates a lot of layout problems.

      And on the other end, doing it vertical from the ground up would be a ton of work from scratch because of the way it's written

davesque 12 days ago

Hey I love this! Although there are some issues in the first game with touches not registering and also the entire play board not being visible.

I think what other people are saying about graded difficulty is also true. I have a degree in classical guitar performance. So I did fine. But I've had the fret board memorized for years. Unless there were settings I missed that could restrict the play area, I don't think most would be able to use this very effectively as a learning tool.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    I'll work on the touches not registering bit: Was it desktop or mobile?

    There is in fact a restricted play area: Go to "Practice" and click the filter icon on the top can choose frets and strings to focus on

    • davesque 12 days ago

      It was on mobile. Android pixel 6. Brave browser (which is chromium I think). Great, good to know that beginners can do practice mode. Sorry I didn't explore that before commenting.

      • udit99 12 days ago

        dont be sorry, I didnt make it very obvious. I mean there's no landing page or new user walkthrough in this app so im just glad if people find their around

groby_b 12 days ago

Neither the fact that it completely hijacks the back button, nor the fact that it plays sounds without consent does anything to endear this to me. I'd suggest giving those areas a bit of polish :)

As a practical question for how you learn guitar, it might also be a good idea to show notation instead of the name of the note (or both, or a choice). The number of times you need to find a note by name in guitar playing is... rare.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    Hey there I dont think it hijacks the back button. Let me know where you're seeing this behavior. If by hijack the back button you mean standard SPA behavior where the routing is handled by the app while the whole app runs on the same html file then yeah, thats a _very_ common and standard way of building apps these days

    Audio without permission...yeah I can see that being inconvenient even though its not like autoplaying a youtube video (It's just 1 note)

    Notation doesnt seem as popular these days as tabs are, so it was an intentional decision

    I personally find notes on the fretboard all the time but I guess there are as many ways of playing the guitar as there are opinions.

    If I may gently poke some fun at this comment, this is the most Hacker News comment I've gotten in this thread so far :). I hope you know what I mean

aendruk 12 days ago

What I see when trying to play the game:

  • udit99 12 days ago

    oh man....its somehow triggering the mobile device check to enforce landscape mode. Easiest fix is to drag the bottom edge up to make it more "landscapey" and it'll go away. I really should check for the desktop before I enforce the tilt device thing

    • thraxil 12 days ago

      I get the same. I use a tiling window manager (sway) and monitors in portrait mode. No way I'm changing my whole screen layout just to use a particular site/game.

      • udit99 12 days ago

        If you're ok with it, I'll fix it in a few days and ping you here again.

_zachs 12 days ago

Really cool! Like i_c_b mentioned my only feedback is that, even in the practice mode, there's a lot of negative feedback.

I'd recommend adding a step to the practice mode where whatever highlighted region of the fretboard you're practicing has all of the notes visible, and then over time the notes are taken away as you build up your memorization.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    Noted! Thank you! I'm planning on building a Duolingo style spaced repetition system for this. I really wanted to work on more modules like Intervals and Triads (for selfish reasons) but enough people have made the point you made that I think its logical to address the issue.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    Could you talk a bit about the negative feedback in practice mode? Is it the unpleasant buzzing when you tap the wrong note? What would be an alternative?

hinkley 12 days ago

There’s a simpler way this is done, where there’s a long narrow sticker that goes on the neck of the instrument. I can’t seem to find the right picture. The internet has stickers that go on the body, or between the frets, but my friend found a ribbon sticker and used them when learning ukulele.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    My daddy used to say, there's as many ways of learning guitar technique as there's lost picks in the universe :) Ok I made that up, but the point stands. At the end of the day, whatever works for you is the best solution

    Having said that, I've spent the last few years reading up on memory retention, SRS and using Anki a lot for languages and what I've found is that Recall is extremely important for increasing the strength of the memory. With stickers and ribbons, the notes are right there for you. Like training wheels. Never challenging you to recall. Keeping you coming back for more of that ribbon help. get the idea.

    • hinkley 12 days ago

      I think I may be the only person in the world who owns exactly one uke. Zero or two seem to be more common, and I think this person has four or five now.

      If you put stickers everywhere I’d agree that’s a crutch. But maybe one instrument is not so bad.

      • udit99 12 days ago

        yeah, thats a good point. Like having 1 bike with training wheels and others without. That could work

webprofusion 11 days ago

Great idea! - Name the chord (maybe give multiple choice) would be good - Popular tunings would be good perhaps as a hard mode. Fining G on standard tuning is one thing, but if you're tuned to D or playing a 7 string, things get interesting.

  • udit99 11 days ago

    yeah, this might be the brainier people bias of Hacker News but there's been a lot of requests for alternate tunings. I might just give in and build it one of these days :).

    Name a Chord with multiple choice is a great idea. Adding it to the list

soperj 12 days ago

Obviously this would be a ways into it, but it would be nice for those who play in different tunings to be able to change the notes. I've got the fret board (mostly) memorized for standard, but not for alternate tunings.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    I've got this request a lot. And honestly its not too hard to implement for this module but it would make other modules reallly hairy. I might implement it in a way that it only applies to certain modules.

    One question: Would a dropdown of tuning options(Standard/DADGAD,Drop D) be enough or is there a strong case to be made for user customized tunings per string?

    • hnaccount141 12 days ago

      I spend a lot of time experimenting with atypical tunings that wouldn't be captured in a dropdown, and I could see this being really a useful tool for learning my way around tunings where there isn't much existing repertoire to pull from. It's a super niche usecase though, you'd probably cover 99% of players needs with just Standard, drop d, DADGAD, open C and maybe open D.

      • soperj 12 days ago

        I'm in the same boat as hnaccount141, I play around with a lot of non standard, and agree that a drop down would probably cover a lot of peoples use cases.

        • udit99 11 days ago

          noted, thank you

      • udit99 12 days ago

        Good to know, thank you!

XCSme 11 days ago

I like it, my first reaction: wow, level zero is hard. I would rather have level zero not time-based. Or at least slowly fade-in some hints (like show another random note on the fretboard for guiding).

  • udit99 11 days ago

    Try the practice area, it has no timer and you can select strings and notes to focus on. And stay tuned and sign up for updates if you can, I'll build a kinder, gentler learning module to go with the game

fnord77 12 days ago

be nice if there was a "learning" mode where it shows you where things are and then quizzes you.

like that game "Memory" or Simon says.

Also this is training you visually. wouldn't it be better to train you by feel?

  • udit99 12 days ago

    Absolutely, you're totally right about the learning mode. I've got that request a lot since I released it and I plan to build that in once I build some more modules: A spaced-repetition based module that teaches you the notes a few at a time. Kindof like Duolingo

    The reason why I didnt make it is because I'm an intermediate player myself and I guess right now it resonates with intermediate players who mostly kindof know the notes but have a lot of blind spots. While the feature you requested is more targeted towards newer guitar players

    Re: Visual vs feel, if by feel you mean sensory input like touch and how the guitar strings feel? yeah, I totally agree. Except I cant build software to replicate that so this is about as good as it gets . That said, I still find it very valuable for making visual connections for notes and intervals

  • saad-z 12 days ago

    I was going to say the same thing! I guess tutorials could be a first step before jumping to the quiz part.

washywashy 12 days ago

If only I’d had this back when I wanted to be Steve Vai to Yngwie Malmsteen

  • udit99 12 days ago

    YOU AND ME BOTH BUDDY!!!! And for the love of god (heh!) dont forget Joe Satriani...I grew up listening to The Extremist on repeat for months

troupe 12 days ago

You might consider starting with learning the open strings, then the first fret, then second, etc. The way it works now requires a level of expertise beyond what beginners are likely to have.

But the idea looks great!

  • udit99 12 days ago

    you're totally right. I'm an intermediate player myself so I kindof built it with an intermediate bias. Did you try the practice mode? There's no timer there and you can filter it by strings and frets so you can focus on a small area of the fretboard at a time.

    But yeah, as I mentioned in a couple other comments here, I plan to build a gradual learning module using spaced repetition that starts with a few notes at a time. Does that sound better?

    • busterarm 12 days ago

      Cool tool.

      If I might make a suggestion related to the gaps that you mentioned that motivated the tool...

      It's hard to communicate the real importance of learning scales and chords at the same time. Specifically, learning all of the important scales and then building chords from those and finding more fingerable/playable voicings for them. Even going as far as removing strings and still trying to complete the scales/chords and then alternate tunings, etc. It's really a slow grind that there's no shortcut for.

      Most players skip a lot of this important early practice because it's about the furthest thing from playing songs on the guitar like they want to.

      Doing something like classical guitar lessons might be extremely helpful/humbling. Variety also helps -- I got a lot better once I started playing in multiple tunings and different kinds of guitars (#strings, baritone, etc) -- heck I'm learning the Stick right now.

      • udit99 12 days ago

        Stick = Chapman stick? Mad respect for you man. I dont think I'm smart enough to handle more stringed instruments.Especially not that thing :).

        >It's hard to communicate the real importance of learning scales and chords at the same time. Specifically, learning all of the important scales and then building chords from those and finding more fingerable/playable voicings for them. Even going as far as removing strings and still trying to complete the scales/chords and then alternate tunings, etc. It's really a slow grind that there's no shortcut for.

        YESSSS! 1000% Thats my precise motivation with this app. What I've released is just the first step. I want to do all the intervals, the triads, the chords, the get the idea.

        That slow grind you're describing is very very true. I couldnt cut it. This app is my attempt to basically get where you're at. Its not a shortcut but lets just say its the fun way to learn where you're less likely to give up.

        Not sure if you signed up for the updates but I might hit you up when I build more modules because I'd love to hear from people who're further along in the journey

    • lowercased 12 days ago

      You've mentioned practice mode a couple of times to folks. I don't see one. I see level 1a, then the rest of the levels are 'coming soon'. That's it. No practice mode.

      EDIT: it's only after you choose a level - you can 'start' or 'practice'. gotcha.

      EDIT2: alternate tunings seems to be a logical step. is that on your roadmap?

      • udit99 12 days ago

        alternate tunings have been requested quite a bit and honestly its not super hard to build for this module but things get really wonky in the further levels. I really want to pareto-prioritize and right now alternate tunings are not making the cut.

        To anyone else reading this, if alternate tunings are your thing, please leave a +1 to the parent comment or write to me on Twitter/reddit/discord, that ways I can gauge interest more accurately

        • lowercased 12 days ago

          Thanks. It's not a showstopper for me, but my brother and I are getting in to DADGAD and open G and stuff, and... it's something I think it would help folks (but we're a minority - that's why they're 'alternate' tunings!).

          • udit99 12 days ago

            I've tried DADGAD before and I loved it. Now that I think about it, thats the #1 reason why I quit playing around with alternate tunings: I would have to learn the notes and chords all over again. Ya know, I might think about it. There's a loooot more to build as you can probably tell and I dont want to overwhelm myself right now. But you've convinced me to give it a shot when the time is right I hope I'll get back to this comment one day Cheers

            • lowercased 11 days ago

              DADGAD is like the DVORAK of the guitar world. ;)

brandoniscool 10 days ago

woah. i created something similar recently. but my app lets play along by providing an easy way to interpret the chords of any song you can think of. i built a really neat interactive music player that breaks the song down by bpm, pitch, key, and (of course) a preview of the upcoming chords and when to play them.

lets collab?

  • udit99 7 days ago

    This is soo cool. Very impressive! Re: collab. I'd love to do something once I don't feel underwater with the stuff on my plate :)

vr46 12 days ago

Signed up for mailing list but app is completely broken for me on Firefox, won't start at all, couple of errors in console, but nothing in Privacy badger or Ublock.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    im sorry to hear that. I want to make sure this works for you. Could you give me a couple more details? 1. Desktop or Mobile? 2. Whats the exact behavior? Is there a button that doesnt respond? Would a screenshot help clarify? 3. If Desktop, Can you screenshot the web inspector console?

    I know I'm asking for a lot but I'd really appreciate it Thank you

    • vr46 9 days ago

      It started working! No idea, I’m going to try and fiddle with the browser and try to break it again. I did see a few JavaScript errors in the console but not sure if they were caused by: a) my blacklisting at DNS level b) my browser plugins c) other security setup locally

      But I will let you know. Good job btw!

      • udit99 7 days ago

        Thank you and keep me posted if you run into problems

yayr 10 days ago

interesting game. I like the old Rocksmith 2014 remastered game a lot to learn guitar. It also has some mini games inside, e.g. scale racer and other stuff. The main drawback of that one is that the note names are not really shown so you don't memorize it and have to actively do it yourself.

anyway, maybe you find some inspiration from that game...

  • udit99 10 days ago

    Thank you, I’ll check it out

batch12 12 days ago

Nice work. Other instruments like Banjo would be cool too.

  • udit99 12 days ago

    Thank you! I have other instruments on my roadmap for sure....i just want to build out the full guitar version first before venturing out to other instruments.

incrudible 12 days ago

The sound when missing the note is repugnant.

  • udit99 11 days ago

    yeah, I agree. I'll fix it

cscheid 12 days ago

omg, I would pay $100 for something like this on the Chapman Stick fretboard. ("which Stick fretboard and which tuning" of course are the hard questions on said weird instrument... but 10-string Baritone Melody please? :) )

  • udit99 12 days ago

    The day I can wrap my head around a Chapman Stick Fretboard, I'll build it. This thing intimidates me. I admire Stick players from a distance :)

    • udit99 12 days ago

      Hell...if there's enough people interested in paying for a web-only version (I cant fit these many strings on a phone!!) I'll build it

      • cscheid 12 days ago

        I added my email to your mailing list, but also please feel free to reach out directly to me over email (it's on my account info).

        I put together an observablehq notebook with a Stick fretboard ( for me to work on some fingering patterns, but something like fretboardfly would be so awesome (even if it were just one side at a time). A configuration file like "string tunings + fretboard markers" would totally do it.

        • udit99 12 days ago

          Thank you! Will do

          After reading your comment I dug around to see how many Chapman Stick players there were (What's the TAM for anything targeted at Stick players..if you pardon my startup-speak). The stick subreddit seems exceptionally small: 596 members. I'm guessing there are non-reddit niche community forums with much bigger numbers to boast of.

          P.S. Mr. Hanon gets around (Started Piano lessons a few weeks ago and Hanon #1 was a part of my first lesson)

          • cscheid 12 days ago

            > After reading your comment I dug around to see how many Chapman Stick players there were (What's the TAM for anything targeted at Stick players..if you pardon my startup-speak). The stick subreddit seems exceptionally small: 596 members. I'm guessing there are non-reddit niche community forums with much bigger numbers to boast of.

            So, each Stick has a unique serial number. I got mine in 2021 and it's 6596. So that gives you an idea. I totally understand if the market isn't there.

            "There's dozens of us!"

            • udit99 12 days ago

     wayy fewer than I expected for some reason. This instrument punches above its weight when it comes to mindshare amongst musicians. Maybe it's just me

benob 12 days ago

Anything similar for piano?

  • rtsil 12 days ago

    Piano keyboard is easy to memorize since it's a repeating pattern of 7 white notes interspersed with five black notes, and you have exactly one note per location and one location per note.

    Guitar fretboard is more complicated because there's no obvious repeating pattern if you're a beginner, a single note can be found at multiple locations, and a single location can represent multiple notes if you start to bend the string. Because of that, a guitar fretboard is much harder to learn than a keyboard, but it also makes transposition (changing the key of a tune from one note to another) much easier on a guitar than on a keyboard.

    • XCSme 11 days ago

      Notes yes, easy to memorize, but it could be expanded for scales and chords.

comradesmith 12 days ago

I’m so glad you included bass and left handed mode, thank you!

  • udit99 12 days ago

    TBH Wasnt in the first version I released on the internet but I was surprised by how many people requested it

LispSporks22 12 days ago

Cool could you extend this to cello finger board?

  • udit99 11 days ago

    oh would that even work for a fretless instrument. Genuine question, not rhetorical

    • LispSporks22 9 days ago

      Well it is fretless, but really a cellist has a mental image of it and that is a “fret board”. The only difference is there’s no tactile feedback - you just get a feel for spacial placement and have to make millisecond corrections based on auditory feedback of pitch.

      This fret fly app would be super helpful to a beginning cellist. This goes for those other, lesser stringed instruments as well btw.

tempodox 12 days ago

Oh no, it runs on a timer :(

  • udit99 12 days ago

    Try the practice mode. No timer no stress!