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Cheat Sheets

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by dbassman59, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. dbassman59


    Dec 19, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    How many of you bring chord charts to gigs?

    I have to admit .. I bring mine ... even though I tuck it off into a corner ... I'm trying real hard to memorize everything ... but I still need a crutch every now and again ... I might only use it for one or two songs ... but it's always a comfort to have it ...

    Any other guilty parties?
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Absolutely. I do mainly fill-in gigs these days. If you call me on Monday night and want me to play all 45 of your set songs by Friday or Saturday, I'm cheatn big time!
  3. I fill in for so many bands and have to learn so many songs, I have to use cheat sheets. I use my Macbook though and have all of the songs and chords and set it in front of my monitor or behind my amp so I can just glance at it and no one else is the wiser. I would much rather use cheat sheets than battle through the set.

    I am pretty good at watching guitarists hands on the fly and playing too. I play 4-5 songs a gig that I have either never heard or never played before. BUT, the band I recently started playing with tunes their guitars a half step down, so that makes it a bit more challenging as I keep my bass in standard tuning.
  4. Not only chord charts, but sheet music, as well. Helps me remember form, mainly.
  5. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    I memorize all the music unless I am doing a fill in gig with another band, then I either use charts or main notes as a guide on the songs I never played before or play infrequently. I never bother with sheet music. I do use cheat sheets for just the lyrics when learning new songs until I have them memorized. I play with a guitar player who still uses cheat sheets for chords and lyrics on songs he has been playing for decades and I can't understand why.
  6. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    In the cover band, I will occassionally ask the guitarists what key a song is in. Otherwise it's all from memory. But, I don't sing much so I'm only memorizing the bass line. Plus I usually learn a song without music so that helps.

    In the praise band, I learn from a fake sheet so I end up needing it. But I don't mind using one there as much as I do in the cover band...
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    IME, there are different levels of musical memory. Some people(one I know), if you give them a minute can pretty much remember the lyrics and melody to every song they have ever played and if you hum a few bars, can generate the chords/melody by ear with out too much effort.

    Others people can sight read perfectly but nothing by ear or memory.

    Most of us fall in between the two extremes.
  8. Datsgor

    Datsgor Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2000
    I use cheat sheets on songs that the bandleader wants to bring in at the last minute. I memorize everything alse that I have time for. One thing though, If I use a cheat sheet, I don't seem to be able to memorize the song, and keep using the cheat sheet gig after gig. (I can't memorize it on the fly at the gig because I am too busy concentrating on cheating) I need to sit down and play it at home to let it sink in. Not all songs, but a good number of the difficult ones that I need the cheat sheet for in the first place. Strange but true.
  9. mr.hughes


    Sep 12, 2005
    I don't use them on gigs that I do regularly - the idea being if I know I 'm going to be playing with the same band again and there's certain tunes I don't know then I simply have to learn them - that's what we do. But for bands I rarely play with then it's cheat sheets for sure. On one gig in particular, an Irish trad gig, I've scored the whole thing - there's simply too many quirks to wing it or learn it without playing it every night.
  10. +1
    I always bring them, even if I just put the binder [alphabetized] on the floor next to my cabs. I have needed them on more than one occasion. Set lists seem to change suddenly and when I hear a song start I am like W.T. F, what is that song, they tell me, and I again am W.T. F, look it up real quick, refresh my memory, and rock on.
  11. dbassman59


    Dec 19, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Seems most everyone uses them ... it makes me fee a little better ... I mostly use mine for lyrics ... One of the posters said if you always rely on them you'll never memorize the song ... He is so right! I sing lead on "Please Please Me" - Beatles ... There are two versus of two sentences ... It took me a couple of years to memorize .. I know that's pretty bad ... but I also sing "All Star" - Smashmouth ... a ton of lyrics .. I memorized those in a car trip I took once ... never have problem with that one at all ...
  12. jazzbo58

    jazzbo58 Bassist for My Man Godbey

    Apr 21, 2001
    New Orleans, LA USA
    I have most songs memorized. If we're playing some new material, I'll have the chord changes taped down on the floor where I can see them.

  13. I don't but I would if i were smart enough to use them.

    I've only had one of those fill in gigs where I had to learn 40 songs in a week and I just memorized them all and no.... I'm not good enough to consistently pull that off! Pulled it off for that gig, but it drove me nuts doing so.
  14. Memitim


    Mar 30, 2009
    Orange City, FL
    Pilots who have flown hundreds of hours still bust out the checklist to walk through each pre-flight. Yeah, it's a matter of life or death for them so there's definitely more of an impetus, but I could see a musician doing the same thing just as a backup against brainfarts and distractions. Better to have and not need than to need and not have. :)
  15. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    I`ve never really used them, but I pick up things more quickly than most other people I`ve played with.

    To each his own I guess.
  16. ForSix


    Jul 22, 2008
    Last night there was a Van Morrison concert on PBS.

    The whole band, including Van Morrison, had music stands and charts.
  17. justabass


    Nov 7, 2006
    Nashville TN/Old Hickory TN
    Endorsing-Trace Elliot,Peavey Basses,PedalTrain,Starkey inears
    If its a last min show or a fill in I'll makes notes on my set list like "all in" or just the bridge section or solo changes maybe a tricky ending. Basically just some notes. Works out well and the audience would never know the difference. If you get a rehearsal take your laptop and set up your set list as a word file. You can easily adjust your notes as you rehearse then just print it off...
  18. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    This is not true for me.
    I memorize eventually, but until then I use sheets. Call them a crutch if you will, but I would ask this question. Would you rather have a crutch or a trainwreck?

    I've done hundreds of gigs with a music stand in front of me, and I expect to do hundreds more.
  19. I normally have a setlist.. it has key.. key change.. BPM, Time sig..any non trad background changes.
  20. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Never use cheat sheets....... mainly because I never get around to making them ;)

    I have almost all the songs I play *partially* laid out on paper. But I don't use cheat sheets at practice, so there is really no incentive to make them.

    I am find if I always have the chords in front of me I never learn the song. I have to play without the chords.

    However, I play classic rock, blues, and country. For the most part I can wing it if I have too.

    I DO like to know the key the song is in though.

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