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mikelz777
08-01-2017, 03:41 PM
I was wondering how many people here make up their own songbooks.

When I first started playing the ukulele, The Daily Ukulele was my go-to source for playing music. After a while, I grew pretty bored with it and realized that the vast majority of the songs in there were songs that I had little to no interest in playing. Thus came the impetus for making my own song book. Currently I play all my music from song sheets. I've never sat down and memorized a song so my song book is very important to me.

My current process is to find the chords for a song that I like and then I bookmark them. I probably have several dozen songs bookmarked. Then over the course of weeks/months I'll play through my bookmarks and in that time decide what songs I continue to like enough to want to make up a chord sheet for my songbook. (Of course there have been songs I liked immediately and made up a song sheet on the spot.) When a song makes the cut for my book I'll take the lyrics and bury the chord names right in the lyrics where the chord changes occur. I also put chord diagrams on the bottom of each page so anyone can look at it and know all the chords in the song. I just paged through my songbook and found that I have at least 82 different artists' music represented. The current leaders of the pack are:

Bob Dylan - 11 songs (but I already know that there will be many more)
John Prine - 9 songs
Hank Williams - 7 songs
Leon Redbone - 6 songs (These are likely covers or public domain but I attribute them to Leon since I got them all from his CDs.)
The Beatles - 5 songs (I was surprised I only have 5. I'm sure that number will increase.)
Bruce Springsteen - 5 songs (There's likely to be more in the future.)

There are other repeaters but I only listed those with 5 or more songs.

Do you make up your own songbook(s)? What artists are most represented in your book(s)?

Rllink
08-01-2017, 04:28 PM
Yes I do. I'm pretty much from the same school of thought. I got tired of buying books full of songs that I didn't want to play just to get one or two songs that I did want to play. There are just too many sources for songs out there to tap.

Choirguy
08-01-2017, 06:07 PM
I arrange all the songs my students sing...with lead sheets...and almost nothing matches an original source note for note or chord for chord. Existing sheets help me, but I almost always feel that some chords should be different.

In the case of the Daily Ukulele, a lot of material needs to be transposed so it can be sung with. Sopranos and tenors generally cannot sing low G's!

On another note, I have started making video play along for all of the Daily 365. As of today, eight down...358 to go. And I am also making play along videos of all kinds of songs to use instructionally in schools...that is a fun process involving creativity, chordal analysis, and finding resources. It has been a blast to work on these things this summer. I am almost recharged enough to go back to the classroom and stand my ground for another 9 months! :)

DownUpDave
08-01-2017, 11:43 PM
Yes I maintain a song book because my musical tastes vary a lot and published books just never cover it all. I use my tablet with the Guitar Tabs app more than anything now. If I think of a song I can look it up, find the version I like, transpose to a different key if necessary and save it to my favorites. I will some times print off a song if I am spending a lot of time practicing it. There is no substitute for the ability to make notes on paper.

bunnyf
08-02-2017, 03:00 AM
I have 1000+ songs on my iPad using onsong. A quick look shows top artists are Beatles, Stones, Eagles, Dylan, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, Hank Sr., Haggard, Prine. I also have my songs broken down into categories and sets for easy access, like 2, 3 chord songs, holiday, bluegrass, etc. This is super helpful for playing in groups. I can send out PDFs that meet the needs of a particular group. Right now I'm making up a 10 song, dead easy, set to share with absolute beginners. I just finished a 50 song set to share with a mixed instrument jam I call the Cowboy Chord Club, 3-4 easy chord songs (no rapid chord changes either) in keys that are easy for most (guitar & uke primary)
I love making my own sheets, especially if I'm gonna share them (especially with beginners). I want to have chords over every verse (otherwise song falls apart), chord diagrams, good flow (so they're not jumping all over the page, good size font and one page if at all possible. I also often make more than one version of a song. One accurate to the original, sometimes one altered to how I want to play it and a third, simplified version to share with beginners.

bariukish
08-02-2017, 04:08 AM
Over the last 5 years, my wife and I have made three full loose leaf binders from chords and lyrics from the internet. Most repeated artists are probably John Denver, Jimmy Buffet, Eagles, and others. I also like to include The Daily Ukulele in our rotation. It challenges us to use chords that our other songbooks don't and, over time, helps us add more color to our old favorites. Never too old to learn and enjoy our uke sessions.

UkingViking
08-02-2017, 04:47 AM
I make my own pile-of-papers with a mix of lead sheets, chord/lyrics and tabs on them :-)
I have a huge fake book with hundreds of songs in it, and if I am lucky I can find the song I want to learn in it. But most of the time I need to go online to find the particular song I want.

I am very hesitative to buy a songbook with a ton of songs in it, from which I only consider playing a handful. Does anybody know if Hal Leonard has a "pick and print" songbook feature?
It would be nifty if you could just pick a number of songs you wanted, and have a custom songbook printed and bound and shipped to you. But I guess that is wishfull thinking.

Osprey
08-02-2017, 05:04 AM
Mikelz777, you have inspired me. I have piles of paper songs, the Daily Ukulele, songs in Onsong and a gig book of songs I play with a group. Some of the songs I really enjoy, some I play because the group likes them. It's time I start a book of songs that move me into my songbook.

JoeJazz2000
08-02-2017, 05:37 AM
I absolutely make my own songbooks. I have a large binder with clear insert pockets on the outside covers. In these I have the two-page chord sheet(s) from Michellle Kiba's Pa Mele O Hokulea Ukulele Academy, downloaded from the internet. Inside are chord/lyric sheets, leadsheets, and full arrangements from a variety of online sources, all in plastic page protectors. Most are from Dr. Uke, Ukester Brown, Ukulele Mike, and a few from Alligator Boogaloo. I particularly like jazz/pop standards from the 20s and 30s, and these sources are great for that stuff. Dr. Uke's listings are very broad and contain some more contemporary stuff as well. Ukester Brown is an exceptional song collector and performer and usually finds the original verses to songs that we know now only as choruses. I have separate books of Ukulele Mike's chord melody arrangements, printed out from the e-books when I undertake new songs. I have Glen Rose's jazz lessons in a separate binder as well. I agree with the poster who said he didn't want to buy an entire songbook to get one song, especially if it's a widely available public domain song. I have a few ukulele songbooks and they're not all useful. I like every song in my own books and am ready to play any one at any time. That's the fun of it.

Choirguy
08-02-2017, 05:51 AM
I have 1000+ songs on my iPad using OnSong.

Do you have them in there as PDFs, or as created songs with lyrics and chords? I ask because I thought OnSong could not only project lyrics through a display and a non-notation lead sheet for the iPad users, but also could play a generated accompaniment? That would be incredible if that is true...

I haven't used OnSong for a while...but I do own it. I think Planning Center can also do some of this...but it needs to be managed by your local church music leader.

I use forScore most of the time (I also like unrealBook) and if you count the Daily 365 and Leap Year editions, that is over 700 songs in just two books. It isn't a competition, but I try to scan everything (personal and school) and probably have access to well over 10,000 songs with everything stored in the cloud (I only pull down what I need at the time into forScore). I recently upgradeded my iPad to the newest 12.9" iPad Pro, and I'm loving it (working on that as I write this).

Choirguy
08-02-2017, 05:54 AM
I have separate books of Ukulele Mike's chord melody arrangements, printed out from the e-books when I undertake new songs.

It is a little off-topic, but what do you think of them? I'm ready for some more challenges in terms of picking and chord melody, but I want to work with material that isn't just "heady" but is fun to play. Part of the reason I never became that good at piano (I can play parts as a teacher, but would never be an accompanist) is that lessons were filled with playing all kinds of things that just didn't (and still don't at age 44) interest me!

bunnyf
08-02-2017, 06:17 AM
Do you have them in there as PDFs, or as created songs with lyrics and chords? I ask because I thought OnSong could not only project lyrics through a display and a non-notation lead sheet for the iPad users, but also could play a generated accompaniment? That would be incredible if that is true...

I haven't used OnSong for a while...but I do own it. I think Planning Center can also do some of this...but it needs to be managed by your local church music leader.

I use forScore most of the time (I also like unrealBook) and if you count the Daily 365 and Leap Year editions, that is over 700 songs in just two books. It isn't a competition, but I try to scan everything (personal and school) and probably have access to well over 10,000 songs with everything stored in the cloud (I only pull down what I need at the time into forScore). I recently upgradeded my iPad to the newest 12.9" iPad Pro, and I'm loving it (working on that as I write this).

I try not to do PDFs except for standard notation or tab/chord melody arrangements. Most are either created/modified by me in and are formatted by onsong so that I can use edit features, display features, instant transposing and the like. PDFs can't do this, they are what they are. You can share songs with others in multiple formats, say if I'm gonna email a set to someone and they don't have onsong, I'll just send it out as a PDF or whatever format works for them. You can share songs wirelessly to band mates. You can project to tv (I've never used this but it's a cool feature). I also see there is a spot to attach an MP3 to a particular song, but I haven't explored that either. Lots of tutorials online (and in the app) that show you how these features work.

mikelz777
08-02-2017, 06:41 AM
This is an example of what my song sheets look like. They are all in the same font and notated in the same format so the book as a whole looks uniform. The size of font may change, wordy songs being smaller and shorter songs larger but the range only varies from 12-16 pts. Whenever I can, I try to get the song and the chord diagrams on one page but on a few songs it's impossible. As you can see in the example, this is a new song I just worked up so the dots aren't yet drawn on the chord diagrams.

101939

mikelz777
08-02-2017, 06:53 AM
Mikelz777, you have inspired me. I have piles of paper songs, the Daily Ukulele, songs in Onsong and a gig book of songs I play with a group. Some of the songs I really enjoy, some I play because the group likes them. It's time I start a book of songs that move me into my songbook.

My system has worked pretty well for me. Over the years there are probably less than half a dozen songs that made my book that I would subsequently choose to remove.

TopDog
08-02-2017, 06:59 AM
I started our local Ukulele Group back in 2010 and we
built up a songbook I had made up, that ran to around
one hundred and eighty songs.
I had to pass that group on to my second in command,
for health reasons; but soon after I started a smaller
group who play B/U's, and our songbook, again made by
me, is now at two hundred and four songs (and growing!)
I find a basic arrangement of the song we want, and then
play around with the arrangement and key, until I end up
with a sheet that works well enough for the group.
I love it, and if I did not have the group(s) I would have
made the songbooks up anyway, for my own use!

Choirguy
08-02-2017, 07:24 AM
This is an example of what my song sheets look like. They are all in the same font and notated in the same format so the book as a whole looks uniform. The size of font may change, wordy songs being smaller and shorter songs larger but the range only varies from 12-16 pts. Whenever I can, I try to get the song and the chord diagrams on one page but on a few songs it's impossible. As you can see in the example, this is a new song I just worked up so the dots aren't yet drawn on the chord diagrams.

101939

I was going to attempt some humor and say that some of my middle school students play like those chord diagrams...everything is a C6 no matter the actual chord!

This is where I would again encourage the investigation of Chordette...you could easily drop the chords right into the booth, of that document.

Nickie
08-02-2017, 07:53 AM
Yes, we used to. We have a Beatles song book, Train songs book, Christmas songs book, Cowboy song book, Irish song book, so far. But like bunny, we have begun to put them on 2nd hand iPads using OnSong. We grew weary of carrying around heavy books, and killing trees.

acmespaceship
08-02-2017, 08:49 AM
Is anyone else using the Ukegeeks song editor? http://ukegeeks.com/songeditor

I like it when I have a song that I need to transpose but I haven't settled on a key yet, and there are too many chords for me to transpose in my head (Embraceable You most recently; still not sure if I prefer it in C or D)

I've been looking for a good ChordPro editor that runs on Windows. Any suggestions?

The easy songs I format in MS Word and save as individual PDF files that are managed in MobileSheets on my tablet. Or I capture them in the GuitarTAPP app. Writing up song booklets for the local uke club is fun. The club prints paper copies, but I keep them as PDF files. Here's a packet of Leon Redbone songs (https://www.dropbox.com/s/16wbxtpyrfc8b6y/Redbone%20packet%201st%20acme%20edition.pdf?dl=0) that I shared here before.

And yet I still have a huge 3-ring binder collecting loose scraps of paper.

I was researching early arrangements of Greensleeves and found out there's a collection of lute music from the early 1600's in a museum (can't remember which offhand). The manuscripts came from an English gentleman's estate. They were unbound and printed or handwritten on various types of paper over the span of many years. In other words, that guy was collecting tab like the rest of us!

ETA: I should add that I'm mostly formatting chord/lyric sheets, not lead sheets. For lead sheets or tab I use Tabledit or Finale.

Tootler
08-02-2017, 08:30 PM
How much more is killed, burned and toxically landfilled to make iPads!

That thought occurred to me. It's not about saving trees as most paper is made from trees grown sustainably, though there is an energy cost. However the advantage of a tablet is that it is much less bulky than folders. It is important to make sure it has sufficient charge before you go out.

Choirguy
08-02-2017, 08:52 PM
I don't want to get into another argument here on UU, but someone has to point out that iPads and iPhones are highly recyclable, by design, and the company has a goal to build all devices with 100% recycled materials (or close to it) within 10 years. They are also running on clean energy in their stores (they may have already reached 100% at that), have invented robots to disassemble existing devices into component parts, and have been addressing human rights issues across the product line--from the mining of the raw materials to the final sales in the store.

No--they aren't perfect--but they are one of the most forward thinking companies, and they do put their money where their mouth is. Even in terms of commitment to the community. A local ukulele player works at Apple, and Apple makes a financial contribution to some organizations based on the time that he spends leading groups and events on his personal time.

I'm an iPad person (hard to think that 12 years ago, I was an anti-Apple person) so you can disregard my opinion. That said, as a musician and as a music teacher, I love the benefits of performing and teaching with my iPad...even more so with my new iPad Pro. I'm not going to try to do a cost analysis, although a carbon footprint study would be interesting--but the tools that I have available at all times are things I wouldn't have with paper--and I wouldn't want to go back.

And if you don't want to use a device--that's okay, too. I'm not going to think poorly of you!

Purpleorchid
08-03-2017, 06:16 AM
Thanks to this thread, I bought forScore last night and scanned in two of my ukulele music books (my Iz book and my son's Moana book), some chord charts, Uncle Rod's Boot Camp document he told me about and some other free pdf music. Now my small collection of ukulele music can come with me wherever I go. Thanks all!

Side note: I haven't quite figured out how to use the built-in darkroom scanner (their user guide wasn't too detailed on that), so I had to use my other scanner app to make a multi-page pdf and then upload to OneDrive and then import into forScore from OneDrive.

kohanmike
08-03-2017, 08:32 AM
I will never use paper again. I have a 13.3" Android tablet and MobileSheets Prob with hundreds of songs all cross referenced so I can choose any list I want. I also have audio tracks with each song sheet from rehearsals which I practice with anytime.

Rllink
08-03-2017, 09:47 AM
When I was getting ready for my one and only ukulele student to start, I went to the music store and looked over what they had for beginner books. I wasn't happy with any of them. So from the very beginning we started our own book. We put a cover sheet on the front of it that said "Keep on Truckin'", and under that it said "Ukulele Book, Keep Out, Private and Confidential." Then we filled it with what she thought that she needed to have in her book and songs that she wanted to play. We made it fun. It actually turned out pretty good. And it is her book, especially made for her. That makes it special. I'll put it up beside any Hal Leonard beginner book that you would have to pay sixteen bucks for.

mikelz777
08-03-2017, 10:18 AM
... it is her book, especially made for her. That makes it special. I'll put it up beside any Hal Leonard beginner book that you would have to pay sixteen bucks for.

I couldn't agree more. It's kind of an incentive and spirit killer if you are forced to play music that you can't relate to. Your student is much more likely to practice and enjoy playing if she's playing music that she chose and enjoys.

Tootler
08-03-2017, 01:48 PM
I will never use paper again. I have a 13.3" Android tablet and MobileSheets Prob with hundreds of songs all cross referenced so I can choose any list I want. I also have audio tracks with each song sheet from rehearsals which I practice with anytime.

When I recently got a 10" Android tablet, I tried both Mobile Sheets and Orpheus. Mobile sheets is very good and allows multiple indexing and I thought that was the one to go for but I kept finding myself choosing Orpheus for preference. What I like is its simplicity and yet it is very effective.

DaisyUke
08-03-2017, 01:55 PM
I'm very new to the Uke world having bought my Kala Soprano last month. I have about 20 songs that I've printed that I found on Pinterest. I have tons saved to my Ukulele board, but many of them cannot be printed. What I do have are just loose sheets laying around. Putting them into a binder is a much better idea.

I'm curious where to find songs, though. I love John Prine and would love to get the music for some of his songs...... along with many others. Is there a site or two everyone goes to or are they found through google searches?

Thanks!

quiltingshirley
08-03-2017, 02:40 PM
I have a thousand or so in OnSong and some in different songbooks in the program. Most are not PDF but if they are, I use the sticky note function and add the chord progression in Nashville numbers. I also have the paper notebooks too as sometimes they want books used. (I've been known to take pictures of songs we're using and put the "book" in iBooks to use and then delete when I'm done.) I've got more music than skill or time.

photoshooter
08-03-2017, 03:25 PM
I save all of my song sheets as pdf files. I put them in OnSong on my iPad but sometimes I print them too. I will often download the sheets as pdf and embellish them if needed. Or sometimes I create my own pdfs by combining information from different sources. Sometimes if I'm trying to "flesh out" a song I'll go to youtube to hear performances or tutorials for more ideas. Any notes or helpful tips are added to the song sheet. My goal is to get it to one page if possible. Pdf files are saved as song name in lower case letters followed by key in capital letters. This is what works best for me. Once everything is in OnSong I create different playlists that function as "songbooks".

As for DaisyUke's question about where to find songs, I'll link some of my go-to websites.

Richard G's Ukulele Songbook (https://wp.scorpexuke.com). Over 1300 songs nicely formatted as pdf files with chord diagrams.

Ukutabs (https://ukutabs.com)

Doctor Uke (http://www.doctoruke.com/index.html)

Ukulele Boogaloo (http://www.alligatorboogaloo.com/uke/tabs.html)

Stewart's Ukulele Songbook (http://stewartgreenhill.com/ukulele/)

Jim's Ukulele Songbook (http://ozbcoz.com/Songs/index.php?cat=3&type=99&instr=ukulele)

Uke Tunes (https://uketunes.wordpress.com/songs/)

ultimate guitar.com (https://www.ultimate-guitar.com) - uke chords, guitar chords...it's all good :)


There are lots of ukulele clubs around the world who are kind enough to put their songbooks online for all to enjoy.

Bytown Ukulele Group (http://www.bytownukulele.ca/Songs.aspx)
San Jose Uke Club (http://sanjoseukeclub.org/song_book.html)
Ukulele Inspired (http://ukuleleinspired.com/resources-2/ukulele-inspired-song-book/)
Ukulele Club of Virginia (https://app.box.com/shared/2h5etljd44)
Worthing Uke Jam (http://www.wukulele.com)
Ukulele Wednesdays (https://ukulelewednesdays.com)

mikelz777
08-03-2017, 03:25 PM
I'm curious where to find songs, though. I love John Prine and would love to get the music for some of his songs...... along with many others. Is there a site or two everyone goes to or are they found through google searches?

Thanks!

I get the majority of my stuff (chords) off of ultimateguitar.com. What's nice about that site is that they provide up/down arrows so you can easily/automatically transpose the song until you find the right key for your singing voice. I like cowboylyrics.com too. There's a lot of John Prine chords on that site and it's where I get a lot of my old-school country stuff. (classic-country-song-lyrics.com is another)

ksiegel
08-03-2017, 05:09 PM
I do lead sheets - just chord names and lyrics - for songs I know the melody of. if I don't know the melody, well... I can't play it, as I don't read notation or tab, and time signatures are completely foreign. (I was kicked out of drum lessons in 6th grade, because I couldn't do a quarter-note roll after 6 months). I know a waltz is in 3/4 time, and many other things are in 4/4 time, and I can tap them out, but that's about it.

I generally try to print my lyrics at a minimum of 14 point - any smaller, and I can't read them. 16 is preferred.

But that's why I don't use a tablet - I don't think I can see the lyrics, unless I make the text large, and get one of those pedal contraptions that scrolls the page. And how well does the screen do outdoors, in bright light?

So I carry my binders, and my songbooks, and my Music Stands.

ksiegel
08-03-2017, 05:12 PM
I'm very new to the Uke world having bought my Kala Soprano last month. I have about 20 songs that I've printed that I found on Pinterest. I have tons saved to my Ukulele board, but many of them cannot be printed. What I do have are just loose sheets laying around. Putting them into a binder is a much better idea.

I'm curious where to find songs, though. I love John Prine and would love to get the music for some of his songs...... along with many others. Is there a site or two everyone goes to or are they found through google searches?

Thanks!

Try Chordie.com. You can change instruments, and transpose, but be forewarned that a lot of the songs contain errors, and they are all hosted Elsewhere. (But you can build your own songbook on line.)

Tootler
08-04-2017, 06:34 AM
I get the majority of my stuff (chords) off of ultimateguitar.com. What's nice about that site is that they provide up/down arrows so you can easily/automatically transpose the song until you find the right key for your singing voice. I like cowboylyrics.com too. There's a lot of John Prine chords on that site and it's where I get a lot of my old-school country stuff. (classic-country-song-lyrics.com is another)

I too go to UltimateGuitar.com for most of my lyrics and chords. They often have several versions and you can check them by playing through to see which is best. The transpose function is very useful and I then usually copy and paste the result into a text file and tidy it up in a word processor. Classic Country Songs is a good source for what it says but be aware that they have transposed everything to either C or G. No problem if those are comfortable keys for the song but the do give a link to http://www.logue.net/xp/ which enables you to transpose a lyric sheet to any key. You just paste in the chord/lyric sheet, tell it what key to transpose to and what form you want the output and it outputs in a form you can then copy and paste into a text file - very useful.

DaisyUke
08-04-2017, 06:44 AM
Thanks! That is an amazing list of sites for uke music. My head is about to explode!

Rllink
08-04-2017, 06:48 AM
I too go to UltimateGuitar.com for most of my lyrics and chords. They often have several versions and you can check them by playing through to see which is best. The transpose function is very useful and I then usually copy and paste the result into a text file and tidy it up in a word processor. Classic Country Songs is a good source for what it says but be aware that they have transposed everything to either C or G. No problem if those are comfortable keys for the song but the do give a link to http://www.logue.net/xp/ which enables you to transpose a lyric sheet to any key. You just paste in the chord/lyric sheet, tell it what key to transpose to and what form you want the output and it outputs in a form you can then copy and paste into a text file - very useful. I have the ultimateguitar.com app installed on my Kindle and it works great.

DaisyUke
08-04-2017, 06:51 AM
Thanks for the tip on cowboylyrics.com. Great site!