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Dumb question about backing tracks

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Plutonium244, Oct 31, 2015.


  1. Plutonium244

    Plutonium244 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2015
    Wisconsin
    First, let me apologize in advance as this is probably a dumb question, and also for the fact that you might find this post on more than one forum since none seemed to fit exactly.

    I often see youtube vids etc with someone playing full backing tracks off an iPad or similar device, and playing to it, for performance (and practice I suppose). Also, obviously, I know there are ways and sources to find backing tracks for probably thousands of songs that can be utilized on a computer.

    And last, some people are able to write their own full backing tracks for original tunes for easy and convenient use for live performance.

    So, my questions are: 1) What is a good source for backing tracks for use in live performance, essentially in a solo context (but of course others can play along also). This would, I suppose, mainly mean standards, etc. 2) How are they conveniently played back/utilized in live performance? 3) What is a convenient, low-equipment-gear-load way to play back pre-written backing tracks for live performance (written at home on DP or Protools or basic sequencer etc)? 4) Similar to question 1-- what is a good source for such tracks for general home use on my computer for practive and recording etc?


    My goals are 1) to be able to take basic arrangements of standards, and be able to solo over them (thus having a "bass player" to cover the low while I am all over the place) both live and at home for recording, practice, and general amusement; and 2) be able to write, sequence/record basic arrangements that I can then utilize at a gig without having to bring a keyboard with sequencer/workstation and a poopie-ton of peripheral gear for this purpose.

    Any help you can offer in bringing me into the 21st century on this kind of stuff will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for the help of this great community of players we have here.
     
  2. dheafey

    dheafey

    Jul 22, 2012
    Massachusetts
    Look for sites that do Karaoke versions of songs. Here's a quick example that lets you remove certain instruments/vox:

    Shut Up And Dance - Walk The Moon - Custom Backing Track - Karaoke Version
     
    GKon and Plutonium244 like this.
  3. Plutonium244

    Plutonium244 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2015
    Wisconsin
    Thanks, that is helpful. What about playing these back live, what's the easiest way? Just dump them down onto an iPad? Are other tablets similarly convenient for this?

    Also, let's say, for example, that I am not necessarily looking for "the" version of a song, but "a" version... let's say, a njice mellow/smooth version of "A Train" or some other standard, or a kind of smooth jazzy verison of "Sunny" rather than the Bobby Hebb 1966 version? Any source for that kind of thing?

    I appreciate your input and taking the time to answer my dumb questions :)
     
  4. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    As I do sound work I see most artists doing this creating their own backing tracks. They might hire out the drums or maybe the keys but they actually track most of it themselves...
     
  5. Plutonium244

    Plutonium244 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2015
    Wisconsin
    Thanks for the reply.

    This may be true for dedicated and high level performances. By what means are they delivering these tracks during performance? Are they all just created on a DAW, and how are they played back on stage?

    As for the other category of users of tracks--- those less high-level-- on Youtube I see an 11 year old shredding on guitar to "The thrill is gone" which tracks appear to be played out of a tablet of some kind. This 11 year old is not creating his own tracks. Where are they coming from?

    For my particular application at the moment, they include live performance, but at this pount not necessarily at a high level enough to merit me meticulously writing, arranging, performing, and mixing the tracks on a DAW and them taking them to stage. Sure, I'd lile to be able to do that but I am wondering, for now, what 11-year old shredder is using, or what bass guy who is soloing over an arrangement of "Sunny" from his PC on youtube is doing to ger these thracks.

    Thanks for taking the time to help me out 4Mal, I appreciate it.
     
    ratzpaul likes this.
  6. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    My BL staunchly refuses to use tracks... but I have played/subbed in bands that used them.
    Mostly on laptop-based software, controlled by the drummer.
    I do not know which DAW - anything that will play back multiple tracks? Reaper, garageband (mac) or Ableton??
    My limited experience has the drummer using a click-track and syncing tempo on the tracks, and kicking them off.
    If the tracks can be mixed down for performance (from multiple tracks) to a single track, then any 'ole mp3 player on a PC will do. Set them up in set order.. skip.. play, skip.. etc.
    Never been that close to them to be honest.. so I'm just guessing..
     
    Plutonium244 likes this.
  7. Geri O

    Geri O Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I've been playing around with MainStage, which is similar to Ableton, but a lot less money (but without the roomful of features of Ableton, too.

    MainStage is a very capable playback program with plenty of features. Ableton has so much more that you may or may not need. We have it at church, but I've not played with it. And I have yet to actually use Manstage in a live gig situation, but I'm ready with it, if the need arises.

    And I still like the idea of a mixed-down set of stereo tracks on a playback device. Simplicity and all, don't ya know....:D
     
    Plutonium244 likes this.
  8. dheafey

    dheafey

    Jul 22, 2012
    Massachusetts
    If you want a different version than what you can find online, I think you're stuck with either hiring out or doing them yourself. Regarding kicking them off live, others have mentioned MP3 players on laptops, iPad could work, etc... Another option is Virtual DJ; there's a freeware and paid version that both allow you to setup setlists, change tempo, add effects, etc...
     
  9. BucketOfFish

    BucketOfFish

    Mar 17, 2014
    Got a smart phone? Check out the app iReal Pro - Music Book and Play Along for iPad/iPhone or android pads and phones just to get a feel for how it works. Playback charts through device or run it out headphone jack to mixer.
    Go to the forums and download songs/collections or upload your chart creations. Change keys, tempos, instruments and percussion styles.

    Of course you can playback mp3's that you create or obtain in a similar fashion.

    dheafey...thanks for the link to the backing tracks
     
  10. Plutonium244

    Plutonium244 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2015
    Wisconsin
    Thanks s0c9, Geri O, dheafey, and BucketO' for the input. BucketO', I have irealpro on my phone as a "book" of songs, in case I need to learn or review a standard, etc at a gig, since it has both charts with moving "cursor" to show where you are, as well as the basic tracks/progression in audio, but never really considered using those tracks themselves as they really are more representative of a part than an actual part, if that makes any sense-- very simple and cheesy sounds-- it's all you need to learn a tune right quick, but not quite up to something I'd play to live (great for practice though). So I guess that puts me in the kind of ridiculous position of wanting a Momma Bear solution to track quality-- not too fancy, but not too simple, lol.

    dheafey I will check out Virtual DJ as well. Your link to backing tracks was indeed a helpful suggestion, I can probably find some stuff I can use there.

    Probably I need to get my home DAW up and running but still lack a few components, mostly the computer itself, having a little trouble saving up for yet another new computer (jut bought one for work/genral purpose, and PC laptop, etc); but also deciding if I should go PC or Mac; and desktop or laptop (or even IiPad). When I've done that I'd probably have a better handle on what I can and can't do. It's been quite a while since I have had digital recording capability so there's a lot to catch up on too.

    Geri O, I will also take a peek at MainStage and see if that's something I could use without a steep learning curve. I can get a copy of Digital Performer on the cheap since I am owed a favor, and that will be great, but there seems to be a lot to master with DP to use it smoothly.

    s0c9, once I figure out how to acquire the tracks-- figuring out what to use (Abelton, DP, Mainstage, etc) that will probably help me figure out final config like mp3's on an iPad, etc. Maybe I should just break down and buy an iPad since with everything else you can use it for (like those Behringer mixers that you control via iPad, and Garage Band as a basic built-in) it might be useful and also tide me over until I get a desktop mac or whatever for the home DAW.

    Thanks all.
     
    Geri O likes this.
  11. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    The one guy I know who plays solo gigs with backing tracks actually records all the other tracks himself. Real drums, real bass, keys, and he plays guitar and sings live. Must be very time consuming!

    I was in an original band with backing tracks -- we had a hard disk recorder rackmounted. The drummer got a click in his in-ears and would click us in after he hit play. Two measures of clicks for him, then a four out loud. (yes, all our songs were in 4/4) He had to keep some kind of beat going on hi hat or ride during the non drum parts, but it worked fine.

    One of those small digital multi tracks would work really well for this -- you could even have it double as a mixer if you're a solo artist and don't need many inputs. They vary quite a bit so you'd have to research thoroughly to see if it would work for you.
     
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  12. Here is a great website for backing tracks. http://www.karaoke-version.com/ They include all parts on separate tracks and you select which parts you want included in your backing track.
    I load them into my Boss RC-3 Looping pedal which can hold 99 songs that can be played back and controlled with my foot. I include a click track on the left channel for me and no click in the right channel for the listeners. I use Reaper as my DAW to tweak the tracks.
     
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  13. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    There's a PC/Mac app that looks a lot like iRealPro but with added features.
    pgmusic.com Band-In-A-Box
    Several Sites are full of "standard" arrangements of songs minus the melodies, but you can type in chords into BAIB or iRealPro easy enough.

    There's a big jump to live DAWs like Ableton live, but it's also amazing what some people can do with it.
     
    Plutonium244 likes this.
  14. Mooch4056

    Mooch4056

    Apr 26, 2011

    I create the backing tracks for my Band - Its an 80s band and for the life of me I cant find a reliable keyboard player - So I just created the keys myself - Here are some vidoes of the band - Risky Business Chicago's 80's Band - Video

    all the keyboard parts were created and or edited by me in cakewalks sonar Producer X2 Cakewalk - The World's Best Software For Recording And Making Music On PC And Mac

    I have a click going to the drummer - and the keyboard and aux percussion going to the mains - it works out well - if you want to talk on the phone I can go through things with you really specifically - My number and what not are on the same web site as the video link I gave you - The midi files I use to edit the crap out of in Sonar are usually from MIDI File | Backing Tracks | Free MIDI download | MIDI Karaoke | MIDI Hits, United States - Hope that helps - and feel free to call me if you want even more specifics and how to
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015

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