The Nashville Number System

By Chas Williams

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    • $18.99
    • $18.99

Publisher Description

In the late 50's, Neil Matthews devised a musical number system for the Jordanaires to use in the studio. Charlie McCoy and fellow studio musicians began adapting Matthews' number system into chord charts. The Nashville Number System has evolved into a complete method of writing chord charts and melodies---combining Nashville shorthand with formal notation standards. 


 The Nashville Number System is 136 pages with a step by step method of how to write a Nashville number chart for any song. Included with each NNS eBook in Edition 7 is the audio from the album, String Of Pearls. This is a 10 song collection of  instrumentals, including, Amazing Grace. I walk you through the details of each song and explain the Number System tools used to write the charts. On each chart is a music icon that you can tap to play the song while you watch the chart. Now, while listening to the song, you can see and hear how Nashville number charts work.

The Nashville Number System also includes a collection of handwritten number charts for each song from the cd, String Of Pearls. Each song is charted by hand by:


 • Charlie McCoy (Hee-Haw arranger/Session Musician and 

Recording Artist)


 • David Briggs (Session Keyboardist/Arranger)

Eddie Bayers (Session drummer)


Jimmy Capps (Studio guitarist, Grand Ole Opry Staff Band)

Brent Rowan (Studio guitarist/Producer)

Lura Foster (Charts for TV shows: Nashville Now, Music City Tonight, Primetime Country)

John Hobbs (Session Keyboardist and Producer)

Mike Chapman (Session Bassist)

Biff Watson (Session Guitarist)

Chris Farren (Producer/Guitarist)

Tony Harrell (Session Keyboardist/Studio Owner)

Each of these musicians wrote 5 number charts in his or her style from the String Of Pearls cd. For example, the song, String Of Pearls, has charts written by: Charlie McCoy, Brent Rowan, John Hobbs, Jimmy Capps and Biff Watson

The song, Waylon, has charts written by Tony Harrell, Lura Foster, Chris Farren, Biff Watson and Eddie Bayers. The idea is that you’ll be able to compare, side by side, some of the different styles of notation and symbols you can use to chart the same piece of music. So, you can flip between different charts written of the same song and compare them as you listen to the song. 

These different charts represent the kinds of numbering techniques that you are liable to run into in almost all of the major recording and television studios, clubs, showcases, rehearsal halls, and other situations where music is performed in Nashville.

The Nashville Number System was originally written and published in 1988 by Chas. He has rigorously updated and edited the book for each of 7 subsequent editions. Featured here is the 2015 printing and 7th edition of The Nashville Number System; with the inclusion of songs from the cd, String Of Pearls. By word of mouth, this book has become the most recommended source for learning the Number System. 

The Nashville Number System is used as a text at more than 10 Colleges: Berklee College of Music, in Boston; Belmont University, in Nashville, ETSU in Johnson City, Tn, MTSU in Murfreesboro,TN; Lee University, in Cleveland, TN, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. and Morehead State University in Kentucky are a few.

With this book, you also get access to the String Of Pearls interactive chord charts. On your computer, you can watch animated number charts as you listen to the songs. There will be an optional click track with each song and a highlight moving from chord to chord in time with the music. You can see exactly how to count each measure in real time with the music. Counting bars is probably the hardest part of the number system to teach. With interactive charts, you will be able to see, hear and feel how the NNS works. 

  I wrote all of the songs to demonstrate different feels, how to feel phrases and understand counting bars. For example, Winter Break is an 8ths Country Rock, Waylon is 6/8 with a Halftime feel and Pelican Shuffle is a 2 beat shuffle that goes into a Ray Price shuffle during the choruses.


As you listen to the songs, you’ll be able to compare some of the different styles of notation and symbols Nashville musicians use to chart the same piece of music. The different charts show the kinds of numbering techniques that you are liable to run into in almost all of the major recording and television studios, clubs, showcases, rehearsal halls, and other situations where music is performed in Nashville.

So, whether you are a songwriter trying to get your material performed, a band leader teaching songs from a record, a producer teaching an arrangement or a musician learning an arrangement  in the studio, The Nashville Number System is a great way of presenting your songs and musical ideas.

Arts & Entertainment
February 5
The Nashville Number System
Charles M Williams Jr

Customer Reviews

only nobody ,

Thank you


justanotherpicker ,

Best way to understand number charts

I actually own the book, and was not aware of the download version. I’ve bought the earlier book before this also, but the “String of Pearls” came with a CD. It was especially useful. On a computer you were able to see where the music changed along with the chart. It is really terrific! He has done a great job. I don’t know how this works on a phone, but I bet it’s wonderful. I had bought some of his books give away to friends, too. I will now be recommending this! How awesome!! If you want to understand the Nashville Number System, just buy it. It will be inspiring. On top of that, you can see how other top name musicians use it on the same song. It also lets you make it a language of your own. It’s great!

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