Do you expect charts and recordings from your bandleader

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Eilif, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    Ok folks here's a question for those of you who gig regualarly in coutnry band. When learning new "cover" material, do you expect the bandleader to pass out charts and tunes?
    This summer is going to be Janesville's (the band I play in) busiest ever. We have alot of gigs coming in and our bandleader wants to add a bunch of tunes and add them quickly, She's sent us (the drummer and I) MP3's of the tunes, but so far has been strangely hesitent to share her chord sheets with us. In fairness, it may be because she doesn't realize that we use the same words-and-chords sheets as our starting points for note taking as she does.

    It's a country group, and neither the drummer and I are excessively experienced in country. We want to work from the same words and I want to make sure I'm not missing any sublte chord changes.

    Her stated goal is that we be able to know our whole catalog of songs (around 40 right now, shooting for 60 probably) and be able to bring them out at gigs at a moments notice. She wants us to learn the songs on our own before practice. This all seems reasonable, but is it reasonable for me to push back with a request for chord charts?
    We're going to discuss it on Tuesday at practice, and I have a feeing there's just been some minor communications breakdowns, but I wanted to check in with you all to see how realistic my expectations are.
  2. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    If I'm a hired gun for the gig - Yes.

    If it's my regular band - I can learn the songs on my own.
  3. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    if she has charts, it seems reasonable to ask for copies. One could make copies of plenty of charts for a few dollars.
  4. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    I ask for the Key we're playing the song in and a recording of the song.

    I'd rather learn the song by ear than by learning from a chart. And honestly... a great many 'charts' that available on the internet and such are flawed, erroneous, or often plain wrong.

  5. lunker


    May 27, 2008
    Very true. But if someone else is reading the flawed, erroneous charts, it becomes problematic. Everyone's got to be on the same page, not necessarily the right page.

    If the band leader already has charts, I don't see why there is any sort of deal over it. Copies aren't expensive.
  6. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Cornell , IL.
    On the plus side, learning by listening lets you hear what the recorded bassist is doing that isn't necessarily on chord charts and helps you study the songs more thoroughly.
    You could write your own charts if time allows.
    I'm all about knowing the material and doing your homework before the group gets together so time isn't wasted learning the songs but only putting the parts together.
  7. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    Well, as I've several times been in the band leader position, I'd say making those sheets is the best way learning the songs in and out. I pass the sheets I make to the band members, but I'd be happier if they all would put down the same work as I did in actually learning the songs instead of playing chords off a chart.
  8. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    That's one complication. The rhythm section doesn't have an equal share in band decisions, but we are consulted and included in most decision making processes, so we kind of think of it as "our" band. We're definately not hired guns. I don't think...

    I was thinking of just asking to borrow her book of assembled charts and lyrics for a day and taking it to kinko's.

    This may be a bit of lazyness on my part, but I don't want to sit down and chart out the chords if I don't have too, and I want to make sure I'm using the same charts as the leader.

    As for the internet ones, you're definately right, and it seems that the better ones are setup as for sale rather than for free. I don't want to have to pay for charts if singer has them already.
  9. KPJ


    Oct 2, 2001
    Methuen, MA USA
    I always ask for charts to accompany any mp3s, etc. I never expect to get any, but I do ask! I don't think it is unreasonable, especially if there may be some changes to arrangements.
  10. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    If there are charts available, having them kept from you for some reason seems odd in the extream. I'd probably question the rational of that.

    Having said that, whipping out a nashville numbers chart is a fairly quick process. I'm not sure it's worth getting all verklempt about.

    I don't recall ever not being given a chart if one was available and I asked so, I'm really not sure how I would respond. I'd probably say
  11. IvanMike

    IvanMike TTRPG enthusiast, Happy, Joyous, & Free. Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    I usually ignore a chart at first if i am given one.

    As long as it's clear what version of a song we're going to play i'll listen to it and make my own notes first. As stflbn said, often charts are just plain wrong. If I don't have access to the song i'll ask for a cd or mp3 as i really want to hear how it sounds. I double check against their chart after, and i'm not above making corrections to mistakes in their chart or the way they are playing (respectfully, usually) :p

    That said it's really odd that your bandleader has charts and won't share them. Is it that they want you to do the work yourself and know the song better for having done that? (i personally think I learn a song better that way). Or is it some bizzare control thing?
  12. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    Same here. I've gigged with rock, blues, and country bands. No matter what, this is how I've always learned my material. If I need a chart, I will ask for one, but I've never just expected them to be handed 'round. Isn't that more of a big band/jazz thing?

  13. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    If a band leader asks the group to learn a bunch of tunes quickly and already has charts, I'd say the rest of the band should have the charts as well. What's the point of reinventing the wheel? Even if you use them as a starting point and add your own notes, at least you all will be on the same page.
  14. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    I've been in three country bands (OK, so in one I just stopped by for a cup of coffee), and only one "band leader" has ever handed out any charts. He handed me a few and I told him I didn't really need them. I just learn by ear, at home, from a CD. Most people probably learn songs that way. So yes, I do expect CD's of the songs they want me to learn.

    And +1 to charts often being erroneous on the net. Wrong chords and wrong lyrics are common. One song I looked up, I know has an E augmented chord in each verse, and the chord is really important to the song. But the transcriber had the chord marked as E7 instead. Silly stuff like that.
  15. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    I've never gotten charts for country or rock bands.
    Usually am handed tapes or CDs and a set list. Sometimes not even that!
  16. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Sometimes (most times) the chords that the singer has written in are wrong. What I do is go online and fine the lyrics to the song and print it out. Then I go through the tune and write in the bass notes for the changes. If I have time I can go back and fill in more info about the chord but the progression just gets me a quick and dirty chart. Sometimes I'll write a few bars of the rhythm to help me remember.
  17. If there's charts, it's pretty strange that they don't want you to have copies of them.
  18. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I play in a country band that ads new songs alot. We get them from a CD the drummer puts together and then go home learn the tune and bring it to practice. We might ad or change keys etc but pretty much stick to the recording. I like learning myself from ear or my charts. If i have a question i ask at practice..simple.

    Alot of the old country we do is changed and the bandleader has charted it out his way the way he likes it played for me. This was mostly when i started out a year ago. I dont understand you singers position on this. Why make things tuff on you and the drummer. A band should be a team and you can only make the team stronger thru communication. If she charts one way and you hear it another ...then what? I dont have time for wasted practice or a possible trainwreck and Im sure you dont either so she needs to give up them charts.

    I also work with a side project i am getting off the ground. It is all original americana alt/country and a singer/songwriter band. The lead just sent me the chord charts with lyrics by email to download and print for the 9 new songs we added. This is how we move forward and progress...comunicate and share...teamwork!
  19. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    Thanks for all you're input folks. I'm pretty sure the situation has more to do with the singer not realizing that the drummer and I use the same kind of sheets that she uses, but it could be partly her wanting us to figure it out. I think it will all get straitened out at practice tomorrow.
  20. Silas Martinez

    Silas Martinez

    Jan 17, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Interestingly, a band I'm going to audition for, which is pretty standard R&B/Funk/Classic Rock fare, but some originals and some covers 'with a twist', has both CDs and charts available. Since the covers are modified - medleys, tempo changes, etc, I suspect the CD will be more useful. The originals are pretty straightforward, and available a few different ways, so...

    It was a surprise, and a pleasant one, to have the bandleader be so completely pro about it, though. I'll be meeting with him to pick up the stuff later this week, and have about another week to learn 3-4 originals, and 3-4 'covers'. I've already got most of the originals down, at least for basic changes and feel, so it should be nice - but I have to say that having all that info in front of me was a big surprise, completely unexpected, and very smooth of the bandleader.

    Bottom line - in the kinds of gigs I usually do, no, I don't expect it - but if the work is already done, its sure nice to have.

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