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View Full Version : Need Your Help Reviewing My Nashville Numbers Primer



Ukuleleblues
06-25-2011, 05:09 AM
I wanted to send out to our Uke club the bare minimum they would need to begin to understand Nashville Numbers and maybe spark an interest in song structure and help them play without looking at sheet music.

I would appreciate any input you all could provide, from seasoned music theorists to absolute beginngers.

http://www.charlestonhotshots.com/Links/beginners-corner

Kimosabe
06-25-2011, 05:15 AM
Howdy,

I've got a big question: In the key of C why are you calling the G chord 2? In Jambalaya you have it listed as 27. The G's the 5 chord, right?

OldePhart
06-25-2011, 05:35 AM
I don't know how the experience levels range in your group. I think for most beginners Nashville numbering is going to cause more confusion than help. (And, BTW, I love Nashville numbering and use a modified version of it all the time when I'm playing bass.)

I think it's good to present the theory to help them understand song structure, but most beginners probably aren't going to be able to translate "1 = C" "4 = F" and so on in real time any better than they could, say, transpose "G = C" "C = F". In essence what you're forcing them to do is transpose everything they play every time - I think that's tougher than just the occasional transposition of a single song.

Now, if you're playing with more experienced folks who use a lot of barre chords and understand how you can "box" the song using them, Nashville numbering might be appropriate especially if you do change keys frequently. This is why I use NN on bass, the band leader can change keys all he wants to accomodate the vocalists and all I have to do is move the box a fret or two.

If you're interested, I've prepared a one-page chart that shows two different "boxes" - knowing Nashville numbering and these two boxes allows someone to play rhythm to just about any song in any key even if they've never played it before. You're welcome to print and distribute this chart (http://www.praiseuke.com/documents/chordcharts/UkeChordChart_boxes.pdf)

Just my $0.02.

John

Ukuleleblues
06-25-2011, 05:37 AM
Howdy,

I've got a big question: In the key of C why are you calling the G chord 2? In Jambalaya you have it listed as 27. The G's the 5 chord, right?Thanks for catching that typo. I'll fix it now.

Ukuleleblues
06-25-2011, 05:50 AM
I don't know how the experience levels range in your group. I think for most beginners Nashville numbering is going to cause more confusion than help. (And, BTW, I love Nashville numbering and use a modified version of it all the time when I'm playing bass.)

I think it's good to present the theory to help them understand song structure, but most beginners probably aren't going to be able to translate "1 = C" "4 = F" and so on in real time any better than they could, say, transpose "G = C" "C = F". In essence what you're forcing them to do is transpose everything they play every time - I think that's tougher than just the occasional transposition of a single song.

Now, if you're playing with more experienced folks who use a lot of barre chords and understand how you can "box" the song using them, Nashville numbering might be appropriate especially if you do change keys frequently. This is why I use NN on bass, the band leader can change keys all he wants to accomodate the vocalists and all I have to do is move the box a fret or two.

If you're interested, I've prepared a one-page chart that shows two different "boxes" - knowing Nashville numbering and these two boxes allows someone to play rhythm to just about any song in any key even if they've never played it before. You're welcome to print and distribute this chart (http://www.praiseuke.com/documents/chordcharts/UkeChordChart_boxes.pdf)

Just my $0.02.

John

I appreciate the input.

Ukulele JJ
06-25-2011, 07:57 AM
Not bad! I'm always happy to see people promoting the NNS--I think it's really the best way to convey most uke songs, and it really helps train the ears without you even being aware of it. :-)

My only suggestions:

- You could probably skip the whole chromatic scale business. I don't think it's necessary to put the diatonic scale in the context of the chromatic scale, and in fact it just sort of muddies the waters. I'd just jump right in with the major scale. Everyone knows do-re-mi. (And I'd call it a "major" scale, not "diatonic"... it's less jargony, plus technically not all diatonic scales are major scales.)

- You misspelled "Nashville" in one spot. :-)

- For your list of the notes in all 12 keys, I think it would be more helpful to format them so they "line up" in a grid. And then put the numbers along the top of the grid. Maybe make the 1, 4, and 5 columns in bold all the way down.

- You imply it, but I would more clearly point out that all chords are major chords unless otherwise indicated.

Otherwise, looks good!

JJ

Ukuleleblues
06-25-2011, 08:46 AM
Not bad! I'm always happy to see people promoting the NNS--I think it's really the best way to convey most uke songs, and it really helps train the ears without you even being aware of it. :-)

My only suggestions:

- You could probably skip the whole chromatic scale business. I don't think it's necessary to put the diatonic scale in the context of the chromatic scale, and in fact it just sort of muddies the waters. I'd just jump right in with the major scale. Everyone knows do-re-mi. (And I'd call it a "major" scale, not "diatonic"... it's less jargony, plus technically not all diatonic scales are major scales.)

- You misspelled "Nashville" in one spot. :-)

- For your list of the notes in all 12 keys, I think it would be more helpful to format them so they "line up" in a grid. And then put the numbers along the top of the grid. Maybe make the 1, 4, and 5 columns in bold all the way down.

- You imply it, but I would more clearly point out that all chords are major chords unless otherwise indicated.

Otherwise, looks good!

JJ

Thank you. My goal is to get folks to read and maybe prompt them to research it further, so I'm going to deep six the Chromatic scale.

sukie
06-25-2011, 06:28 PM
I don't know how the experience levels range in your group. I think for most beginners Nashville numbering is going to cause more confusion than help. (And, BTW, I love Nashville numbering and use a modified version of it all the time when I'm playing bass.)

I think it's good to present the theory to help them understand song structure, but most beginners probably aren't going to be able to translate "1 = C" "4 = F" and so on in real time any better than they could, say, transpose "G = C" "C = F". In essence what you're forcing them to do is transpose everything they play every time - I think that's tougher than just the occasional transposition of a single song.

Now, if you're playing with more experienced folks who use a lot of barre chords and understand how you can "box" the song using them, Nashville numbering might be appropriate especially if you do change keys frequently. This is why I use NN on bass, the band leader can change keys all he wants to accomodate the vocalists and all I have to do is move the box a fret or two.

If you're interested, I've prepared a one-page chart that shows two different "boxes" - knowing Nashville numbering and these two boxes allows someone to play rhythm to just about any song in any key even if they've never played it before. You're welcome to print and distribute this chart (http://www.praiseuke.com/documents/chordcharts/UkeChordChart_boxes.pdf)

Just my $0.02.

John

John, that chart is fantastic. Thank you.

OldePhart
06-26-2011, 08:34 AM
John, that chart is fantastic. Thank you.

Ahhh, shucks <scuffs ground with toe> :)

It's funny, I played guitar for years and never had the confidence to play rhythm in a band setting because I just couldn't "think" fast enough. Most people don't realize, but lead is far easier to play than rhythm, mostly because the lead player can lose his mind, go to lunch, come back and start playing a different song in the same key and no one notices much - let the drummer, bass player, or rhythm guitarist miss one beat and it's like somebody dropped the dishes on the floor.

Anyway, I ended up switching to bass because we really, really needed some bottom end. I'm still a pretty mediocre bass player, but I learned the "box" and then, later, I realized I could apply exactly the same box to rhythm guitar using barre chords. Now I can play rhythm because I don't have to think any more, I just follow my Nashville numbers and move around in the box.

So, when I picked up uke the first thing I did was put together the "box" as it applies to ukes.

Glad you like it, and hope it helps others, too.

John