My sight reading is bad but I still write charts in standard notation. I do this because it’s the ‘standard’ way of doing it and perhaps, perhaps my sight reading will improve by doing so.

Few days ago I was subbing and as I was reading my own charts (actually charts by other people but not by the guitarist I was subbing), I started some songs in different keys and we all know that would be disastrous. It was one of the most horrendous nights I’ve ever had and I was scolded badly backstage after that. I deserved all that though. Boy I better do better!

We had 1 more set to go so I took my time listening to the songs to be played later. For one song, I had the chord charts but there were some guitar lines. I listened to the song carefully and wrote down the lines in standard notation. I did not just write it down but also practiced it on my air guitar. This was to have the hands play the lines automatically while having the chart as a reminder later. The set started and I thought I did quite well until the last song which was totally different from what I knew and, yes I screwed up again. It was the last set so after that everyone left otherwise I think I would be scolded again.

The main point in this post is not about being scolded but more on reading and writing. If possible I’d prefer not reading at all but there are 10 billion songs out there to be learned and charts save lives. If I don’t already have charts for certain songs, I would write the chords down, with directions like arpeggios, rock out etc., if there’s a certain rhythm to be played, I would write down the slash notation, if there are guitar lines, I would write down the lines in standard notation and so on. Sometimes it feels easier to just memorize the lines but we never know what’s going to happen on stage when the mind decides to shut itself down and we don’t remember anything anymore. So, happy charting and reading!

Anyway here’s a video of I did last week:

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