Not sure if I’ve ever talked about this here, but I just happened across this article about the Nashville Number System and wanted to point out how cool it is to watch session players use this. As the article points out:
So what’s so great about the Nashville Number System? Just realize that all of the musicians who play the guitar, keyboard and other parts you hear in the songs on all your CDs, use this system everyday when they record. When they do a session, there is no printed music. There are no sheets of paper with little black notes on lines on the page. No, they come into the studio, find a seat, take a pad of paper and a pencil and write themselves a number chart as the engineer plays a demo of the song they will record that day. What they are listening to in order to make their chart is a rough recording of the song. Many times it is only a guitar or piano and a singer. These musicians make up all the parts you eventually hear right there on the spot using their number chart as a guide.
It really is kind of a strange and humbling feeling to walk into the studio after spending sometimes countless hours on a song just to see it reduced to scribbled numbers on a single sheet of paper, and then played flawlessly.