Jixis Graphical Music Systems                               

Stringed Instrument  Version


What is a Jixis Graphical Music System for a String Fingerboard?

            A Jixis Graphical Music System for a string fingerboard is an amazingly simple and totally free way to quickly learn how to play out ordinary black and white written music on a fretted fingerboard instrument, such as a guitar, bass guitar, or mandolin, or on an unfretted fingerboard instrument, such as a violin, viola, or cello.

On this site you will be able to download a free copy of a Jixis Instruction Manual. There is one manual for a fretted fingerboard, and a separate one for an unfretted fingerboard.  Along with your manual, you will need to download the color/symbol coded Label Set sheets for your particular stringed instrument. If your instrument is not listed, there is an explanation below on how to proceed.

You are not required to apply the Jixis labels to your instrument in order to utilize the system. However, if you are using a fretted instrument, you may removably apply the labels in one of the various ways discussed in the label application instructional download discussed below. It is also possible to removably apply the labels to an unfretted fingerboard, but it is not recommended for the reasons explained in the unfretted fingerboard manual.

How do you use a Jixis Graphical Music System?

The purpose of the Jixis system is to allow you to easily graphically correlate the written notes of music to their fingering positions on your fingerboard. The Jixis graphical system uses a coded staff guide with four basic colors to denote the staff and ledger lines of the treble and bass musical staffs, along with upward and downward directional symbols from the middle-C note position. The same colors and symbols appear in the provided graphical label set for your instrument to indicate the same line and space positions as the written music staffs. The label set has two sets of numbers, one for your strings and one for the playing positions on your fingerboard. You use the system to read standard music by comparing the line or space position of a written note in the music to the color/symbol staff guide, and using the color/symbol coding on the staff guide to locate the note on your label sheet. The number sets for the coding locations then tells you where you will find the fingering positions for that note on your fingerboard.

Each color/symbol coded label directly graphically corresponds to either a specific line or position in the music, or to its next half-tone (sharped or flatted) position. Once you understand how the color/symbol coded labels operate as a graphical format that is equivalent to the graphical format of written music, you can easily understand how the written notes on the music are equivalent to the fingering positions on your fingerboard. And although the music is written in black and white, and the symbols are in color, you will find that it is a simple process to see the same color and coding sequence in the written music.

A Note Letter Name Chart is also provided with each label set. The chart will help you to learn the note letter names on your fingerboard. When you know both the note letter names and their positions in the chart (and so on your fingerboard), you will be able to bypass the graphical labels and make “octave transpositions.” In other words, you  will be able to play out the written music in terms of the note letter names, no matter where they appear on your fingerboard.  

Will Jixis replace conventional music training?

No, Jixis is not intended to replace formal fingerboard training, but rather to enhance it. Once you learn how to easily locate written music notes on your fingerboard, while learning the letter names of those notes as you play them out, you will be ready and able to learn more about playing music from a professional teacher or on your own—but by then you will already know how to read standard music and how to make octave transitions because you will know where each letter name playing position is located on your fingerboard.

 Once you become familiar with the idea of playing written music by using the graphical correspondence between the written notes and their fingering positions on your fingerboard, it becomes an easy process to learn the note names of the various playing positions and the musical note positions. Then you can begin to gradually overlook  the Jixis system and just play the fingerboard in terms of the written music. Remember that you will almost immediately be experimenting with the playing of virtually any piece of music written for the tonal range of your instrument, and not just easy play colored or numbered music.

 And you will be learning as you play! The more you play, the more you will learn about what it means to play without using the Jixis system—because your entire effort will be toward attempting to override the  system and using your playing experience to guide you.

What information does an Instructional Manual contain?

 The Instruction Manual will teach you how to use the Jixis color/symbol labels to quickly learn how to locate the fingering positions on your instrument that graphically correspond to the notes in ordinary black white written music.

There are two downloadable PDF Instruction Manuals, one for a fretted fingerboard and one for an unfretted fingerboard. Your Instruction Manual will explain to you how to utilize the downloadable Label Set sheets for your particular instrument as is, as a graphical reference guide, without applying the graphical labels to your fingerboard.

The Instruction Manual will also explain to you how basic music concepts are easily interpreted in a graphical manner, and how the color/symbol coding system is used to understand the line and space order of ordinary black and white music. Once you understand what it feels like to actually play out written music by graphical association methods, and have begun to learn the note letter names and the playing position letter names, you will find that more advanced musical theory and practical playing advice will be much easier to interpret and utilize. Although the Jixis fingerboard system applies equivalently to any stringed musical instrument, only the most commonly used stringed instruments have been included within the Jixis system at this time. The list of the stringed instruments that have been included is given below.

What if my Stringed Instrument is not on the list of available Label Sets?

             If you do not see your particular instrument name displayed in the links below, you may easily generate your own Label Set sheets using the procedure explained in the download titled Making Your Own Label Set Sheets. This download contains instructions and codings for quickly making Label Set sheets for any 4, 5 or 6 stringed fretted or unfretted string instrument fingerboard. Once you generate your instrument’s Label Set sheets you need only follow the instructions in the fretted or unfretted Instruction Manuals or Quick Start Guides to use the Jixis system with your stringed instrument. Also download a Label Set DIY sheet with the same number of strings as your instrument. 

If you wish to share your Do It Yourself instrument sheets with others via this site, forward a PDF of them to JixisGMS@aol.com and it will be added as a download link for others to use.

Making Your Own Label Set Sheet

DIY Format 4-String

DIY Format 5-String

DIY Format 6-String

Quick Start Guide for Fretted and Unfretted Fingerboards

If you are already generally familiar with basic music concepts and the various parts of your fretted or unfretted stringed instrument, you may want to refer instead to the Quick Start Guide links just below. If you are not familiar with basic music concepts and the various parts of your fretted or unfretted stringed instrument, you might want to begin your adventure with Jixis by downloading the appropriate Instruction Manual.

Quick Start Guide for a Fretted Fingerboard

Quick Start Guide for an Unfretted Fingerboard


If you have a fretted instrument, start here:

First download the Instruction Manual, and then download the Label Set Sheets for your particular instrument: 

Instruction Manual for a Fretted Stringed Instrument

Label Set Sheets for:

Guitar  (Also see the notes further below for an alternate download)

Bass Guitar  (Also see the notes further below for an alternate download)

Banjo (4 String) 

Banjo (5 String)         

Baritone Ukulele




If you have an unfretted instrument, start here:

First download the Instruction Manual, and then download the Label Set Sheets for your particular instrument: 

Instruction Manual for an Unfretted Stringed Instrument

Label Set Sheets for: 






Alternate Guitar and electric Bass Label Set Downloads

The Jixis label sets for fretted and unfretted fingerboards have almost all been done in the same fixed column sizing format, with the exception of the alternate label sets for the guitar and the bass guitar. In the alternate label sets, the Jixis label sets for the guitar and bass guitar fingerboards have been alternately sized for a standard printout sizing of an approximate 1.5 inch (3.81 cm) wide top label and an approximate 2 inch (5.08 cm) wide bottom label.

The alternate label sets are also slightly different than the other label sets in that the respective labels each carry their note name and octave number position on the fingerboard. 

Here then are the downloads for the alternately sized guitar and electric bass: 

Alternate Guitar


Alternate Bass Guitar



If you later decide you want to apply Fret Space Numbers and/or the Label

Set to your Fretted Instrument, then download this guide:

Applying Fret Space Numbers and/or the Label Set to a Fretted Fingerboard






If you later decide to try the Note/Symbol Correlator for Fingerboards, then download this PDF:


The Note/Symbol Correlator


The Note Letter Name Strip and Chart

            If you find yourself having difficulty interpreting the Note names of the color/coded symbols, you might want to try the Note Letter Name Strip. The Strip may be used along with your label set to assist you in quickly naming any note in the label set. To use the note letter name strip, cut it free from the download sheet and align the order of the black sharp/flat triangles in the note letter name strip with the linear order of any vertical row of the color/symbol codings.

         The Note Letter Name Strip download will also show you how to make your own

Note Letter Name Chart if you have to make your own label set.


The Note Letter Name Strip and Chart

It is our sincere hope that you are able to use the Jixis Graphical Music System as a starting point for a lifetime of musical enjoyment. There are few things in life more satisfying than to be able to play a musical instrument. And there really is no simpler method to begin to learn the basics of playing out written standard ,music than by beginning with the graphical association method you are about to learn.  

Please remember that the primary purpose of the Jixis system is to show you where to place your fingers to press the strings to play out the written notes. The system was not designed to teach you any complex playing techniques, such as various styles of bowing, picking or strumming the strings, or the many forms of hand or finger placements. These you must obtain through professional teaching lessons or ongoing personal experimentation using self-help resources.

We wish you the best in all your attempts to bring music into the world!


Jixis for Keyboards

If you have a keyboard instrument, such as a piano or a music synthesizer, or other instrument with a keyboard, and wish to use the Jixis Graphical Music System with your keyboard instrument, please go to the Jixis keyboard page at Jixis.com

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