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#2827357 - 01/11/17 11:08 AM Providing Charts For A Sub
Cabo Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 88
Loc: Rochester, NY
A new band I've joined (that hasn't played out yet) has asked about making up a book of my charts (accurate, detailed Sibelius transcriptions) to have available for a keyboard sub, if the need should arise. It probably will, since I play with other groups.

I'm feeling a little uncomfortable with this, since 1 - a lot of work went into them, so I feel they are part of the value I bring and 2 - I really don't know these folks very well and at some point they could decide to let me go and they'd have instant keyboard charts for the new guy. I read a few other threads that suggested charging the band leader, but that doesn't seem right to me in this case. Then I started thinking about the audio samples and backing tracks I've created and I'm wondering if they might ask for them too. What would you guys do?
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#2827358 - 01/11/17 11:13 AM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: Cabo]
AnotherScott Offline
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Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 10188
I'm protected... nobody else can make heads or tails out of my charts. ;-)
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#2827359 - 01/11/17 11:14 AM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: Cabo]
MathOfInsects Online   content
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"These are just my own cheat sheets and I don't hand these out, but I'm happy to put some formal charts together for you. How is $100 per song?"
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#2827360 - 01/11/17 11:15 AM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: Cabo]
Bif_ Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 05/16/09
Posts: 1222
Loc: Indiana
They're your charts/work product. Your effort, your sweat, your benefit.

It's not your responsibility to make sure someone else can easily do your job.

Sell them? Maybe, but I'd sure get a fair price (which would probably seem like a high price to someone that hasn't created a chart). In other words, "what would I charge to create a chart for someone else?"
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#2827364 - 01/11/17 11:43 AM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: Bif_]
CEB Offline
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Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 12167
Reach out with the Force. If you are feeling uncomfortable there is a reason. Good Musicians have good instincts. Trust them .... whatever they may be telling you. We aint in your shoes.


Edited by CEB (01/11/17 11:44 AM)

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#2827368 - 01/11/17 11:55 AM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: CEB]
JerryA Offline
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Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 6875
Loc: New England
If the band hasn't played out yet, I personally would be hearing warning bells over this request. You'll need to make up your own mind on this. My response would be something like:

"If a sub is required because I am unable to play a gig, at that point I'd be happy to help prepare the person utilizing whatever methods are necessary, including charts. However ... 1) keyboard performance is about more than transcriptions (sounds, etc) and 2) if the sub is good for this material or genre, he/she would already have many of these songs prepared."
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#2827370 - 01/11/17 12:02 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: Cabo]
Wastrel Offline
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Registered: 05/13/09
Posts: 2279
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: Cabo
A new band I've joined (that hasn't played out yet) has asked about making up a book of my charts (accurate, detailed Sibelius transcriptions) to have available for a keyboard sub, if the need should arise. It probably will, since I play with other groups.

I'm feeling a little uncomfortable with this, since 1 - a lot of work went into them, so I feel they are part of the value I bring and 2 - I really don't know these folks very well and at some point they could decide to let me go and they'd have instant keyboard charts for the new guy. I read a few other threads that suggested charging the band leader, but that doesn't seem right to me in this case. Then I started thinking about the audio samples and backing tracks I've created and I'm wondering if they might ask for them too. What would you guys do?

Unfortunately, they have put you in a pretty difficult position. If you refuse, they are going to look at you as "not a team player", if you agree, then you are giving away your work product for free, and enabling them to easily replace you. Lose lose. If this is a cover band, you might be able to finesse the issue by taking an ethical stance. "I'm sorry, but I can't in good conscience distribute transcriptions of another artists' work without permission." Or something like that.

Good luck!
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#2827372 - 01/11/17 12:12 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: Wastrel]
Bobadohshe Offline
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Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 5491
Loc: San Diego / Los Angeles
Difficult situation! You could make up some shittier more lead sheet style charts and give those out. Or you could put all the charts on a cheap iPad and have the sub use that on the gig.

I'd be more willing to hand over the legit charts in printed form if you had more history with this band. Being new it's more of an unreasonable request on their part.

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#2827375 - 01/11/17 12:16 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: Wastrel]
aronnelson Offline
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Registered: 09/04/14
Posts: 640
This is a really tough one. I guess if you are already deciding you will be subbing out from the beginning - then I guess it's OK to give them the charts - that's what I do.
OTOH like you said, a lot of work went into creating the charts and it's not really fair for the sub (who might replace you) to go in and have an easy time based on your work.

What if you just said "when that time comes" we will see about giving all of my charts away?

See how this band goes first....
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#2827376 - 01/11/17 12:19 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: aronnelson]
nickd Offline
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Registered: 05/24/10
Posts: 889
Loc: UK
I'd stall them for now, then see how you feel when an actual specific situation arises.

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#2827378 - 01/11/17 12:31 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: nickd]
BEMcCut Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/24/11
Posts: 179
Loc: Pennsylvania
I would do the charts but I would keep them. If a sub is needed loan them out and say they must be returned as you need them. There is the chance they will make copies but if they are too lazy to write the charts themselves they will also be too lazy to copy them. Sounds fishy to me. Like they already have a replacement in mind.

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#2827379 - 01/11/17 12:32 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: aronnelson]
drawback Offline
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Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 3065
Loc: Victoria, BC Canada
That is tough. I've been on the receiving end many times so I always appreciate the charts. The band leaders appreciate it, and the keyboard player looks like a champ by not hanging his band out to dry.

However, the charts belong to the keyboard player I sub for, not the band. It's his chair and he has enough confidence in his relationship with the band leader that he won't lose his gig unless he asks to. I've been a better player than the original guys I've subbed for, but everyone's up front and it's not my permanent gig unless the original guy quits.

If I were you I'd make up the charts but talk to the band leader and explain your trepidation, and tell him the charts are yours till otherwise. Music communities are too small for cloak & dagger stuff, right?

BTW, whose tunes are they anyway? Do you hold copyright to any of them?


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#2827381 - 01/11/17 12:44 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: drawback]
CEB Offline
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Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 12167
I totally missed the " (that hasn't played out yet)" part. F*** that. This is easy.

I know what I would do. I would be polite and measured in tone.... business like. But I would be upfront. I would tell them "No" I work very hard on those chart and I have been in music long enough to know there are a lot of lying dishonorable bastards in music. I would point out that I am not implying they are such people but I have been lied to by the best in my musical history. Of course may want to choose a more diplomatic/professional style of speech. I would not hand over my book so they could bring in a hot chick with fake boobs that sings better than me but can't transcribe music.

But I'm old. You get more upfront the older you get.


Edited by CEB (01/11/17 12:51 PM)

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#2827382 - 01/11/17 12:44 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: drawback]
Cabo Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 88
Loc: Rochester, NY
These are all cover tunes we're talking about; I don't own copyright. But most are fairly complex in terms of arrangements and multiple parts I've written out. I don't think they are planning on replacing me, but who knows?

I like the advice to wait it out, but the band leader did say something about putting the book together "as we go", so it may come up sooner than I was hoping.
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#2827383 - 01/11/17 12:48 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: Cabo]
CEB Offline
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Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 12167
That's good. I use that sometimes when my wife wants me to do something I don't want to do. I just wait it out and sort of ignore it and it sometimes goes away ..... probably because she knows what my behavior really means and decides to be considerate it of my feelings on the particular issue at hand.

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#2827384 - 01/11/17 12:49 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: drawback]
Reezekeys Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/07/11
Posts: 1756
Loc: NYC area
All the other players are making up their own detailed Sibelius charts in case any of them need to sub? Or is this honor only for the keyboardist?

Why do I think I already know the answer to this question? smile

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#2827385 - 01/11/17 12:54 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: drawback]
timwat Offline
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Registered: 11/21/01
Posts: 5158
Loc: Concord,CA,UNITED STATES
Either you trust the guys in this band, or you don't. And if you don't trust them, that doesn't mean you may not grow to trust them in the future, but let's not pretend they've earned your trust yet.

I would never have a problem generating clear, legible lead sheets for a sub. While some may disagree, I am happy to do that as a sign of good faith, helping a brother out, and helping my bandmates be more at ease when I can't be there. But anything more than that and I would respectfully decline.

"Accurate, detailed Sibelius transcriptions" sounds like far more than simple lead sheets. It sounds like an inordinate amount of (unpaid) work from which you derive NO benefit. In my neck of the woods, a high-level, credible sub is expected to step in and do the necessary work to adequately sub the gig based on YouTube links or similar audio - without expecting a shred of paper to assist. A sub may not be a 100% carbon copy, but a reasonable coverage of all the salient parts. This requires a bit of woodshedding unless clearly this is a musical theater-type sight-reading gig (and it doesn't sound like it is).

Others have brought up other necessary questions: Are we talking about primarily covers? Is there a copyright issue involved? What's the reason(s) we're talking about more than great, notated lead sheets?

I agree with drawback - musical communities are far too small to create intrigue, go behind someone's back or sh*t the bed. Everyone hears about it. And that goes for the long term as well. If these guys end up the kind of guys who will screw you over, take the charts and run to another player - they ain't the guys you want to be playing with anyway.
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#2827394 - 01/11/17 01:38 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: timwat]
richforman Offline
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Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 1022
Loc: Long Island, NY
Not sure if this is an answer but it's my approach. I couldn't do what they're asking in this case because I don't use charts, I strive to memorize everything, so I certainly wouldn't create them just for potential future subs. If I think it's likely on joining a project that I may need to be subbed out for gigs in the future, what I'll do is let them know that I have my own network of good players I know from whom I'll *get* them a sub (if they want) when I can't make it. Since it'll be someone I know, I'll essentially be vouching for them that they will be able to be prepared and cut the gig (and the band doesn't have to worry about how that's going to happen). The guys I'd call to sub for me are guys who I know will do whatever's required to prepare for a gig as needed, just as I would for my own band or a sub date, without relying on any help from me. So then the chart issue would be moot. If they don't want me to do that, if they already have their own list of subs to call on, then I'd say the ball is in their court, not mine, to know that whoever they pick either knows, or can learn (without any help from me) the material.
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#2827395 - 01/11/17 01:44 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: timwat]
Cabo Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 88
Loc: Rochester, NY
O.P. here. Just to help clarify, the transcriptions are firstly for me to use to play the tunes -- so there is benefit to me to make them. I'm not creating them for a potential sub, I need to create them for me to play from. They're a lot more detailed than your typical lead sheet. They're not simple, 3 chord tunes.

These are all cover tunes; I don't own copyright.
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#2827401 - 01/11/17 02:17 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: Cabo]
timwat Offline
Quite wealthy...spiritually
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Posts: 5158
Loc: Concord,CA,UNITED STATES
Got it. So if eventually you're going have all these charts in your hand - I understand why the band is thinking "what's so hard about him just making some photocopies for a possible sub?"

At that point, I suppose the question is simply - how much do you trust your bandmates?

Now you have me curious - what tunes are you covering that require transcriptions for you to use the play them?
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#2827404 - 01/11/17 02:30 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: timwat]
J. Dan Offline
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Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 10569
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Why do they need them now? Tell them if you end up needing a sub sometime, you'll provide the sub with what they need yourself.
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#2827409 - 01/11/17 02:39 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: timwat]
Cabo Offline
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Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 88
Loc: Rochester, NY
They're just pop/r&b tunes for a top 40 band. Lot of stuff with 2 things happening at once, like a fast string line over a Rhodes, etc. Some songs are more like lead sheets.

At this point, I really don't know the people very well, so trust is a question mark.
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#2827411 - 01/11/17 02:44 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: J. Dan]
Bobadohshe Offline
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Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 5491
Loc: San Diego / Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: J. Dan
Why do they need them now? Tell them if you end up needing a sub sometime, you'll provide the sub with what they need yourself.


I think this.
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#2827414 - 01/11/17 03:09 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: Bobadohshe]
DanL Offline
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Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 3780
Loc: DE
I guess I'm lucky in that I must be so valuable that if I can't make a gig the band doesn't play lol! Seriously though, when I'm asked to sub- I assume it's on me to learn the songs and chart them out as needed. I wouldn't ask the guy I'm subbing for or the bandleader to provide me charts.
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#2827415 - 01/11/17 03:21 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: Bobadohshe]
mcgoo Offline
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Posts: 2226
Loc: Indianapolis
Originally Posted By: Bobadohshe

I'd be more willing to hand over the legit charts in printed form if you had more history with this band. Being new it's more of an unreasonable request on their part.


Well said.

I play with multiple bands and I go out of my way to make it as easy as possible for a sub by supplying charts , notes, etc. Makes them more likely to take the gig and the band less likely to be annoyed when I sub out. But I don't think you need to provide charts to a band that hasn't even gigged yet.
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#2827417 - 01/11/17 03:38 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: mcgoo]
MathOfInsects Online   content
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On the other hand....this can happen sometimes for the most innocent and complimentary of reasons: they haven't got a clue how to make a chart, for anyone, and are glad to have someone around who can. They might not realize it's an imposition at all, more like relief to have someone around who knows more than they do.

I wouldn't proceed any differently, it just might help to see it as purely innocent, rather than anything underhanded.
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#2827418 - 01/11/17 03:41 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: mcgoo]
JCRoswell Offline
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Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 161
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Clearly you're uncomfortable with handing over the lead sheets (I would be, too) so why not try honesty. Tell the band leader you are uncomfortable putting that much work into lead sheets for another professional keyboardist to use it free of charge. You could let him know that you're eager to help out the band, but that what you are creating is a ton of work that doesn't feel like it should be pro bono. You could always ask for time to think it over. It ain't like you're writing all of them by tomorrow anyway.

I wouldn't put off the conversation because the longer it goes the more the band leader is going to assume you are on board with it and then it will just be worse. Besides, he may have reasons beyond what we are all assuming and perhaps you can find a different way to meet those needs without feeling like you're screwing yourself.
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#2827424 - 01/11/17 04:23 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: MathOfInsects]
Wastrel Offline
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Registered: 05/13/09
Posts: 2279
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: MathOfInsects
...they haven't got a clue how to make a chart... They might not realize it's an imposition at all...

That's the problem I was trying to describe earlier. If he says no, they'll be thinking, "Geez, what a dick. What's the big deal?" Whether done intentionally or not, they have put him in a box.
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#2827429 - 01/11/17 05:12 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: Wastrel]
16251 Offline
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Posts: 2502
I'd write charts with only chords and maybe an important line if it would keep people happy but my charts were hours of work and never did any leader recognize my work with a bonus or the importance of the sounds I added.
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#2827430 - 01/11/17 05:20 PM Re: Providing Charts For A Sub [Re: 16251]
aronnelson Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/04/14
Posts: 640
The thing is.... I've been called to sub a gig - 30-40 songs, no charts at all - just recordings. Now seriously, unless I know the songs, there's no way I will have time - much less get paid enough to learn all those songs for a low paying gig.

Now, lets say the band had charts - even chord charts - then the subbing may happen. It's in their best interest to have charts if they do one-off shows and need subs.

But even the most simplest of charts required me to listen to the song over and over and write out important parts and chords.

Heck even the beginning of 24K magic - I've seen the intro chords written so many ways - some of them wrong by even experienced musicians! So writing out charts takes time and effort.


Edited by aronnelson (01/11/17 05:20 PM)
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