Transcriptions of Bert Jansch compositions

Bert had always planned to have his music written down in a book, but sadly, he died before this could happen. Now to facilitate all the musicians clamouring to know how he produced his special sounds, and how to perform and sing his songs, the Bert Jansch Foundation has brought this to fruition.

The Foundation gathered dedicated and skilled guitarists who have been transcribing Bert’s material for decades. Expertly managed by Jon Riley, they have revisited their own transcriptions and compared each other’s work, sharing their insights and experience to create what they agree are optimum versions for achieving Bert’s sound and style.

Across two volumes, 54 songs have been published. Both songbooks detail every aspect of Bert’s ground-breaking style and technique, including guitar tab, standard notation, chord symbols, guitar chord boxes, melody line and complete lyrics with expansive explanatory notes on the elements of Bert’s style and the background to each song, including guidance on their complexity and tips for players on each song.

Beginner and advanced musicians will benefit from both these definitive songbooks.


Bert Transcribed — Bert Jansch Song Book Volume 2 was published in August 2023 exclusively by Hal Leonard.  It features a further 30 songs from the full breadth of Bert’s canon, each meticulously transcribed and annotated by The Bert Jansch Foundation’s team of Jansch experts, who were able to reference some recently discovered examples of Bert’s own tentative transcription work from the 1980s. Therefore this songbook presents the most definitive transcriptions of Bert’s music that have ever been published.

The 30 songs included are:

  • Ask Your Daddy
  • Carnival
  • Come Back Baby
  • Courting Blues
  • Daybreak
  • Downunder
  • Go Your Way My Love
  • High Days
  • I am Lonely
  • It Don’t Bother Me
  • The January Man
  • Kingfisher
  • Love is Teasing
  • M’Lady Nancy
  • Morning Brings Peace of Mind
  • My Pocket’s Empty (Empty Pocket Blues)
  • No Exit
  • Oh How Your Love is Strong
  • The Old Triangle
  • One for Jo
  • The Road Tae Dundee
  • Rosemary Lane
  • Tell Me What Is True Love
  • The Time Has Come
  • Toy Balloon
  • Veronica (the Casbah)
  • The Wheel
  • Wild Mountain Thyme
  • Wishing Well
  • A Woman Like You

Bert Transcribed — Bert Jansch Song Book was published in August 2017 by Wise Publications – an imprint of Music Sales (since taken over by Hal Leonard) coinciding with the Bert Jansch Tribute concert at the Queens Hall, Edinburgh. It featured 24 songs described in exquisite detail and beautiful photos of Bert’s guitar collection.

The 24 songs included are:

  • Alice’s Wonderland,
  • Alman
  • Angie
  • Bird Song
  • Birthday Blues
  • Blackwaterside
  • Blues Run the Game
  • Bright New Year
  • Chamberlain
  • Crimson Moon
  • Curragh of Kildare
  • The First Time Ever I saw your face
  • Fresh as a Sweet Sunday Morning
  • In the Bleak Midwinter
  • Is It Real?
  • Joint Control
  • Moonshine
  • Needle of Death
  • Orlando
  • Peregrinations
  • Reynardine
  • Running from Home
  • Soho
  • Strolling Down the Highway

Volume 1 was rapturously received and started a thirst for a second volume.

Comments from its reviews include:

‘… highly accurate and accessible work. I could rave on… but I am working on Reynardine right now… BRAVO!!!’ 
‘The foundation provides a ton of info on Bert, his style, the songs, his equipment. It’s a really well-done book and I’m absolutely obsessed with it right now.’ 
‘This book is long overdue and an excellent guide to the genius of Bert Jansch. I hope it will be followed by others’.

You can purchase the books at or amazon


‘Bert Transcribed’ workshops

Jon Riley, who has managed the transcription process for publication, and Thomas Fairhurst of the Bert Transcribed group have been running successful Bert Transcribed workshops for the Foundation with support from Yamaha.

Wherever you are, we can help you create a workshop for up to 20 people and send teachers – if you can arrange the venue and the participants e.g. from your college or guitar club. To discuss such a partnership in bringing a Bert Jansch guitar workshop to your area, please contact

The Bert Transcribed Group
Musical Coordinator Jon Riley

To achieve Bert’s wish of having his music available in book form, the Bert Jansch Foundation brought together experienced professionals and passionate amateurs from around the world, including compilers of out-of-print books and online tablature. In addition, two of the most prolific and acclaimed American transcribers and teachers of Bert’s music have joined the team as consultants.

Members of the group include Thomas Fairhurst (Kent UK), Chris Fowler (Cardiff), Remy Froissart (Paris), Harald Høyvik (Oslo), Lars Ingesman (Aarhus, Denmark), Doug Kennedy (Birmingham), Jamie Phillips (New York), Jon Riley (London) and Mike Walker (Edinburgh). Some transcriptions were prepared by the late John Renbourn, Bert’s colleague, performance partner, friend and fellow progenitor of the so-called folk-baroque guitar style. Rolly Brown (Pennsylvania) and Glenn LaSalle (Florida) have been pleased to join the team as much valued consultants.  

Geraldine Auerbach MBE, who directed the project for the Bert Jansch Foundation says, ‘The Trustees are very grateful to all members of the group for their skill, dedication and generosity in donating their transcriptions to support the Foundation, and especially to Jon Riley for his proficiency in coordinating and managing the whole process. Everyone is excited to be part of this project enabling Bert’s music to reach a wider audience.

To support the Bert Jansch Foundation, please click the ‘Donate’ button below.