DM Blog

No more charts!


I decided to take an indefinite break from selling charts and made the difficult decision to take my transcriptions and arrangements offline. Since then, I’ve been getting a lot of emails from people asking what happened to the charts. Rather than cutting-and-pasting my reply over and over, I figure I can just send them a link to read this instead…

Wrist Pain

For a little over two years, my right wrist has been really messed up and instead of getting better, it’s getting worse. It has gone from being an annoying source of intermittent pain, to an overwhelming source of constant pain. I have an appointment to see a wrist surgeon next month, so hopefully things will start to get better soon.

At first, I only experienced severe pain when overusing my wrist, but I was still able to play bass without pain, work on charts just fine, cook, etc. But now, playing the bass is impossible. I can’t even lift my bass with my right hand and whenever I do try to play, my wrist and fingers get super painful right away and I can only push it for about 30 seconds before I want to die. Ouch! Even using a pepper mill is way too painful, so my wife Michelle has quickly learned to become an even better sous-chef, predicting my next move in the kitchen before I even make it…

About a month ago, I tried working on some charts. Since I’m able to type just fine on my MacBook Pro, I wasn’t expecting any pain using my ultra-slim Xkey mobile keyboard because the depth of the keys is about the same, but when I went to play a simple four-note chord, I quickly learned just how much pain my wrist is capable of producing.[1] It was excruciating! So all of a sudden, working on charts was out of the question too.

As a result, I decided to take an indefinite break from selling charts online and made the extremely difficult decision to take offline. Ever since then, I’ve been getting a lot of emails from people asking what happened to the free charts…

What happened to the free charts?

It was never my intention to offer free downloads simply for people to freeload and use with their bands without payment.


Over the years, I’ve received numerous inquires from potential clients asking to hear samples of my arrangements or to see samples of my charts and transcriptions. I’ve decided to go a step further now and offer a couple free downloads so that you can have a look and “test them out” with your band. I have no doubt that you’ll love playing through these charts and I’m confident that you’ll be impressed at the caliber of my work. I sincerely hope that these free downloads will persuade you to contact me to purchase additional charts…

My intention with the “free” downloads all along was only to provide potential clients with some samples that they could test out with their bands to make the decision of buying charts from me a lot easier.[2] There were multiple downloads on the site, not to give people a whole set-list worth of tunes for free, but to account for many different instrumentations that people might be working with. So given that the sole purpose of those (perhaps poorly named) “free charts” was to drum up sales and to encourage potential clients to do business with me, now that I’m not looking for new business it doesn’t make sense to keep the samples available anymore.

I had heard many times before that you should never give your time and/or services away for free, ever. But I went ahead and put these free samples on my website anyways, hoping that it would pay off in the end, and it did. While there were certainly a lot of freeloaders just looking for free sheet music who would never be willing to pay for it, I also got a lot of quality customers out of it and a ton of repeat business. Of course, the majority of the downloads were from these so-called “freeloaders” but all I was hoping for was for 1% of the downloads to turn into a sale. Just 1%. I’m not completely sure what conversion rate I ended up with in the end, but whatever it was, it was enough to keep me busy with a steady stream of work. So from my perspective, the free samples were working.

Some people had suggested to me that with the amount of traffic I was getting, I should at least put up a donate button on the site. I never did because I wanted it to be very clear that what I wanted was for people to order more charts from me, not just to donate a couple bucks and never hear from them again.

Will you offer charts again in the future?

There is a possibility that I might go back to offering my transcription and arrangement services online when my health improves. I’m not certain. So if you want to be notified if/when I do, the best way would be to subscribe to my email newsletter. That way, you’ll be one of the first to know.

Hopefully my upcoming appointment with the surgeon will solve all of my wrist problems once and for all. Wish me luck!