I was looking at this question and noticed that none of the answers by four high-rep regulars uses the jTab Custom Chord Notation feature to show the chord and fingering. Instead there are notations like:

(from low E to high e): 8 X 8 9 10 10


(1, x, 1, 2, 3, x)



followed by comments like:

How exactly would you finger 554577?

which could of course be easily shown using jTab Custom Chord Notation.

Is there a specific reason we're not using jTab chords?

  • I don't think I've ever answered a question that would call for jTab here, and if I did, it would be so rare I'm not sure I'd want to take the time to learn and understand and edit the jTab just for one answer. Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 17:35
  • 1
    Minor (and maybe moot), but it doesn't render on SE mobile apps (inb4 "why are you still using mobile apps?")
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 10:46
  • @AndrewT. Interesting point. I'd been wondering whether there were any browsers or devices where jTab or ABC.js didn't work. (I guess it never works for people who have javascript switched off.) Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 14:44
  • Is there a way to make it do chords without finger indications? you're supposed to put %Fret/Finger.Fret/Finger.Fret/Finger … but can you make it just do the frets, not the fingers? Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 19:29
  • @topomorto using %Fret/.Fret/.Fret/. ... without finger numbers seems to work. You can try it out at jtab.tardate.com Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 20:22
  • @YourUncleBob %2/.0/.0/.2/.3/.2 works over there - but what have I done wrong here: music.stackexchange.com/a/86467/18896 ? Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 20:34
  • @topomorto That seems to be an annoying habit of jTab, it doesn't show the zero fret even though it could for this chord, which I agree is confusing; your image is better. Maybe this is one of the reasons that no one uses jTab. Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 20:56

3 Answers 3


I have used jTab for both chords and tablature on several of my answers in the past. Often there is some idiosyncracy that makes it a little bit frustrating, but the main pain point for me is that I only use it when I answer questions here, which means that I always have to either look at a reference or at one of my old answers to remember how to use it. My suspicion is that many users who might use jTab for answers may feel that it is more trouble than it is worth to relearn the syntax and idiosyncracies for the occasional answer that might benefit from its use.


I don't use it because it won't render in real-time when I'm entering an answer. That means repeatedly saving the post and reopening to edit. jTab has a learning curve and not being able to do WYSIWYG editing makes that learning curve too much for me to bother with.

Not when I can plaintext an answer or just take pen to paper and take a photo of it.

  • 2
    I had the same with ABC.js; not being able to see the result of what you're doing is very annoying. There are third-party sites where the result is shown immediately, so you can create the score there and then copy it over to SE, but it is cumbersome. Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 21:06
  • @YourUncleBob are there any jTab sites like that?
    – empty
    Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 21:09
  • The manual page has a "jTab this" feature, but I haven't used it. jtab.tardate.com But the ones for ABC.js like this one seem more useful; it even highlights the notes you select: abcjs.net/abcjs-editor.html Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 21:11

So my first reason for not using it was just... not knowing the syntax.

Second reason was - I couldn't find in the docs how to get chord symbols showing without fingering suggestions - but @Your Uncle Bob helped me with that - thanks.

So my final reason is - it doesn't seem to want to show things starting from the nut: enter image description here

This from How to play a D major chord lower than the open E major chord on guitar?.

If anyone can help with that, I could be a convert!

  • If you just type "D" it will show a standard diagram, but if you want to change anything (like not mute the E string or change the fingering) then you have to use the "custom chord" notation, which seems to always scroll up the neck so that the lowest fretted notes are at the top. Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 22:53
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    The rendering of chord fingerings for chords close to the nut, yet not showing the nut, is one of the idiosyncracies I can't stand. Also, that jTab examples that render on the jTab test page sometimes work differently on our site. IIRC, both o and O, and x and X should work for open and muted strings, but only one of them actually works here (uppercase, I think); getting more than two custom chord diagrams to render side-by-side seems to be an impossibility. It really is maddening. Ugh.
    – user39614
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 23:52

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