I rearranged my desk at home last week. I set up all my fake books for instant access as I continue expanding my repertoire. So far, I have the Hal Leonard Real Books, Volumes 1, 2, and 3, and Chuck Sher's New Real Book series, Volumes 1, 2, and 3. I have these all lined up in a small bookshelf on my desk, ready for grabbing.

This presented a problem. When I was after a specific tune, I had to search each book's index one by one. Problems don't last long around me. I consulted the Internet and found The Fake Book Index from Seventh String Software, the makers of Transcribe!. The index searches through any selection of over 70 fake books, including the six on my desk. So when I wanted to learn Ellington's Isfahan, I searched all my books at once and found it was in Hal Leonard's Volume 3 and Chuck Sher's Volume 2. I got them both out and compared.

Further, I have a professional tip for Mozilla Firefox users. Go to The Fake Book Index and check all the books you want to search. (I include the Charlie Parker Omnibook and Aebersold Play-A-Long Series as well as the six mentioned above.) Right-click in the text field at the top of the page, where you would type the title of the song you seek. Select "Add a Keyword for this Search..." This creates a bookmark that you can access from the URL bar. Name it "Fake Book Index" or whatever you like. Use a short keyword like "fb" and save it. Enter "fb body and soul" in your URL bar, and it takes you directly to your custom search results.

Now learn.