Author Topic: Your Own Songbook  (Read 421 times)

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Offline mkgolfer

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Your Own Songbook
« on: July 29, 2020, 11:55:48 pm »
Hi All,
Rather new here and am about to try passing Lesson 7.  In Lesson 5, Justin mentions keeping your own songbook.  I am a beginner and not sure what format to use for my songbook. Tabs, just the chord names...what about rhythm, verses, chorus, bridge? How do I represent that in an easy to read format?
I would like to keep it simple since I am a simple man!
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Offline J.W.C.

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Re: Your Own Songbook
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2020, 12:22:03 am »
The songs in my "personal songbook" are in one of three basic forms:
  • Just chord names and lyrics (chords written above the lyrics as appropriate).
  • "Lead Sheet" (the melody written out in standard notation, with chord changes above the staff and maybe lyrics below it)
  • "Full Score" (a complete score in standard notation)
That list doesn't include things like published songbooks (e.g., The Real Book, etc). It's only stuff I've compiled or transcribed, or arranged, myself. They're listed in order, with "just chord names and lyrics" being (by far) the most common, and the other two being less common.

Personally, I don't use tab much, but I had the advantage of already knowing how to read/write music before I started playing guitar, as piano was my first instrument. So when I transcribe, I typically write it down in standard notation. I've also found that "internet tab" is often pretty poor. There are exceptions, but often "internet tab" is simply flawed. ("Published tab" that you pay for is a much safer bet, of course.) I might use tab while I'm learning something, but even that is pretty rare, and unlike standard notation, I never "read" it while I'm playing. That's just me, though. I know a lot of guitarists find tab very valuable.

I also pretty much never use chord diagrams on sheet music. I like to just have the chord names: cleaner and easier to read, in my opinion. If I'm learning a new chord I'll often look chord diagrams up on the internet (or in a book), but I don't use them in sheet music.

Offline adi_mrok

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Re: Your Own Songbook
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2020, 12:24:46 am »
You need to use whatever is most useful and easiest for you to read. If you're on a beginner level Chord names should suffice for now, so you could write what chords to use in verse 1, what in chorus etc. When you write down all the chords down you can leave a line for noting down strimming patterns. Once you get to more complicated stuff you might write somr parts in chords names, some as tabs because there is a solo to play.

Again there is no single answer for this question, do whatever feels most comfortable for you now and then if you feel you are doing too much - just simplify it :)

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Offline Rossco01

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Re: Your Own Songbook
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2020, 08:27:50 am »
It's whatever format you want BUT if you browse the net you'll see it's either chord sheets with lyrics written above the chords or tab sheets. Take a look at Justin's song books or ultimate guitar tabs. I wouldn't over think it but go with the well trodden route already established.... above all it works and if you ever play with others they'll probably have used the same.
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Offline NewmanEXP

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Re: Your Own Songbook
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2020, 09:12:19 am »
I go for a list of the songs an the artist with the chords used in brackets. Seem to be fine remembering the progressions and strumming patterns as long as I've got a note of the chords.

Not playing and singing yet so not bothering with noting lyrics down.

Offline sairfingers

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Re: Your Own Songbook
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2020, 10:55:13 am »
Yes, I agree with the comments that say ‘keep it simple’. Most of my songs are in published books that contain songs by various artists. I’ve got a lot of Justin’s song books. My problem was finding the song I wanted quickly so I created a spreadsheet ‘master index’ that I’ve printed out twice, once under song title and second under artist.
This was a bit time consuming to do but only has to be done once of course and was a ‘winter nights’ project. I then add to the spreadsheet occasionally if I get new material.
Song books like Bob Dylan or the Beatles are different of course as the contents are in alphabetical order and easily found.

For favourite songs I’m currently working on, I photocopy the page, scribble notes on that and stick it in a loose leaf folder and that becomes ‘my song book’. Probably breach of copyright but it’s not like I’m selling them! The bottom line here is I’m avoiding reinventing the wheel and not manually writing things out.

Edit : As an aside, can I also say that as you’ve probably found for yourself, song books invariably contain a load of songs you don’t know/like. Force yourself to learn some of those too. It makes you focus on timing and rhythm etc. And even if you don’t like the song some of your friends might if they come round.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 11:19:18 am by sairfingers »
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