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Band in Box vs. Tascam Bass Trainer

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by loungesurfer, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. Hi all,

    Would like your input on whether to purchase Band in a Box or the Tascam Bass Trainer. Which would be more useful?

    - Playing experience - 1+ years
    - Playing objective - solo - ballads & coffee bar stuff
    - Instruction - self taught - no instructor yet - but considering it. Current focus on constructing bass walks
    - Weaknesses - timing, rhythm, groove skills and speed - at 62 y/o the hands don't move as fast as they used to!
    - Strengths - scales, chords - the basics.

    I travel a lot and need something that I would be very useful on/off the road and would most directly benefit my bass skills.

    Any thoughts would be highly appreciated.

    Thanks, Denys (aka loungesurfer)
  2. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    based on the above, I would consider a couple lessons and a cheap metronome instead.
  3. joinercape

    joinercape Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Cape Cod, MA
    +1 on a teacher, or check out Carol Kaye online,
    As to band in a box, I've used it for years, it's fun and a way to play lots of tunes in any tempo or any key, plus you can print the lead sheets in any key.
    As a fellow "old guy", I wish you luck. It's never too late to learn to play music and have fun.
  4. Danny Fox

    Danny Fox

    Nov 21, 2009
    +1 on a teacher too. I use band in a box, I have found it invaluable as a practice tool...and lots of fun too!
  5. tobie


    Nov 26, 2008
    I have BIAB but have never seen Tascam Bass Trainer. My gut-feel is that Tascam will be more geared toward bass, where BIAB is more of a 'generic music maker'. A teacher is a good idea but that should not influence you from buying either of these two products (a teacher & Tascam Bass Trainer will teach you how to play - BIAB will help you producing music to practice & play with).
  6. billjr


    Jul 25, 2006
    Darlington, SC
    I have never used BIAB, but have a TASCAM Bass Trainer that uses CDs. Now I wish I had the newer digital/MP3 trainer, as I have moved to using my iPod instead of CDs.

    What I have gathered from reading about BIAB is that you have to manually input the chord progression and style, so you don't really have the "real" song to play along with. Let me know if I'm wrong about this.

    I like the TASCAM trainer because it simply plays the song as recorded, and you can then slow the speed down or adjust the pitch up or down. It makes more since for me to play along with the real recording if you are trying to learn covers, but I can see the advantage of BIAB if you are writing originals and just want to get a feel for the sound with a particular style.

    I don't use the trainer as much now, as my abilities to listen and learn bass lines has improved with experience. But once in a while, I still need to slow a song down to pick up the bass line. I don't adjust the pitch much, as I am now better at transposing on the neck, and am trying to develop this ability as I need to transpose quite often to placate singers or keep from having to change tuning between songs.
  7. They're pretty different. BIAB is made for coming up with your own lines and coming up with new ideas, even songwriting. The Tascam is geared toward practicing along with recordings and learning (or relearning) already established bass lines. This isn't to say that you should only do those things. You CAN just play drum tracks or songs sans bass on the Tascam to play along with.

    Figure out what you intend to use the product for, then go with what suits your needs best. If you intend to come up with your own lines and practice improvising, I'd suggest BIAB. If you want to play along to your favorite songs, then get the Tascam.
  8. PopaWoody

    PopaWoody The major rager

    May 28, 2009
    Tampa, FL
    If you are learning the instrument, I would go for the Tascam. As mentioned BIAB is a sound generator, like cake walk or fruity loops.

    I do have a certain amount of GAS for the new MP3 Tascam...As I play in a cover band that is adding several songs a month to our set list. Often times I cannot find the tab to a song...for example Feel your love tonight by Van Halen.

    My ear has gotten a lot better over the years at picking out the bass lines, yet it is still my weakness. The Tascam will help eliminate that from my understanding.

    Good Luck to you!
  9. Yenko


    Oct 30, 2009
    Columbia, MD
    I have the Tascam MP3 Bass Trainer, and I love it! I load it up with all the songs I want to work on, and it lets me slow them down and/or loop through tough sections. It will also filter out the bass part from any tune so you can hear yourself instead. I take it along with me to lessons as well, so my bass instructor and I can work on tunes I'm having trouble with. It also includes a number of effects, which are more just for fun than anything, as the device isn't really meant for gigging or recording.

    My only complaint about it is the relative lack of battery longevity, but the optional AC adapter makes that a non-issue. It can also be charged via USB while you're loading it up with tunes. Otherwise, it's been well worth the $150 I paid for it.
  10. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    These two "things" serve different purposes. If you travel a lot I would suggest the Tascam because it is a "Stand alone " unit. Just plug and play. With BIB you need a laptop and a way to plug in the computer. The Tascam is a great unit with fx for bass and tools to slow down songs on a CD change pitch without changing speed and make loops and stuff like that. I would go with the Tascam as traveler companion without hesitation. I have both and they serve different purposes. Just as a practice tool the Tascam is hard to beat.

  11. Thanks to all for sharing your insights and recommendations.

    Here's what I plan to do based on everyone's input:

    1. Get an instructor - first lesson scheduled for 12/23
    2. Buy a low cost used bass for practicing while on the road
    3. Purchase BIAB - only because it's on a 60% off discount now and I've used it many years back.
    4. Delay the purchase of the Bass Trainer until I have more cash, possibly find one on Craigslist and use the cash I have today for the travel bass. It's not going to do me any good unless I have a bass when I'm on the road.

    Again thanks for your wisdom.
    Denys (aka loungesurfer)
  12. Bob331


    Feb 22, 2008
    I have the Tascam and it is a great device. In addition to its main function, it contains a metronome, tuner, special effects (I haven't even begun to explore these), - and it serves as a great headphone amp. Put your mp3 files on it and you can practice your bass anywhere.

    Check out the online bass lessons at how-to-play-bass.com

  13. dvh

    dvh Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    I have both and find BIAB far more useful. But this is probably mostly because I don't play in a rock covers band so don't need to copy existing basslines very often.

    The thing I like about BIAB is that you can loop through a song over and over, loop only through different parts, easily transpose to different keys, print out sheets, turn the bass off for playback (or listen to it for ideas), choose different rythyms.... it's a very powerful tool.

    I'm quite new to upright and needed to learn about 20 standards for a recent show. I found a website with BIAB-ready files. Just download the zip files, open up the folders, and double click on the song... instant BIAB playback. I found this absolutely invaluable.

  14. Billy K

    Billy K

    Nov 5, 2009
    North Bay Marin
    I don't know how to bring up the bass on the songs.The unit did not give me good info on how to use the device.I see slowing it down works well but it sounds to mushy.I guess its tone I am trying to adjust.I just can't get it.
  15. Funkturnal


    Nov 17, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    There is various transcribing software out there for the PC that slows the music down while maintaining the same pitch. How does the Tascam Bass Trainer compare? Can it be used for this? The product description claims it can do this, but I couldn't find up to how many times slower it will reproduce the recording (for example, 1/4 speed, or 1/8 speed).

    Most of what I transcribe these days is either jazz guitar or saxophone (and not bass). So obviously, the range of these instruments is higher than bass. Would the Tascam Bass Trainer still be good for the purpose of slowing down guitar/sax solos?

    I also noticed that there is an equivalent Tascam Guitar Trainer. Does anyone know if this one is better for working with higher-pitched instruments?

    I'm actually assuming that both the Bass & Guitar trainer are exactly the same in terms of slowing down the music, but that the major difference between them is in the enhancing/cancelling functionality of the bass (or guitar). This would be a nice feature to be able to turn off the bass and groove with "the band". But the thing that interests me most is having a portable MP3 player with the ability to slow down music while maintaining the same pitch for the purpose of transcription.
  16. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
  17. Funkturnal


    Nov 17, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    Stumbo, thanks for the link. Looks like a cool program.

    I used to have a shareware program (30-day trial) that slowed down music, but it doesn't work on my pc any more.

    Also, I downloaded the Tascam Bass Trainer manual, and it says that the recordings can be slowed down up to 50%. I would want it to go slower than 50% for transcribing super-fast lines.
  18. Fuzzy Dustmite

    Fuzzy Dustmite

    Jan 25, 2005
    Mesa, AZ
    ronimusic.com has the Amazing Slow Downer which I've used in the past and has worked well.

    They also have an app now for the iPhone and iPod touch that supposedly does it right on your iPod. 14.99 in the iTunes app store.
  19. Funkturnal


    Nov 17, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    Thanks, that's good to know! I was thinking of buying a new iPod as my old-school Mini with only 4GB is just not cutting it any more. I was leaning toward the new iPod classic, but hearing about this application for the iPod touch, I'll be looking into it.