Friday Fave: The ULTIMATE Fake Book

by Rachel on January 20, 2012

The Ultimate Fake Book with 1200 Songs

I love fake books — so much so that I have an entire shelf of them here in my studio. The latest in my collection, pictured above, was a Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law. And like most non-musicians, I’m pretty sure they have no idea what a fake book actually is.

A fake book contains the bare bones needed to play the songs within it: the melody line, lyrics, and chords. It’s up to the musician to come up with his or her own accompaniment, whether on guitar or piano. Fake books are great because the songs are succinct (usually no page-turning involved) and easy to pick up quickly.

This is the Ultimate Fake Book with Over 1200 Songs really IS the ultimate fake book, as I’ve come to find out. In the last month, I’ve opened it in search of a particular song, and found what I was looking for every single time. Amazing! It has come in very handy both in voice lessons and music therapy sessions. It has a permanent spot in the drawer next to my piano just because I use it so often.

There are definitely times when I prefer the real deal, where the accompaniment is already laid out for me. But I like to have options, which is why I keep both types of music and songbooks around. Are you a fake book fan, or do you prefer full arrangements of songs in most cases?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachelle Norman January 20, 2012 at 9:17 am

I love fake books! I prefer them to full arrangements because they challenge me to create an arrangement on guitar, since I’m usually learning songs to play on guitar and sing in music therapy sessions. They’re super fun for sight-reading, too. My brother is a jazz musician, so we’ve shared many fake books over the years.

The Ultimate Fake Book was required for my guitar class in college. My copy is in several pieces now, so it doesn’t travel with me anymore. I keep it as a ready reference next to my piano.


Rachel January 20, 2012 at 9:27 am

Yes, they are excellent for sight-reading! I’ve really enjoyed going through the book and playing random songs I remember from childhood or have only heard once or twice. I love the challenge of coming up with piano accompaniment especially, since I have started using it a lot more in practice and in performance. Fun stuff :)


Lesleigh Zundt January 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I just ordered one! My music therapy professor always suggested the fake book as a valuable resource, but I never took much stock in it! I hope it comes in handy this semester!


Rachel January 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm

You will love it! Fake books really are wonderful resources to have on hand. Enjoy, and good luck with the semester!


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