Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Chat about Equipment Info
 #139051  by mgbills
 Thu May 15, 2014 7:27 pm
I really need help with this one. On this board are some of the most intelligent and resourceful folks I know. Please share your secret methods.

How do you deal with tunes on paper? I'm stumped.

I've got notebooks...accordion files…folders...crap stapled, crap with paper clips, crap in alphabetical order…crap on the computer.

Help! Please. Some of you pros out there have solved this problem.

I like paper. I can leave myself reminders (abundant). John K. uses a notebook. If I have a notebook I flip pages in alphabetical order. They're better if you're rehearsing a set, but for the general heap of songs. I've got crap stacked everywhere. Tonight I found 2 copies of Jdarks "Tennessee Jed" and one from Deadstein for the whole brevity thing. Ug. Staples suck for multiple pages. Paperclips flip off and you're left with partial scores. iPad is groovy, but you can't take notes.

Please help! If I had a memory I wouldn't need any of this. But I don't.
Thanks in advance.
 #139054  by tatittle
 Thu May 15, 2014 7:42 pm
Cant say I'm organized enough to have done it myself but....putting lead sheets in plastic with binder holes sounds like a convenient technique. That way one could have large binder notebooks for library and then remove certain songs/pages to smaller binders for specific use. I am not as comfortable with electronic screens, with the exception of professional teleprompters, either.
 #139056  by ccw3432
 Thu May 15, 2014 10:12 pm
I would be interested in going the electronic route except I really don't need one more thing to maintain or give me troubleshooting issues. And then the cost of an electronic device. I've made a separate alphabetized binder for each musical project I am involved with. I type or copy all the songs into a Word document and set up the arrangement in a way that makes sense to me, putting in only what I need. Then I make the font as large as I can while still keeping everything on one page. Sometimes I have to go to two pages, but it's rare and I try to avoid it.

I still have another large binder of misc. stuff and plenty of unorganized crap around for the songs I'm not playing as frequently. I haven't tackled this one yet.
 #139064  by Lephty
 Fri May 16, 2014 7:05 am
I switched to a tablet computer a couple years ago and have been very happy with it. You can get an older model iPad or some other kind of tablet for a couple hundred bucks. Then spend some time scanning your old charts to PDF format. Upload your PDF's to Google Drive or some cloud-based service like that so that they are backed up and so you can access them from anywhere. There are apps (I use one called ForScore) where you actually CAN add notes to your charts (either typed notes, or you can use your fingertip to actually "write" stuff right onto the chart, and you can set up a setlist of the charts you want to use for a given gig or rehearsal.

The particularly nice thing about the tablet is that when it's clipped to your mic stand you can see it perfectly clearly, and you don't have to worry about lighting or the wind blowing your papers away. And turning pages is a matter of tapping on the screen.

And if the tablet just isn't your cup of tea, then sheet protectors and a 3-ring binder could be your plan B.
 #139065  by mgbills
 Fri May 16, 2014 7:23 am
I really like 2 of the suggestions here.

I like the master binder idea, with a sub-binder for what's currently in the queue.

I have an iPad. Hadn't thougth of scanning PDF's.

I'm a mediocre-at-best player, who isn't afraid to jam with a couple of local groups. I play every day, but I need those memory cues.

These methods will really help. Thanks very much.

Anybody else care to chime??
 #139068  by TI4-1009
 Fri May 16, 2014 8:47 am
Good question- same problem here. I rarely play out, but last time I did I had things alphabetical in the 3-ring binder (creeeek....).

At home I have my laptop on top of a 2-door file with alphabetical print-outs (held together with paper clips) in one drawer and my music books in the other. I have some downloaded lessons on the laptop (mainly from Seth), and desktop links to the music sites I frequent.

What I REALLY want is a music stand that holds pages nicely when you're reading from a bound music book that doesn't lie flat, and also makes it easy to flip pages. Even my music-teacher daughter hasn't been able to help me there.
 #139144  by Bobbybriand
 Mon May 19, 2014 6:48 pm
Yep 3 ring binder with the song names written shortform and scotch tap front n back folder over label. Alphabetic order would be nice. A 3ring fits perfectly on a music stand too.
 #139149  by Searing75
 Tue May 20, 2014 9:11 am
First generation Ipad. $160 or less on Amazon. So easy!

 #139213  by Bobbybriand
 Thu May 22, 2014 4:32 pm
It is cool especially with that mic stand holder for i phones n pads. Never was a Mac guy they did smoke out the Zune on their i everything campaign. Just a little pissed they dont have any cool guitar software like ik media's mac , i ,pc only. I did however build a usb guitar adapter downloaded amplitube and all their hoopla and another big name one ts racks or something. It really does work and is pretty impressive especially I had one proggy that just emulates other instruments(jerry style). I just cant ever picture myself with a tower,monitor,key board mouse,loop out through loopmaster port anywhere near my rig. I'm an 82 Tiger man myself and once you get that jerry tone playin clean is funner than any effect. Plus seriously tacky what could be used to describe. I have four pedals and they were all key to jerry 99% of his sound is all ya need. I'd go as far as ipad tablet back in my shelving unit in through 3 conducter 1/8jack adapter through a loop and do a wicked space session.
 #139226  by SlowTexasZim
 Fri May 23, 2014 8:33 am
For a show I use a binder that I got from Office Depot called Custom Show File Display Books made by Cardinal...they have top loading clear pockets that allow for easy in and out so you can make notes etc, no punching holes, no staples, no paper clips. You put the song sheets in the order of the set list for that particular show and it is easy to change out whenever or whatever the situation dictates. I keep all the print outs of cover songs I have printed out over the years (Rukind, Olga, ultimate guitar, jdarks, etc) in an old case of rum box in the closet. :shock:
 #140129  by jazzspire
 Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:03 am
I use the electronic method with paper as a backup.

I'm using a second hardware rev Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 device running MobileSheets (paid version) and it has worked out great for me over the years. At some point I'll get a backup tablet, surely another Samsung Galaxy tab.

My workflow for making charts through to live performance:
  • Paper Chart - use for first rehearsal of a tune and keep the latest printed copy for note taking.
  • MuseScore v1.3 Windows( (OpenSource runs on Win/iOS/Linux) - to create Jazz style lead sheets with MuseScore or OpenDocument/Word saved as PDF for electronic versions of charts.
  • MobileSheets ( - (Paid app runs on Android tablets with a Windows helper app) - MobileSheets provides a Windows version that supports organizing uploading, organizing tunes, and categorizing them by genre and various metadata. Once I have a PDF version of a chart, I then upload the PDF and create a song in MobileSheets (on Windows PC), create a backup of MobileSheets PDFs and metadata, and sometimes setup set list placeholders for upcoming shows.
  • Live Performance Prep - Once I receive the final setlist for a show, I can usually create a couple of set lists via drag/drop songs within 5-10 minutes of walking on stage at the very latest. Sometimes I use a bluetooth pedal to turn pages (AirTurn BT-105 with ATFS-2 Pedals & Pedal Board). Prior to walking on stage I turn off notifications, Wifi/4G, turn on Bluetooth if I'm using a pedal, and finally I disable the Swipe on the Android tablet and set it to use the basic Samsung keyboard as this is the only way to get it to work with the AirTurn BT-105. Finally, I startup MobileSheets and Load All for the appropriate Set List.
  • On Stage - play, listen, jam, and groove... every now and then tap on the BT pedal to turn a page if I need to use a chart for a reference.
There's always a chance that the mobile device will have some sort of issue. However, I have had a good experience with the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Just backup with paper or a second device to hedge against loss of power/battery or heat/humidity issues that may effect your device.

One final note on MuseScore... I really like the Jazz lead style of creating charts for keys, but if you are looking to also add lyrics, MuseScore does not make it easy. You have to create the full melody line as adding lyrics requires notes. If you have the patience, it works nicely. However, I don't use it for lyrics. Just chords and tagline type melodies.

You can jam lyrics into text above or below the system/staff, but that won't line up syllables with chord markings. I'm hoping MuseScore will cater to the chord chart scene, but it's mostly supported by classical, orchestral, symphony, and jazz players. It's starting to make some in-roads for guitar players as the next release 2.0 will support full guitar tab notation and it does figured bass as well. :) Check it out and let me know what you think. I'd like to hear if others have a positive experience. Feel free to ask me about MobileSheets at a John K. Band show... I'll surely be toting my Samsung Galaxy around.

Chairman of the Boards
The John K. Band
 #140130  by mgbills
 Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:15 pm
That's great!

I'm invested in Mac land after spending too much life energy reinstalling iterations of Windows. I will check out the software though. As a devoted amateur player, I really need the lyrics or lyric hints at the ready. Most of my favorite Dead tunes I know by heart, but often I need the first 3 words of the next stanza.

I'm going to look into the page turner pedal right now. With Apple hinting about an iPad pro this year (bigger display) this could be a complete solution. The company that employs me also employs the worlds worst IT guy, but most days I can print & use company resources to PDF my notes. If I meld RuKind tabs & notes, Deadstein, Jdarks and my own Jazz studies I can get a passible version that's quick & easy to read.

Peace to all.
 #140132  by TI4-1009
 Fri Jul 04, 2014 5:19 pm
And welcome to our little corner of the world Paul!
 #140158  by jazzspire
 Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:30 am
Thanks TI4-1009!

And mgbills... I'm thinking about going Mac too. Note, that MuseScore works on the Mac. I'm not sure if MobileSheets does, but there a some similar app for the iPAD.

I've got Mackine Onxy 1220i firewire board that I'd like to be able to get running with Reaper. I haven't had much luck getting the Mackie firewire drivers to work on Windows laptops. You have to buy specific version of a TI chip on a firewall card to get it to work on Windows and with the version of the drive that's still supported.

Chairman of the Boards
The John K. Band