People ask us all the time if we have Chord Charts for the “mainstream” tunes we do. Obviously we’ve created a great resource with North Point Music, but that only covers worship songs. And that’s not about to change, because the licensing for mainstream, or “secular” tunes is a nightmare we won’t soon tackle.
Anyhoo – I found two great Web sites a couple years ago that are my go-to sites for mainstream chord charts.
**NOTE: Before I tell you what it is, you MUST KNOW that if you want to become a better musician and learn the songs deep into your long-term memory, you should chart them from scratch with minimal to no assistance!!!
If, however, you are facing a deadline and a gauntlet of tunes, such as I am for the upcoming Married Life Live, this site is a great cheat. I mean “help”….
These sites include the great Sibelius Scorch plugin which allows you to see the first page of the long chart (piano, vocals, lyrics, chords, etc.) and transpose to any key you’d like.
You buy the tune, print it out, and presto – a 7 page chart. WAIT – a 7 page chart?????
Ahhh, then comes your turn. I still take that 7 pager and condense it into a 1 or 2 page Rhythm Chart, including (or omitting) whatever elements will help the band the most. Usually just Chords, important Rhythms, Dynamics and playing instructions, and, of course, Form (verses, choruses repeats, etc). There’s still work involved, but a whole lot less!!
Many times I’ll use NUMBERS (Nashville Number System) instead of CHORDS if they’re basic chords, that way a guitarist can capo and not have to transpose in his head, or we can change the key if it’s just not working for the singer.
For anything we do on a Sunday, or may wish to transpose in the future or export to another campus, I’ll do a Finale chart, but I’ll often just do a handwritten chart for special-event tunes. Here are a couple examples:
What have YOU transcribed lately?