Latest best practices for managing chord charts, etc. at a jam?

flacoflaco Shelley Park #151, AJL Quiet and Portable
in Repertoire Posts: 98

Hi everyone,

I know when ipads got popular at every jam a lot of the players would have chord charts and music on the ipads. Before that we had printed out books. What are people using these days? Still on ipads, printouts, or something else? If using tablets or phones is there some app that is best, is it PDFs, etc.? I know memorization is best, but I'm a long way from having all the standards fully committed to memory.



  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    edited March 2023 Posts: 1,336

    As you say, getting out of the book as quickly as you can is probably better for your ears and for your playing. However, I think iRealPro is the standard that I see people using. It has the chord charts and a strong community where you can download most of the songs you want. There is a Jazz playlist that has over 1300 standards. There is also the Django Fakebook if you are used to those arrangements. It is ~$16 for a one-time purchase. I bought it after my first time at DiJ where everyone was using it. Still refer to it sometimes when playing. I've never regretted that purchase.

  • flacoflaco Shelley Park #151, AJL Quiet and Portable
    Posts: 98

    Thanks for the quick response! I bought iReal years ago. I think I even bought it back when it was called “real band” before they changed the name! That’s a great suggestion! IReal B looks good on the phone as well. I’m trying to avoid carrying around and iPad or other additional device

    if anyone else has feedback I’d love to hear that as well!

  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-30, Altamira M-10
    Posts: 388

    I have i-Real as well, but rarely use it. Billy's right about aiming to be chart free, but I'm not there now and may never be. While I've made peace with that, I'm low tech and old school, so it's good old paper chord charts in a binder for me. I have one binder with The Django FakeBook and another with the 150 or so songs that I (or the guys I play with) regularly call. Many of those tunes are not in DFB, hence the separate binders. But 2 things of note about good old-fashioned chord charts--1) I keep them clean (each page is in a glare-free sheet protector) and well organized. They're all in alphabetical order with an index, so I can find the tune very quickly between songs. 2) I use a very small music stand for the binder. This allows everyone on stage to see it if they need it, but keeps it more or less out of view to the audience.

  • Posts: 4,806

    All of the above. When it comes to apps, iReal Pro is it. I love it, only thing missing is automatic cloud or a remote server backup. Some people don't get on well with it because it's all user created and there's no standard to how the charts are written and that can be confusing to some. Plus sometimes you need to edit these charts to make them just the way you want them so there's some learning curve which doesn't go well if a person is low tech. Then it's DFB, either on a tablet or in a binder.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • casscass Pennsylvania New AJL XO, DuPont MD100, Gitane DG255
    Posts: 18

    I take pictures of my charts with my iPad. I arrange them in an album based on our gig set list. I can swipe from one song to the next with one swipe. I keep my hard copies in my briefcase as backup to my iPad.

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