About This Site


An Odd Time To Launch

This all got started when someone asked me to try and design some images to help them make sense of guitar scales. The reason I was asked to do this is because I've spent over twenty years doing graphic design work full-time. It turns out, I'm REALLY picky about how things look. That includes guitar reference material. I'm just like any other guitarist who spends time looking up resources online. We scour the corners of the Internet looking up chord charts, scale diagrams, and anything else we can find to help make sense of our instrument. A simple Google Images search for "pentatonic scales" will return an overwhelming amount of results. Some are oriented vertical, while others are displayed horizontal. Most are basic shapes and usually black and white. All of them are simple JPGs or PNGs made to display at a specific size on the web. None of them look great once you print them out. Once you start collecting these tidbits of reference material, you quickly realize there's no consistency to be found. You grabbed some chord shapes from one website - and those scale diagrams came from another site. And before you know it, you've got a folder somewhere on your computer with a whole lot of chaos in it.

I finished designing those scale examples I was originally asked for. I decided that since every note in the scale is shared with its neighboring box, I'd make it super fancy. I split the notes shapes into different colors to show how they all connected together. Then I made examples of the scale shapes as individual boxes, and another example of how they all connected together. It turns out that really helped out the person who was asking for it. I think I managed to kick open some doors for their understanding of the instrument. That made me very happy, and I started exploring what else I could make to help a little more.

I started making even fancier scale diagrams. Then I made some designs to show how they were used to unlock different modes. Then I made a LOT more designs. At some point I decided to make some chord reference sheets. And somewhere around that time, I asked myself "What if I made all this in a vector format so it would look amazing when you printed them out?" I went looking for a resource online that did that. It turns out that resource didn't exist. I decided the online guitar community could use something like that, so started over inside Adobe Illustrator. I think I may have gotten a bit carried away.

Long story short: I made the reference material that I desperately needed when I was learning the instrument many years ago. This is the stuff I wish I had access to. This is the stuff that I believe will help other players. The most important part? It's gotta be free. This is my contribution to the online guitar community, and I'm excited to share it. So download all the parts you need, or grab all the packs. It's designed to print, so print away! Slide them into a folder to keep with your guitar case, or next to your home recording desk. Keep them handy, as there's plenty of useful stuff to explore.

I'm also offering some of the Tonetracer reference material as poster prints inside the Print Shop area of this site. I'm even featuring my own macro instrument photography available as prints as well. If you're looking for some unique art to spice up your music-making area, you might find something you like in my shop. Of course you're not obligated to buy anything to download my guitar help material. All the Tonetracer guides are 100% free, and will remain that way. You don't even have to register to download them.

Thanks for checking out the Tonetracer material. I hope it helps you unlock some new knowledge on your guitar. Be sure to bookmark this site and check back soon. I'm just getting started, and I've got quite a few more ideas for things to download. If you find this site useful, feel free to share the link on Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, or anywhere guitarists might be found. You guys spread the word, and I'll keep making stuff to download!

Thanks, Steve

Thanks for Visiting!

Hi! My name is Steve, and I'm the Art Director for a media company in Arkansas. I've been doing the design, photography, and illustration thing for over two decades. I also have a bit of a guitar obession. If you throw all that stuff together, that might explain where Tonetracer came from. This site features all my guitar education packs and instrument photography. If you want to visit my personal site, where all my other design adventures occurs, just point your browser to Pixelshock.com.

Suggested Free Guitar Resources:

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