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Jazz Real Books 1,2,3

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by warwick76, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. warwick76


    Dec 13, 2005
    Does anybody know where I can get realbooks volumes 1,2, and 3 for bass clef? It seems as though when the Hal Lenard 6th edition came out the other ones went out of circulation. I'm not looking for the 6th edition as song keys, melodies, chords, and many other things don't line up when playing with most musicians (who use the other book). Anybody know? The books on CD format would be just as good.
  2. Chrix


    Apr 9, 2004
    I really hate to sound vitriolic, but in my personaly opinion, I don't think you should need it. It's my opinion (for what little I'm sure it's worth) that all bassists should be able to read treble clef fluently. But that's just me.

    As far as 2 & 3, I'm not sure they ever existed in bass clef (another reason to read treble clef). I know the first one can be had in bass clef, but it just might take some searching.

    The CD that has the real books on it is all treble clef. If you can get ahold of it, I'd say just stick to that and work on your treble chops. It'll do you good too if you ever had to play any legit work that goes into treble. It also helps when you're on a gig and someone lays a chart on you. They usually won't give you one in bass clef.

    Anyhoo, that's enough jerk out of me for the day. Sorry if I couldn't help more.
  3. anonymous8547j7d7b

    anonymous8547j7d7b Guest

    Jul 1, 2005
    No man, I agree about the treble clef. Better system than all those damn ledger lines so we should use it. The best way I found was on a relaxed Fri & Sat night duo gig in a restaurant with a pianist/vocalist. If we were playing a standard out of a fake book then I could solo around the melody or restate it. I used it "at pitch" in thumb position, which is probably more logical on the bass, but all you are essentially doing is learning a slightly different way of reading the same info. The only downside I found was that I ran out of fingerboard before I got to t/clef ledger lines ;) !
  4. Sorry to join in the derailment of this thread but if someone is gonna give you a lead sheet you gonna have to expect it to be in treble clef so you better learn to read it. OTOH, you might want the books to help you learn bass clef in which case, please accept my apologies.

    You could always get an Eb book and change the key signature?
  5. glivanos

    glivanos Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Philadelphia Area
    With a little practice, playing the heads from a real book in treble clef, either at pitch or whatever, is not that difficult.

    In fact, I recently tried playing a lead sheet in bass clef and found myself reverting back to playing the notes in treble clef.
    Go figure!

    Which side of the brain is it which controls that??? :confused:
  6. The Realbook lead sheets reflect the key the songs are supposed to be played at for an ensemble. I realize you’re free to interpret and change what you like. But the Eb/Bb books are aligned with the concert book so everyone is on the same page. :bag:

    I've never seen a book (or many songs for that matter) with the heads in the bass clef since this would be difficult for most lead instruments alto/tenor, trumpet and guitar, although piano, bones & bari wouldn’t care. And I guess the need for bass melodies is not great enough to warrant the effort to create a library of such songs.

    If you converted the existing concert books from treble to bass clef but in the same pitch it would be a mess, everything would be high above the ledger, making it harder to read IMO.

    To to play the heads in a more bass friendly position, just move down and play the part in the lower same key where you’re comfortable. The great thing about strings is you can move position and use the same patterns to easily transpose, which is something horns and keys can't do.
    David Baker in his book Jazz "Expressions & Explorations - Bass Clef" discusses this in great detail and come up with a formal approach, interest read.
  7. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Actually, the Real Books (or at least Book 1) does exist in bass clef, for better or for worse. I have a copy of it and have hooked up our original poster. I go back and forth reading bass clef and reading treble clef and can do either about the same as long as I don't try to read both in the same session. Whatever brain switch that is for me doesn't flip that fast.

    I play with a trombone player who can't read anything but bass clef, so there is a need.

  8. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    I also have vol. 2 but I don't use it. They're out there, but it's not worth the effot.

    My teacher (a guitarist) has a CD that has almost every fake book scanned. If you want I can try to email it to you.
  9. Sorry I had no idea the bass clef books were out there.

    Are the heads at the same pitch as the Eb/Bb/C books? Or are they 1 or 2 octives down?

    If anyone has a e-copy I would be interested in seeing at least one page.

    Are they the legit books or are they the under the counter versions?
  10. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I don't know from nothin' bout bass clef because i have never seen the Books in anything but treble clef... That and the new adobi format i great- i've got more books now with incorrect changes than ever before !
  11. Too funny...
    A CD devoted to realbook song versions would be a hoot, I'd start with "lush life" and "equinox".
  12. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Playing the melody in the original octave is pretty much one of those unnecessary things some people get hung up on. Sure, you should be physically able to play the whole range of your instrument yes, but if I can, I learn all heads in two octaves (unless it goes up to an uber high Db or something freaky) and don't really care what octave it's printed in.

    Whichever octave the tune's melody was originally composed in never really mattered much to those compiling Real Books, simply, the ease of reading the melody. St. Thomas, for instance, is written in the same octave as Billie's Bounce.

    I've got a copy of Mingus - More than a Play-A-Long, which has "leadsheets" in bass clef. I use the quotations marks because the term "leadsheet" becomes a pretty flexible bit of language when applied to Mingus music :).
  13. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    The Hal Leonard Corp has re issued the Real Book. I think its pretty much the same. In fact some of the songs (a few) the changes are correct. And they are really substitution changes and should not make a major difference as far as i can see. There was a different Real book. I think it was called the legal Real Book or something like that. He (Hal's Version) made it pretty close. many are buying that one because its legal and easy to get. It will be the standard one if it isn't already. As far as getting one. The Hal Leonard versions One and Two you can get the bass clef on Amazon.com
    The third one Hal has nothing to do with.
    I have the CD format of all of them and there isn't major differences (the older versions). In fact some are better with the newer one.
  14. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I think it's time for the illegal "super-secret, only get them from certain people with connections, don't ask, don't tell" books to go away. There are excellent legal versions out there now in all cleffs and keys. They give sample chord voicings, bass lines, backgrounds, lyrics, etc. Way better than the 2 illegal ones I got from my secret source.
  15. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Wow, did he ask for info on where to get the books or a bucket full of opinions? ;)
  16. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    It's good to be able to read in treble clef but there's nothing wrong with having the books in bass clef and there's a still a benefit because reading is reading and moreover if you're doing a big band gig your chart meaning notes you need to read will be in bass clef and not treble clef.
  17. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    This is an omnipresent debate.

    Ethically: Only buy the legally licenced books.

    Technically: The books by publishers will almost always be more accurate and better quality. Some of the lead sheets in the Berklee Book are deplorable.

    Musically: We should all aspire to develop a repretoire and ear to make lead sheets of standards and jazz standards totally unncecessary.

    Practically: When you play at a jam session or get asked to play a gig with some guys you meet on stage, if they're playing those terrible changes, you need to at least understand what they are doing, whether you do it or something different. Unfortunately, we've tested already one guy having the Hal Leonard book and others having the Berklee Book. There are a lot of omissions and additions of songs that make them not entirely compatible and some changes that don't work together. We used to have this problem when someone would bring the Chuck Sher books, which are quite good. 1/2 the band would yell out "Page 127!" and the other quy would be looking at the table of contents of each of his 3 or 4 Sher books to find which if any had the tune in it...and then worry about key and changes.

    I played about 5 (well paying) gigs with some guys this year who just play out of the Real Book, bad changes and all and it bothered me musically, but did take the gigs. I had to bring my fautly, illegal real book and read the charts with them, lest I play minor chord while they were playing majors (Up Jumped Spring) or other traps. I talked to them about some "ideas" with some of those tunes, but they are married to what they play and they play their instruments well. I may chose not to work with them next year, but it was a nice boost for me this year.

    Amongst my extended group of people who I play with, we've been trying to agree to switch to the Hal Leonard books and I think we'll get to a point where when someone brings the Berklee Book, they do so at their own risk because the rest of us won't be playing what's on your page, but we're not there yet and when we venture out to play in someone else's session or take the gig from a referral, I fear we had better not throw out our illegal Real Books yet.

    On the subject of bass vs treble clef. We have to read bass clef as bassists. Reading treble clef is good too, because you may not have a bass clef chart, but if you have to pick one, we're bassists and people will at some point expect us to read a chart written that way.

    Just my $ .02.

    By the way, I gave Eric a bass clef real book and contributed to his deliquency. He seemed like a nice young man and I'm sure he will out grow it. I don't have to be super secret, because I have a theory that the existance of that book is not illegal and giving it away is not illegal, only selling it. I'm not a lawyer and I could be wrong, but we can debate that if anyone has actual knowledge.

  18. Chrix


    Apr 9, 2004
    Actually, what I and the trio I play in...so I guess I should say "I and the pianist I work with"...have gotten into the habit of combining tunes from all of the fake books on that CD. For example: "I Fall In Love Too Easily" occurs in, I believe, 4 seperate books. What we'll do is compare and contrast all four versions and synthesize one chart that seems to agree the most. If possible, we'll get a recording or seven of the tune and listen to which chart/s match up the most.

    The other thing that has made this debate so sketchy is that in the years since the Berklee Book was made, more and more reputable 'name' artists have gotten so used to those lead sheets that what you'll hear on modern records is the Real Book version of a tune. Ideally, we'd all be reading off of Tin Pan Alley charts and the like. But as Kendrick put it, it is practically damn near impossible not to own or use a Real Book. Too many gigs musicians use it so it's required on far too many gigs.

    As far as the debate on bass/treble clef goes, I also put it into that 'practical' bag. Far too often as a bassist, whether you own a Real Book or not, you'll be handed a chart in treble clef on a gig. That's not to say the bass claf book is pointless. My 1st Real Book is in bass clef and I still use it. I think my opinion is just that bassists should be able to read treble clef just as easily as bass clef, register notwithstanding.

    Now Tenor Clef...that's a whole other story. I still think it's a useless invention. ;)
  19. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Yep, this is the way. I have a group committed to doing this now and it's very liberating. We don't play any particular chart, we take the time to get inside the tune and decide how we want to play it. We might take changes out of some chart or recording or maybe we just take it right off the record and make our own chart. We've agreed to each get Finale PrintMusic (which is about $60) so that we can trade changes and charts back and forth between practices. Critical for originals as well.

    We approach arrangements the same way. After years of jam sessions, we've all decided that we want to find unique and cool ways to play things rather than just laying down the changes for blowing.

    But it's not rock and roll and these aren't the only guys I'll play with (thankfully) and bad lead sheets are still part of the vocabulary for the masses, so until I've really learned 1,000 songs with various changes and developed an ear to distinguish between them as we're playing, it's an ugly, regretable crutch.

    I will get there and will try to not turn up my nose at people I meet who haven't yet, because it's not an easy journey.

  20. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    Does anyone besides me have a "pre-Real Book" that came out of Berklee in the early 70's? It's a long rectangular plain brown covered book that has two photocopied tunes per page. It's got a nice range of styles, just looking at the S's, you have Stars Fell on Alabama to Straight No Chaser to S'Wonderful. I learned a lot of tunes with this one and the covers are falling off of it, but I can't seem to throw it away.