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Electric Country Guitar Lessons: The Nashville Number System

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Okay, hey we're gonna cover a little bit
of The Nashville Number System here,
just to give you a brief
over view of how that works.
And we're also gonna provide some
PDF charts and some ways for
you to look at that, and see a couple of
these songs that we've done charted out,
like a Nashville session
player would chart.
So there's some terminology
that goes with these.
The most simple,
the ones that you'll see on these charts,
they'll be some split bars,
diamonds, these terms like this.
So, what it is,
is the national number system is based
on the degrees of the scale,
so an A would be one,
two, three, four, five, six, seven, one.
So if you get a chart and
it's got a one, two, three minor on it,
that's gonna be one,
Thee minor,
So that's one, two,
three minor which means one,
two, three C#, C# minor.
If you're doing a one, four, five in G.
One, two, three, four, that's C.
So one is G, four is C.
One, two, three, four, five, five is D.
One, two, three, four, five, six.
Six is E minor, or well, six would be E.
And if it's a six minor, it's an E minor.
So that's a quick version of that.
I think I explained the degrees of
the scale also in a previous lesson, so
I get back to the terminology
of the number system.
A split bar,
is if you have a full four bars.
Say you're doing G for four bars.
One, two, three, four.
If it goes G for two bars.
One two, and then C for
two bars that's a split bar.
You're taking one, two, three, four and
you're splitting up instead
of a whole bar of just G.
Which would be the one.
Then you're doing one and four.
So you're doing two bars of G,
two bars of C, and
then maybe back to a full bar of one.
So that would be considered a split bar.
And you either underline that, or
some people put that in parentheses.
And you'll run into that on Mama Tried,
there's a bunch of split bars in that.
And then a diamond,
if a number has a diamond shape around it,
with just a written
symbol around the number,
then that means that you're
just holding that out.
So if like in Lonesome,
On'ry, and Mean,
So like in Lonesome, On'ry, and
Mean, your diamond would be C.
then in with the rhythm.
So the top of the song that would be
like a C with a diamond, so diamond two,
three, four, [SOUND] two three
So that would be at when a diamond is, and
you can have diamonds that are drawn over
that hold for longer, and that just means
that an extra four beats, which is a bar.
So these are all written out like that,
the beauty of the number system,
is if a songwriter comes into Nashville,
and he comes in the studio, and
you're charting one of his songs.
And you chart it in the key of G and
it's one, four, two minor, six minor, and
he decides halfway through the session he
wants to move it up to G sharp or A flat.
We're gonna able to keep the same chart,
because all we've got to do is change
the letter at the top of
the pages to what key it is, and
we can play that same chart in any key.
If he moves to B, if he moves to C.
That one, four, six minor,
three minor or whatever it is.
That stays the same.
So, that's the beauty
of the number system.
We'll, like I said those
charts will be with
you on the PDF files, and stuff, and we
can, you can always video exchange with me
to ask me anymore questions about anything
more elaborate about the number system.
And the thing about the number system,
is it can be as basic as
a basic road map of that song.
Or it can get extremely arranged and
written out with rhythmic figures written
out over the top of certain things,
and if there's hits, or
pushes, or anything like that.
And a lot of people have different ways.
There's actually a great book, called the
Nashville Number System by Chas Williams,
that he put out that he
has an accompanying CD.
And if you're moving to Nashville,
you wanna get that book.
A lot of people have contributed,
a lot of great input and charts to that.
So that's a little run down on
the Nashville Number System, and
we get more in detail if you send me
a personal message about that too.
So, I wanted to say,
just to let you guys know out there,
that we are, as a courtesy,
we are providing some
tablature to certain parts of these
lessons throughout the curriculum.
But, I really encourage
you to use your ear,
and watch very closely what
I'm doing to learn this stuff.
This is a style is very much
based on improvising, and
you creating your own style,
and your own sound.
And I am an ear player and a feel player.
So I don't read music.
I can read Nashville number charts and
stuff like that but
I'm not an educated, schooled Musician.
So everything I've done my whole
life has been by playing by ear, and
playing by feeling, and a lot of my
favorite musicians play that way.
And a lot of Nashville guys are like that.
I mean, a lot of those guys can read
music for sure, but there's a lot of guys
that are just playing because they grew
up playing on the road, or in bars,
or different things like that, where
it's really a hands-on kind of learning.
So I encourage that 120%, but we will
have some of this stuff tabbed out for
you, if you're into learning,
or prefer to learn it that way.
So, and yet
just keep in touch with me on everything,
and we'll make this happen.