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Charts, let's see em

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by edhead, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. edhead


    Nov 23, 2007
    Kent, Ohio
    OK, so I've recently joined a cover band and for some of the songs I needed to make charts. I just write down the chord progressions, no notation on how many measures these chords are.

    Now we've added a keyboardist that wants to use my charts, but he is all confused by looking at them, and I don't blame him, they sometimes confuse me.

    Anyone have any scans of their charts or explanation as how to properly write them? Is there a standard notation, or does everyone do them differently?
  2. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    You might want to look for a book on "Nashville Notation," which is one way to compile effective and versatile charts on the spot.
  3. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    I think it really depends on how detailed you want your charts and how complicated your music is...

    Something like

    Verse X4
    Amaj, Amaj, Emaj, D7


    The real book (full of jazz charts) is just chords written at the top of each bar and the melody written out, with key and time signature/tempo.
  4. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    The Real Book format is pretty much the standard. If you don't need to write out the melody, then just start with eight horizontal lines on a page, vertical marks to divide each line into four or eight measures, and write the chord symbols above the measures. If somebody gets lost, it helps to have the lyrics written below the lines.
  5. dustdbass6

    dustdbass6 Alembic User

    Apr 24, 2007
    Livermore, California
    My cover band now just writes the chords on top of the lyrics. Not the best way to learn a song, but helps for those who are forgetful.
  6. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Depends on how much detail you need. If I'm rehearsing or transcribing a CD to get a road map for a set for a gig I'll do something really quick.

    A blues is a bad example since I don't need to chart those

    1 4 1 1..5
    4 4 1 1
    5 5 4 4
    1 6m 2 5

    Quick and easy.
  7. Echo on the real book standard. Hit the important stuff - time & key signatures, changes, and where needed, rhythmic/harmonic notation. You can make your own transcription paper using M$ Excel.
  8. When I was working reguarly in a cover band I would notate every bassline and write chord symbols above... I found that the guitar and keys players often came to rely on my charts... sometime coming to a rehersal not having looked at the tunes at all....

    It really pissed me off, because they wouldn't know anything about their parts...

    I think the real book format is standard but I would also encourage your band members to write there own, the whole process of learning, and transcribing really helped me to internalise everything... (bassline, form, harmony etc)...
  9. funkometer

    funkometer Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Birmingham AL
    Make him make his own charts, if he really wants to be in the band. You gonna carry in his gear too?
  10. keyboard player "should" have a better ear for harmony than you do. If he's having a harder time than you figuring out tunes, then he's also going to have a very hard time improvising on stage - if that's important to you.
  11. ForSix


    Jul 22, 2008

    This is why people learn to read music.
  12. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I use standard notation. It depends on how "note-for-note" I go, where I'll actually notate the whole bassline or not. Sometimes I will just chart the chords and form (slash lines to indicate the time). Most of the time I do a little bit of both, where I'll put some sample basslines in and chords for others.

    Attached Files:

  13. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC

    For charts, my point of reference is based on my own survival needs at gigs under the scenario of having to play faithful covers or original arrangements with no rehearsal. A band could benefit from having good charts.

    I was once talking to a cover band leader who was complaining about working around the schedules of his band members. I told him: "Assemble a set of charts for your band, so you can use side men, even if you use a particular group of players for most gigs." A year or so later, he thanked me for that advice. I think his main band members were happier too, knowing that they were not totally tied down to the band.
  14. lexxmexx


    Apr 7, 2008
    For songs with simple basslines, I would prepare a chord chart but for those with more complicated lines, I would use standard notation. Very useful when I have no time to memorize the songs.

    See attachments

    Attached Files:

  15. ForSix


    Jul 22, 2008
    How do you attach those thumbnails?
  16. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I use the kind of charts with chords and lyrics that lexxmexx showed, but I put the chords only over the first verse, if even then. Sometimes, for easy songs, I just write out the key. And of course I write out the form including verses, choruses, bridges, interludes, cues and similar stuff.
  17. "The Lost Art of Country Bass" brilliantly demystified charting for me early on. In two pages it explained the Nashville Number System, which, I find does what I need 95% of the time. It's no use to the singer or lead guitarist, but the rhythm guitarist refers to my charts. Could be of use to a keyboardist, but they still have to depend on their ear for melody.

    That book is a great primer anyway +1
  18. buzzbass


    Apr 23, 2003
    I do the same as you. It's my own ******** notation, but I understand it just fine.
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