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Pencil for chart writing
Old 25th May 2003
  #1
Moderator emeritus
 

Pencil for chart writing

I realize that this isn't a big thing, but I have always had problems finding a good pencil for writing charts. Most of the time, I write number charts which have to be copied for all of the musicians, and a regular number 2 pencil is often not dark enough to make good copies. A company called Pacific Music Papers sells a pencil called a Magic Writer, but those are about $1 per pencil, and you have to order them.

Anyway, at my local office supply store the other day, I found a mechanical drafting pencil by Staedler; it has a refillable 2mm lead that writes dark enough to make legible copies even on my old copy machine. The pencil, a box of 12 replacement leads and an eraser/sharpener (yep; the lead is wide enough that you can sharpen it to get a fine point) was under $8. Since I go through a couple of dozen Magic Writer pencils a year (not counting the ones that disappear), the Staedtler is a replacement that is ont only convenient (because I can buy them any time locally), but less expensive.

I know it's not a big deal, but I wanted to pass it along; someone else may find this to be a useable item.
Old 26th May 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Steve Smith's Avatar
 

thumbsup

good find!
Old 26th May 2003
  #3
Lives for gear
 
littledog's Avatar
 

I admire those doing it the "real" way. Given my penmanship, Finale© was a godsend.

I guess it's like digital vs. analog. The handwritten stuff definitely is prettier (if done by someone skilled). But the editing ability (transposing, cutting/pasting, error corrections, part generations, etc.) makes the computer hard to resist...

Still, I'd hate to see the skills involved in hand-generated parts die out.
Old 26th May 2003
  #4
Moderator emeritus
 

Quote:
Originally posted by littledog
I admire those doing it the "real" way. Given my penmanship, Finale© was a godsend.
Admittedly, 99% of the charts I write are simply chord charts (number charts, for those who care); the players use them as a road map as we're doing the song. But a whole bunch of the guys who work here DO write complex string and horn arrangements out by hand; I admire them, too.
Old 11th September 2007
  #5
Here for the gear
 

For those who prefer a woodcased pencil, I highly recommend the Palomino 2B pencil from California Republic Stationers. Here is an EBay listing for their 2B pencil:

Palomino Graphite 2B Pencils - 6 pencil pack - (eBay item 220132334800 end time Sep-17-07 08:55:38 PDT)

And here is a link for the Pencil World Creativity Store, which sells the Palomino in other grades, as well as other makes of pencils:

eBay Store - Pencil World Creativity Store: color pencils, graphite pencils, water color


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Martin View Post
I realize that this isn't a big thing, but I have always had problems finding a good pencil for writing charts. Most of the time, I write number charts which have to be copied for all of the musicians, and a regular number 2 pencil is often not dark enough to make good copies. A company called Pacific Music Papers sells a pencil called a Magic Writer, but those are about $1 per pencil, and you have to order them.

Anyway, at my local office supply store the other day, I found a mechanical drafting pencil by Staedler; it has a refillable 2mm lead that writes dark enough to make legible copies even on my old copy machine. The pencil, a box of 12 replacement leads and an eraser/sharpener (yep; the lead is wide enough that you can sharpen it to get a fine point) was under $8. Since I go through a couple of dozen Magic Writer pencils a year (not counting the ones that disappear), the Staedtler is a replacement that is ont only convenient (because I can buy them any time locally), but less expensive.

I know it's not a big deal, but I wanted to pass it along; someone else may find this to be a useable item.
Old 11th September 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Tone Laborer's Avatar
Art supply stores offer many choices of darker lead pencils. And great big erasers. I find drawing to be a great yen and yang to music and recording. So uncomplicated.

But back to writing charts. Really difficult to do. The paper with the larger staff is a requirement for me and can be hard to find. The notes always need to be drawn smaller than I first think.

Glad you like your pencil, I 'd need a bunch--- I'm always losing them.
Old 11th August 2016
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Magic Writer Pencils are worth the $$$:
http://www.pacificmusicpapers.com/pm...terpencil.html

When I couldn't get them I ordered #1 pencils that were as close to the Magic Writers.........but not exactly the same. #2 pencils are still just too hard.
https://www.amazon.com/Ticonderoga-Y...s=pencils+%231

The lead on the MWP just inspires one to write by hand.

===================

Another tip - formatting your own sheet music online and print. Go to:
http://www.blanksheetmusic.net/

You can customize how many staves per line, clef, put in bars, time/key signatures. Go to the "Advanced" and "Key/Time" tabs to do this.

Last edited by chaktania; 11th August 2016 at 07:39 PM.. Reason: update.
Old 12th August 2016
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

If you have a Michael's nearby, they have a brand called Derwent that I like. Not cheap, but really nice.
Old 13th August 2016
  #10
Lives for gear
The mechanical pencils are much better today. I use a staedtler .09 lead so it does not break. in general getting a large lead could allow you to use softer lead for a given pressure you use.

If you really need artistic as well as speed. The way old school drafting pencils and sharpeners can't be beat for pencil. Just messy vs mechanical.
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