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How do you organize your "Songbook"

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Minotaur
(@minotaur)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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Actually work out of two systems. First, there's the "Bible," which is a series of three-ring binders with songs in alphabetical order. Usually the songs are simple chord sheets, but some have additional notations (riffs, tunings, arrangement notes) clipped with the song. Currently there are three of these as we've too many songs to deal with.

From the "Bible," we'll take out songs and make copies and then place them into a "songbook."

That is almost exactly what I am doing. I have a three-ring binder that has divider tabs to put the sheets into alphabetical order. I have a folder I keep with copies of those songs I am currently working on.

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


   
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Nuno
 Nuno
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I have a three-ring binder...
Sorry for the off-topic! :D

I am following this thread and it is very curious. You always use three-ring binders. Here, in Spain, there are two-ring or four-ring binders. I don't know in the rest of Europe.

In fact, I don't use them because you usually break the sheets (the holes) with the two-ring binders. And I am very lazy to do four holes. (I don't have the tool for doing the four holes simultaneously.) For that reason I use one of those plastic folders with a clamp in the left margin.


   
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cnev
 cnev
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Nuno,

that is a problem with the ring binders eventually you rip the holes on the paper. But they sell little reinforcements that I use when the tear and that seems to work fine.

"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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kingpatzer
(@kingpatzer)
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I use a set of 3 ring binders.

The first is a HUGE binder (4" or 5" forget which) that has all my songs in it in alphabetical order by artist. (So if I want minor swing, I flip to Django's section, then flip through those songs till I find it). Each song is by itself in a plastic sheet protector, which take forever to wear out from popping in and out of the binder.

The next is the "song book" I take out, it is a 2" binder, and I simply fill it up with the planned songs, and a pre-agreed to set of probable tunes that will get played.

I take both books with me, as well as a few real books and whatever other material might be needed -- but the 2" is the one that gets used 99% of the time. Since the others only come into play on those rare occasions when something important got left out of the 2 ring and the form of the thing we're going to play isn't known.

(One of the great things about jazz is that there is so much that has a known structure. If someone calls out a tune and you don't know it, ask what the changes are. If it comes back "autumn leaves changes in Bb" then that's all you really need to know :)

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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(One of the great things about jazz is that there is so much that has a known structure. If someone calls out a tune and you don't know it, ask what the changes are. If it comes back "autumn leaves changes in Bb" then that's all you really need to know :)

It would be so much easier to play the blues if only the same were true!

-=tension & release=-


   
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boxboy
(@boxboy)
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Each song is by itself in a plastic sheet protector, which take forever to wear out from popping in and out of the binder.

+1 on the sheet protectors. I buy the light use, non glare type in boxes of a 100.
They make maintaining the binders worlds easier.
:)

Don


   
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jwmartin
(@jwmartin)
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Reading about all you busy beavers' organized song book made me start giving the evil eye to my 3 ring binder with 10 songs actually in the rings and another 100 or so just loosely stuffed into the folder, or laying on the mantle, bookshelf, amp or end table. So I got a thicker 3 ring binder and went through and made sure everything was punched. Added 10 dividers with 2 or 3 letters of the alphabet (mainly cause I didn't have 26 dividers) and put my songs in alpha order by artist. I have a couple of tabs for specific artists if I have a bunch of songs (like Pearl Jam and White Stripes). I thought about alphabetizing the songs within the artist, but decided against it since I often print out 3 or 4 songs at once and I print everything double sided, so I couldn't alphabetize those. I also have a tab for lessons. One of these days, I'm going to add an index page. I kept the smaller binder, figuring I'll put songs I'm currently learning or ones I plan on playing during jams with others.

Bass player for Undercover


   
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Megalomaniac
(@megalomaniac)
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haha dont worry, i'm the same way!
i've got my binder full of songs and most of them are actually connected to the binder, but the problem with me is that i'll never actually use it. i've got maybe about 50-100 songs in there and i never carry it around or look at it. most of the songs are song's i've gotten from my school or whatever over the years but i never end up using it or reviewing it as it's simple songs that i've got no interest in playing or singing aloud.
but i do keep track of songs in my own way!
i've got a giant paper bag i carry around in my guitar case with me everywhere! it's got songs that i currently know how to play completely, songs i would like to oneday learn, and songs i might be able to fake my way through/partly know.
i call it my bag of tricks!


   
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kent_eh
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But they sell little reinforcements that I use when the tear and that seems to work fine.

And if you don't have any (or can't find where you put them...) then I just put a bit of tape over the edge of the page where the hole ripped out, and re-punch it.

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


   
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Big Lar
(@big-lar)
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This is a great thread. Just one comment / observation. This is an area that because of my background as a software designer, I want to apply technology to. But, it is clear from the responses that the tried and true 3 ring binder is the clear winner in function and form. Amazing.


   
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kent_eh
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This is a great thread. Just one comment / observation. This is an area that because of my background as a software designer, I want to apply technology to. But, it is clear from the responses that the tried and true 3 ring binder is the clear winner in function and form. Amazing.

Yup, until e-paper is inexpensive, durable, visible from a distance and can display anything that it's user wants to (IE: no custom formats/DRM required) good old fashioned papyrus is still the winner.

Jamming gathered around a laptop just doesn't cut it. :wink:

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


   
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cnev
 cnev
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well there is a way technology can work here but it's still expensive. If yoiu have your sheets on a computer and then had one of the video projectors to beam it on the wall it would work great but I think those are still over $1000 for the cheapest ones.

One of the guys I jam with some times uses old school technology, he takes the chord sheets and copies them on transparency paper and uses a transparancy projector which i think he got for free from work when they were going to get rid of it.

Except for a bulb burning out it works great. The image is large and everyone's all way's on the same sheet of paper.

"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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kingpatzer
(@kingpatzer)
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This is a great thread. Just one comment / observation. This is an area that because of my background as a software designer, I want to apply technology to. But, it is clear from the responses that the tried and true 3 ring binder is the clear winner in function and form. Amazing.

It's rare to have a computer and printer at a gig :)

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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Vic Lewis VL
(@vic-lewis-vl)
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It's rare to have a computer and printer at a gig

Something weird occurred to me when I read that - so I went and checked all my folders, just to be sure. Yep, I was right. Every single one of the songs in each of those folders is written out in longhand! And yes, I do own a printer; and yes, it does have a cartridge. Two, actually - one black, one colour (always reminds me about the old works trick about sending someone, usually the newbie, to the stores for some tartan paint....!) and yes, it does work.

There is a reason for writing them out in that fashion, though - I find things stick in the memory longer if A - I work them out myself and B - I write them out myself. As I've got older I've found I spend so much time learning guitar parts there's not the same room in my head for lyrics there used to be!

: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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Combs
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Gees guys, I only have half a dozen songs, but it is building. As some other posters have said, I don't use a cheat sheet when I play to freinds and family. If I can't memorise the song I won't play it. But, the other day I was looking at some music show and noted that orchestras will always play with their music. I am sure they know the tune, but it is obviously a mind jogger just in case.

Someone else posted that they often forget the first couple of bars of words. I have the same issue. If I am under pressure, I often cannot for the life of me think of the words to start the song, and I need this to trigger the actual guitar playing. I find it very difficult to play the guitar without singing the words. I just lose track of where I am.

You have all inspired me though. I am now going to dash off and put all my loose leafs into a binder and try to organise them.


   
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