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Fake Books The Real Deal | Big Boys Toys

Updated on March 12, 2011

Christmas will soon be around the corner, and for the guy that has “everything” or at least his own guitar, you might want to consider getting him a FakeBook. FakeBooks have been around since the 1940’s. It is a simplified version of sheet music that was originally intended for professionals to meet the demand of playing requests in small club type live venues, without havving to memorize the whole song. They get the basic chords, melodies, and transitions and they could 'Fake' the rest. Improvise would be a kinder term but it's the musicians themselves that coined the phrase.

The typical fakebook gives you guitar chords, piano chords and simplified solo lines and or transitions so you can improvise, some may include bass lines as well. The FakeBook/ Guitar Chord Chart pictured to the right is for the Ray Charles and Willie Nelson Song “Seven Spanish Angels” and is available for free online at The bigger commercial fakebook books include lyrics, chords, and melodies for guitars, pianos, and singers. It should be noted that these are not for the raw beginner, but once the basic chords are learned on guitar or the keyboard fundies are down pat, they can rapidly increase the intermediate players repertoire spurring them on to proficiency and increasing their enjoyment of the instrument.

The "Sittin on the Dock of the Bay" is a good example of guitar fake book notation covering the range of the rhythm/chord, and verse transitions , including the bridges. These are covered with Guitar Tabs, Chord diagrams and normal notation as well.

Hal Leonard Corp publishes several different genres of FakeBooks that cover a wide range of popular music. So whether it is Pop, Rock, Country, Christmas or Folk music that is the interest of your huny there is one available just for him.

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    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      I'll put the fake books in the drawer with my girlfriend's "fakes."

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks pcoach and give your huny a hug from me! Jammin' with 50 would be Koo-EL!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My wife is the musician in our family and she loved your hub. And if you and Dusty decide to get together, I hope one of you has a camcorder or something with which you can share it with us!

      Great hub!

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      50 cal - Dusty we gonna have some fun when we hook up lad I still remember the words to all that stuff, and I had a Spanish girl friend in my younger days that was a professional flamenco dancer. I know the music and the step on the man side of the dances. It'll be some great jams! Hooah!

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Hammer, I've got a $7.50 Sears Silvertone straight out of the catalog circa 1955, my first, then I've got a collection of electrics that would make a guitar collector cry, they are some Humbuckers hehe sounds dirty don't it. I have classical and one 12 string Ovation Pacemaker with the Glen Cambell star burst finish.

      I play a lot of classical, flamenco and I like the finger picking styles I learned from college level classical guitar. It makes getting the sound of Willie easy. I've got an under ground concrete walled, ceiling and floor room with all of them in there, It's like the shower acoustics only bigger. I really have a blast in there when a couple of kids (20s) come by and we get sum to drink and go into the echo chamber and try and fake each other out. I blow them away with old stuff like Alice's Restaurant among the stuff that I have to get out the records and spin them for them. I'm trying to teach them the "Deliverance" picking so I can bring up my banjo... Ah good times, 50

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Gus - thanks for stopping by! I added the explanation up top at the end of first para. As for music, it's never too late my friend, find a good harmonica or Kazoo or something and practice practice practice. You'd be surprised how quick it comes.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 

      8 years ago from USA

      Big John - I'll admit that music is for me to hear but not to produce. I wish that I had learned how to play some sort of instrument - or even to sing, whistle, or bet on a tin can or something. Tom Whitworth's band, the Darvons, would not be able to hold a candle to my band under the circumstances I just described. I would name my band something like "The Codeines."

      Got a question. I don't understand how those music "recipes" got the name, "fakebooks."

      A great article, HammerJammer. I know it is because I didn't understand much of anything in it, but it assured me of my musical ignorance.

      Gus :-)))

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Tom - The Hal Leonard ones are very good, Keep on pickin lad! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Mega - Doin Fine How are You? I am in that category as well (Raw Beginner but the transition is going good) Spur yourself on and pick one you like you'll pick it up faster than you think! Good Luck!

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 

      8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Good Hub on fakebooks. The fakebooks I saw were fairly basic and a good place to start with my band, The Darvons.

    • mega1 profile image


      8 years ago

      oh ha! I thought fake books were those books that are hollowed out inside where you stash your - whatever! But hey, I am a raw guitar beginner and should learn a few more chords first - then I'm glad to know fake books are here for me! Thanks John! How you been?


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