Learning Songs For The Gig

A lot of my work as a bass player involves reading charts or written parts. Sometimes I’m provided with music.  In other cases, if I have a very short time to prepare for a gig, I will listen to the music and make notes so that I can have my own charts or cheat cheats.  I’ll either scan these and store as PDFs in my iPad or put them in a binder.  At least the iPad looks cooler and more high-tech than a music stand and binder.

Jay Allen's Shop

Jay Allen’s SHOP

This is a chart I made for a Jay Allen tune.  Click to open image.  Some of the terms I use are probably easy to figure out.  INT=Intro, V1=Verse 1, CH=Chorus, BR=Bridge.  Beside the title SHOP is a circled D indicating the key the recording is in.  The rest of the numbers represent the bass root movement. 1 = D, 4 = G, 5 = A and so on.  One number represents 4 beats or a bar of that chord.  (1 7) represents D for two beats and C# for two beats.  It’s a short hand that gets me through the tune and the numbers let me play the song in any key the singer wants. Continue reading