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nashville numbers? any one familiar?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by muddywaters, May 19, 2003.

  1. Looking for a little feedback, we have a gig coming up, we agreed to let a lady from Memphis do a couple of songs to help her career and with time being short we wanted to stick to covers. We're doing two hours outdoors at a festival before Charlie Daniels concert starts. As you can imagine we only want to do things we know. Anyway her guy asked if we knew the nashville numbers and I had to plead ignorant. I did look it up on the web, is this something you guys think we should learn or is this just a local deal for those studio musicians there?? We're only four years on the road but this is my first run in with it. Learn it, or forget it??
  2. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    as a bass player, in my opinion, you should always think "number" in relation to keys and changes - this will make it easier to play a tune in any key you want too, in the long run.

    i personally think the nashville numbering system is great.

    i'm sure that others will respond to this thread, i am still feel a little anti-social right now due to the troll attack this morning (not saying you are a troll :) ). maybe i will talk about this later, need to go...
  3. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    I've never read a nashville number chart, but from my understanding, it is just like a jazz chart, except for chord letters, it has the number of the scale degree (lower case roman numerals = minor, upper case = major). I see that it would be much easier to transpose a nashville number chart than a jazz chord chart, but for me, it would be a bit more difficult to read, except for the fact that the chord changes aren't usually as complicated.

    They seem fairly easy to learn, but if you have a fairly good ear, you should be able to wing it after a rehearsal.
  4. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    The music leader in our church also owns his own recording studio and record label. He's told me that if I ever hope to do any studio work someday, knowing the Nasheville numbering system will be essential. Basically whatever the key the song is in is the "1". This is also usually the first chord of the song in many cases. You start from there and theoretically can play in whatever key the singer wants to use. You'll simply get a chart with a series of numbers and the singer will say "I sing it in D". You have to figure out the rest. Here's a simple cheat chart he made for me. We should be able to do this in our head:

    Key 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
    === = = = = = = =
    C C D E F G A B
    D D E F# G A B C#
    Eb Eb F G Ab Bb C Db
    E E F# G# A B C# D#
    F F G A Bb C D E
    G G A B C# D E F#
    A A B C# D E F# G#
    Bb Bb C D Eb F G A
    B B C# D# E F# G# A#
  5. yep, so a 'I-IV-V' in the key of C is C, F, G.
  6. you see, I would have though, when I talk with my guys a I-IV-V, or 1-4-5 in C would be C the root, D the fourth, and E the fifth, is that wrong??
  7. thought, can't spell, that would apply to a C maj scale.
  8. yep, that's wrong. Do it by scale degrees:

    (in the key of C)
    C = 1 = root
    D = 2 = second
    E = 3 = third
    F = 4 = fourth
    G = 5 = fifth
    A = 6 = sixth
    B = 7 = seventh
  9. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Nashville nubers charts are very intuitive and shouldnt be any problem just expect these things

    1)theres a good amount of "normal" notation. form,rhythmic hits.

    2)The number are that 1,2,3 not I, II,III so expect 4 1 5 5 1 6- ect....

    3) inversions are notated like fractions (ussually horizantal line not diaginal.why?see #4.) 5/7 this means the five cord with the seventh degree of the parent scale under it (key of D,A with C# in the bass.

    4) If theres 2 cords to one bar you get the splitbar sighn which is a vertical line between 2 numbers incased in a box I dont know how to draw that just be prpared for it.

    Some times #4 has no box and you need to know what to play there

    5)little line in a upward slant from a cord ussually means walk up to next cord.

    6) Dimond sorronding the cord number ussually means whole note on that cord.

    7)Circle around a cord ussually means a 2/4 bar and that cord is only 2 beats.

    Good Luck

  10. In the Bass Player magazine 'annual' there is a whole section devoted to the Nashville number system, the books about £20 if you want to check it out.

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