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Is my songbook getting out of control at this point?

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(@minotaur)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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It's no secret that I am a beginner... 9 months of learning and practicing. Such that I don't use the word "playing" lest people think I'm getting too full of myself. :oops: But I do believe I am improving. I can get all the way through a song or two, despite the chord changes being a little rough and hesitant (a Dmaj to Bm is tough; anything to Fmaj is tough, but getting better).

That said, I think I'm getting a little ahead of myself with my songbook. I think it may be out of control at this stage of the game. A couple of times a week, as I'm listening to my iTunes I think "hey, that sounds like it would be great to learn... and it would sound good as a guitar treatment" (That's All - Genesis is the latest).

So I go scouring the internet, and very less often my books, for a chord sheet or tab for it. Most often the tabs and sheets suck (can I say that here?); I've found myself putting tab and chord sheets together to get something that looks decent, and like how I think the song sounds. I copy them into Word, pretty them up and print them out.

My songbook is a 1 1/2" 3 ring binder. I have color tabs for each song, and a printed label (I'm a geek) inserted in each tab, all in alphabetical order by song name. When I add a song, I just stick its divider tab where it goes. Then I have a list printed from my iTunes as an index. I am up to 51 songs in the complete book. I have a few songs that are in my "currently working on list" that I bounce back and forth with, out of the whole 51 songs. I'm not attempting right now to get into all the songs I am collecting. I know they will be down the road.

So after all that rambling my question is... am I really getting ahead of myself and spending too much time putting a songbook together? I still get a good number of hours a week practicing. I was just concerned that the book was becoming an end in itself.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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(@alangreen)
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Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

suck (can I say that here?)

Yes.

So after all that rambling my question is... am I really getting ahead of myself and spending too much time putting a songbook together? I still get a good number of hours a week practicing. I was just concerned that the book was becoming an end in itself.

Well, the answer to that one is what do you want to play? Learning how to play chords is one thing, scales is another, and sweep arpeggios are something else but you can't make a living out of doing it randomly. Ultimately, you want to play something that's recognisable and isn't Old Smokey, Silent Night, or When The Saints Go Marching In - therefore you need a songbook. A ring bound version is so much better than a bound book when you're sitting round in a circle at the pub and it's your turn to play.

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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(@minotaur)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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My goal is to learn how to play those songs, eventually. I'm sure learning is multi-level... I'll probably piece together scales and techniques as I'm going along. Then I want to be able to see a sheet, or fakebook sheet and be proficient enough that with some short practice, I can play that. I just didn't want to overwhelm myself with so many songs, and be like a kid in a candy store, or someone at a buffet whose eyes are bigger than their stomach.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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(@davidhodge)
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Then at this point why not make two songbooks - one of the things you can play at a proficient level (or proficient enough to say "I know and can play this") and one of things you're working to get up to that point. A "songbook" and a "project" book, if you prefer.

For whatever it's worth, it doesn't sound like you're getting so bogged down in the book that you've managed to miss the point of playing and practicing, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Ultimately you want to simply have any songbook as a reference anyway. Kind of a "oh yeah, I know that song, too" sort of thing when playing with others.

Peace


   
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(@minotaur)
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Then at this point why not make two songbooks - one of the things you can play at a proficient level (or proficient enough to say "I know and can play this") and one of things you're working to get up to that point. A "songbook" and a "project" book, if you prefer.

That's kind of what my "currently-working-on" list of songs is. I've created a separate playlist in iTunes called Current Practice and copied those songs into it. It's a subset of the entire songbook of those 51 (and growing :lol: ) songs I want to eventually get to. I've printed its list as an index. I play the iTunes songs (the original recordings) for reference as I'm practicing. There are a few I can actually play parts along with, and others... well, I'm not there yet. So what I do when I'm practicing is pick from that short list and work on something from it. I keep myself from biting off more than I can chew and putting too many songs into that current-project list.
For whatever it's worth, it doesn't sound like you're getting so bogged down in the book that you've managed to miss the point of playing and practicing, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Ultimately you want to simply have any songbook as a reference anyway. Kind of a "oh yeah, I know that song, too" sort of thing when playing with others.

Peace

OK, that's great. It sounds like I'm on the right track. It's what I was hoping to hear. And yes, copies of the lessons from here go into the songbook. I've copied/pasted the relevant examples into the Word docs I use for the particular song. I hope that's OK and not a violation or anything. It's only for my own use, and reference notes.

Thanks very much. :)

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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(@davidhodge)
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And yes, copies of the lessons from here go into the songbook. I've copied/pasted the relevant examples into the Word docs I use for the particular song. I hope that's OK and not a violation or anything. It's only for my own use, and reference notes.

Not a problem. That's why they are here. If you do feel the least bit worried about it, you can always buy me a drink should I happen to be in town (and being pretty much a diet soda sort, you get off easy!). Or play a tune or two :wink:

Peace


   
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(@minotaur)
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Thanks.

I'm a diet soda/seltzer man myself! I can't stand the other stuff. :lol:

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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(@ohblahitsme)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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This doesn't really have anything to do with your songbook, but I was looking for a good tab of That's All. Would you mind posting the tab you're using?


   
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(@minotaur)
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This doesn't really have anything to do with your songbook, but I was looking for a good tab of That's All. Would you mind posting the tab you're using?

I know what you mean. I've said elsewhere that most tabs and chord sheets on the internet suck. Even at this point in my (non-)playing, I can see that.

It would be my pleasure to post it. I have it on my computer at home in Word, so I will get to it tonight. My disclaimer and caveat is that I haven't tried to play it except for a bit of the intro. Nor is it my own tabbing. It sounds like it, but it may need tweaking as you/we go along. I don't know how faithful and accurate it is vis a vis the Genesis recording; however, it looked like the best one I could find, out of the slim offerings. When it's posted, I would gladly accept corrections from the fine and knowledgeable peeps here, considering that's it more a fakesheet than anything else. :wink:

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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(@frankyl)
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If you're getting out of control, so am I. So I'm inclined to say you're all right.

I've just got about a month more experience on you, and your description of your binder could easily apply to my own. I don't think I've tried to play half of what's in there, if that much. For me, it's just that when I have that rare time that I'm both thinking of a song and have time to look up a start for tabs, I need to do it or I'll lose track of it forever. I just think of it as weeding out some of the chaff from the internet, creating my own little compendium of things I know I'll want to get to when I'm able and setting them right at my fingertips.

It's paid off, too. I'm sure you've had this experience - recently, I've run across some things I put in the book months ago, lessons or songs I couldn't begin to keep up with and completely butchered then, and I can much more capably butcher them so that they're at least still recognizable now. There are even a few that I can actually almost play! It's great.


   
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(@minotaur)
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I just think of it as weeding out some of the chaff from the internet, creating my own little compendium of things I know I'll want to get to when I'm able and setting them right at my fingertips.

Yes, that's right. That's the way I look at it. That's the reason I've been scouring the internet for versions that look decent, not just an entry that has a short tab or a few chords and says "Well, that's all I got haha".
It's paid off, too. I'm sure you've had this experience - recently, I've run across some things I put in the book months ago, lessons or songs I couldn't begin to keep up with and completely butchered then, and I can much more capably butcher them so that they're at least still recognizable now. There are even a few that I can actually almost play! It's great.

Yes, same here. I've gone back over a few things from "way back", tried them again and was better at it. Able to play? Not by a long shot, but better. :)

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Just some historical info on what I've done since I've started. None of this may mean anything to you but I was in a similar situation.

When I started I wanted to play all of my favorite songs and downloaded hundreds of tabs for songs, and quickly realized when I saw so many different versions for a song that most of the stuff on the internet isn't worth the paper to print it on. But I downloaded it and printed it out. When I started taking lessons seriously the teacher I had wouldn't let me pick songs (at least not a first) he would bascially just give me the chords to stum along to...not exactly wat I wanted but it was a start. Eventually we worked on songs I wanted but I moved and didn't take lessons again for several months.

When I found a new guitar teacher in CT he was just what I was looking for. We worked on both technical exercises and songs every week. And when he tabbed out a song he tabbed the complete specific guitar part I wanted. Most of the time I wanted both lead and rhthym so we would do that. There are a few songs where there is so much over dubbing and extra guitars we had to choose something to tab because it becomes very difficult to hear what guitar is playing what sometimes.

But this is my Songbook Bible now. These are all put in a 3 ringer binder alphabetized by song name and is my reference book forever. He tabs then on some weird sized tab paper that deosn't copy well (cuts off the bottom) but someday I need to scan all of them to PDF files just in case.

As for the hundreds and thousands of interent tabs I had...those were all thrown away, I found little to any that ever where actually correct that I don't bother much with interent tab. I've gotten so used to his tab now I'm worried if I ever drop him as a teacher I'm screwed.

I understand where you are coming from though you just have to be sure you don't spend more time trying to create 3 ring binders than actually playing.
So now I have three books, one with the lyrics of songs we currently play or have played, the tab from my teacher which is probably about 60-70 songs now and I still have one small one of internet tab that I never even look at any more.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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(@minotaur)
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When I started I wanted to play all of my favorite songs and downloaded hundreds of tabs for songs, and quickly realized when I saw so many different versions for a song that most of the stuff on the internet isn't worth the paper to print it on. But I downloaded it and printed it out.

I experienced the same. I looked up a song name and couldn't tell good from bad until I started learning more. But I downloaded them anyway. Only recently, when I started constructing The Book, I started tossing the old ones, and the ones that made me say "what was I thinking!?".
When I found a new guitar teacher in CT he was just what I was looking for. We worked on both technical exercises and songs every week. And when he tabbed out a song he tabbed the complete specific guitar part I wanted. Most of the time I wanted both lead and rhthym so we would do that. There are a few songs where there is so much over dubbing and extra guitars we had to choose something to tab because it becomes very difficult to hear what guitar is playing what sometimes.

When I took lessons for that short 7 months until August, my teacher would ask me what songs I wanted to work on from my list. My list was pretty short compared to now. He would tab it out and we'd work on it. But what I didn't want to do was have it turn into him transcribing the songs and I just learn how to play them. I wanted to "see" and hear things in the songs... I guess I wanted to figure them out for myself, even by starting with a bad internet tab or just a teaser to start with. That's kind of where I am now and what I'm doing. Eventually I'll get back to regular lessons, because I think it's definitely a benefit and the way to go.
I understand where you are coming from though you just have to be sure you don't spend more time trying to create 3 ring binders than actually playing.
So now I have three books, one with the lyrics of songs we currently play or have played, the tab from my teacher which is probably about 60-70 songs now and I still have one small one of internet tab that I never even look at any more.

I am up to an even 60 songs in my book. These are what I pulled off the internet and some internet lesson sites. Not the least of which is GN. :) The last one I added is Zep's Friends. I love that song, but I think that is a challenge for later on. I am done adding to the book for a while. I have more than enough to keep me occupied. I also have some theory to work on. Yes, my fear was that the book and building it could become an end in itself, meaning that my playing would suffer. I don't think that will be the case.

I also have published songbooks, but they are often as bad as internet tabs and chord sheets. I want to get proficient enough to use all these just as fakesheet starters for playing my own way. I think I'm pretty much done with adding to the book now, considering that I have 10 in my "currently-working-on" list. I rarely sidetrack myself and go off trying all those other songs. In fact, most of them I haven't even tried. They're there for when I really get going. :D

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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It helps to think of internet tabs as a good starting point - as your musical ear develops, you'll be able to differentiate between what's tabbed out correctly and what isn't. A good case in point would be the Grateful Dead's "Touch Of Grey" - I decided a couple of months back I absolutely HAD to add that song to my repertoire. So I did the usual - checked out the internet tabs. Most of them all seem to be copied from the same original source - and it's so far out it just isn't true!

I'm still working on it at the moment - haven't quite sussed out the middle eight yet, but I'm getting there. I've found from experience - like yourself - that most internet tabs are not much use.

As for your songbook - nothing wrong with stockpiling songs for the future, for when your skills have developed to the point where you can actually play them. I actually found that working on songs I really wanted to play - harder songs like Under The Bridge, Nantucket Sleighride, More Than A Feeling etc - helped my guitar playing a lot. I struggled with them all at first, but there are lots of things (in those three songs in particular!) that made me realise I didn't have to be scared of trying something new.

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@minotaur)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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As for your songbook - nothing wrong with stockpiling songs for the future, for when your skills have developed to the point where you can actually play them. I actually found that working on songs I really wanted to play - harder songs like Under The Bridge, Nantucket Sleighride, More Than A Feeling etc - helped my guitar playing a lot. I struggled with them all at first, but there are lots of things (in those three songs in particular!) that made me realise I didn't have to be scared of trying something new.

:D :D :D

Vic

Thanks Vic.

Another thing I was wondering, bouncing off your comment about hard v. easy, though I probably know the answer, which you hinted at...

A number of the songs that are in my songbook seem very easy... lots of D, G, F, Am, Dm... etc. You know, the first chords we learn. Then I have some like My Sweet Lord. I love the late great George, but he is all over the map! :shock: Em A D Bm F#dim B7 G#dim C#7 F#m B C#m. Now, to me those are pretty exotic progressions.

Compare to Imagine: C Cmaj7 Fmaj7 (or F) F G Am Dm G/B E E7. That's pretty much it. Heart of Gold: Em, D, C, G. Tada! Done.

Is it better to work on something a little harder, like My Sweet Lord for example, or get really proficient with the easy stuff, then tackle the hard stuff. Or is it better to make sure you are working on some hard stuff (chord changes, rhythms, etc.) along with the easy stuff? I always think it's better to work on the hard stuff in any project, along with the easier and smaller stuff. Then the rest is gravy.

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