Writing down songs

Hi all.

What is the best way to write down songs so you can read them easily whilst playing?
After I have watched one of Justin’s song video lessons I find it hard to write down everything in a coherent manner, chord progressions etc. I even bought his beginner songbook for some inspiration but that was no help at all!
Can anyone show me a copy of what you do?


I just learn one bit at a time bud. It doesn’t take as long as you think to stitch it all together once you have the individual parts down…

Just concentrate on one section of the video lesson at a time and repeat until you’re ready to tackle the next bit.

There is a downloadable template for creating lyric and chord sheets. As Dave says take your time and learn the song slowly one section at a time. Learn the chord progression first. Then learn the strumming pattern with the strings muted. Then slowly apply both increasing the bpm gradually. Then the lyric and chord sheet becomes more of a reminder.

Thanks for the comments.

I don’t have trouble learning the chord progression, strumming patterns etc. remembering them is a different story! I just wanted to write them down in a readable format to make my own song book.

I’ll try and amend the chord and lyric sheet and see how that goes. :+1:t3:

The method I find the most helpful is finding, copying and pasting the lyrics + chords from a site like Ultimate Guitar into my Word program.
The time consuming bit (which you get better at quite quickly) is figuring out exactly where the lyrics are at the chord changes.
I then edit the text so it fits the song structure, rather than the usual of putting the chords in the lyrics.
All my songs are kept on the one file on my pc and it’s simple to substitute alternative keys etc.
Sometimes I print them out if I’m practicing in another room.


Lots of good advice here. I personally don’t bother with the lyrics, but that’s just me. I keep it simple by writing out a set of bars and the chords for the

Bridge etc.

Depending on the song structure.

I like this format, chords shown in exact moment when they should appear during the song:



Yes that’s fine if they appear at the right time, but I still find it easier if the lyrics are adjusted to the chords rather than the chords to the lyrics. It gives me a greater sense of the song structure and also helps with phrasing.
I find it much harder to see the song structure from this

I would probably start singing chord names with the lyrics :joy: on a more serious note I agree as long as they are correctly adjusted it’s fine, and as we know plenty are not

I think you have probably answered the question I was going to ask
For example C/G presumably means there is a chord change within a bar.

Do you use lower case letters to show that

C/G means C with a G bass.


But @brianlarsen ,
I think this is a very good one…if ,then ,that ,someday,maybe …yes yes ,…i’m going to sing and play a song this year ,…probably only for my girl ,but someday for you :laughing:…and this way works much better when I still have to cheat on paper…although I fear that I have to practice singing for so long that the music is so good in my head that text is no longer necessary in front of me :roll_eyes:

Hi Michael,

Here it is nicely explained :smiley:

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That’s a really good idea! One really falls over the next chord with this writing. Smart! Maybe could help me too. But my biggest issue is to space out my strums evenly within the text passage. Either there is too much text left after my last strum or I’m ready with the text, but there are strums left…

Hi Michael,

In the examples with the gray background, you don’t have to worry about barlines as the new chords are indicated above the syllable where they are played first.

Lowercase letters can mean several things:

  • “m” means minor as in Am
  • “b” means flat, used instead of the legit accidental used in printed sheet music
  • “5” means a power chord
  • “dim” for diminished and “aug” for augmented are also often written in lowercase letters
  • “sus” is for suspended chords

And as others explained above, the note written after the “/” in slash cords is the bass note.

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I use Musecore myself. It’s free when you download it on your computer and there’s a version for either Windows or Mac. There’s an option where you can have tabs with the notes and you can add lyrics. Yes, there’s a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it it’s great. It’s ideal if you want to start doing your own songs.4

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Thanks for the link.
Quite a few modules beyond where I am at present but I do follow what Justin is teaching :+1:

Thanks for the explanation

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Thanks will give this a look.

Hi Damian.
Here is an examples, this one has chords and structire with lyrics on a separate page.