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?