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Finally some equipment to help learn new cover tunes...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Sundogue, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this...but it seems appropriate as it does directly relate to performance (or at least the ability to perform).

    I just bought a Tascam CD-BT1mkII Bass Guitar Trainer today. I'll get it on Monday. This isn't really so much about the device, but rather something that will allow me to play out next week.

    I really needed something like this as I have just joined a band and have to learn 80 songs by Friday (20th)...well, I'm down to 55 songs, but if I would have had this from the outset, I'd be much further along.

    In my current situation, I only have two ways to practice...neither being ideal.

    1. In my living room; Use the CD player in my entertainment center, and plug into my little practice amp. The CD remote is great for rewinding the CD/skipping tracks, etc. This works for practicing, however...I have four kids and it can get pretty noisy and I get interrupted constantly. Plus I can only practice when my 7 month old is awake, as even when my amp and CD player volume is down low, it still wakes her up sometimes. I really have to take advantage of every waking moment. I can't ever practice past 9:00PM this way.

    2. In either my living room or my bedroom. Use my laptop and play the music using Transcribe (great, cheap software) and use headphones. Problem is, I still have to use my amp to play my bass through (no way to run my amp through anything for headphone use). I also have to keep one side of the headphones off one ear to hear my amp. Plus having to stop and use the keyboard and mouse to control the playback is kind of klunky.

    But now with the CD Bass Trainer, I can plug my bass into, and play a CD, all in the same device and listen to both through my headphones. PLUS it allows me to loop song sections, change the pitch without affecting the speed...or change the speed without affecting pitch, EQ my bass, boost or cut the bass track on the CD playback, and it has a built in tuner, etc., etc. etc.

    While I haven't used it yet, I can see where this will be a big help to me. I will now be able to practice anywhere, at any time, day or night and not bother anyone...and the kids can fight all they want and I can just keep right on practicing. :D

    Very cool unit. Best thing I've seen for practicing...for only $149!!!

    How do the rest of you (that have families) practice? I wish I would have gotten something like this years ago.
  2. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    Yeah, it's a very useful device. The looping feature is fantastic for learning individual sections of songs. I use it quite a bit, as well as using my portable digital 8 track (ZOOM MRS-8), which has many of the same features (though not a CD player. I merely rip the songs onto a stereo track on the recorder). The nice thing about the MRS-8 is I can also record what I'm playing as I learn it, then play it back to see how it sounds. Between the two, I can learn songs pretty quickly and accurately. ;)

    Good luck and have fun!! :bassist:
  3. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI

    If I had the money and a dedicated music room, I'd get more things, but seeing how I have limited space, time and money this thing seems to be the perfect tool.

    The ability to record practicing would be of great benefit. There's nothing like hearing a recording to knock one's self off a self-appointed pedestal. ;)

    I've tried cheap little mixers and signal splitters, etc. to try and get my laptop and amp working together through headphones, but nothing worked really well and I always ended up back playing along to my CD player with my amp.

    I wish I had it already as I will be spending my entire weekend learning as many new tunes as I can. If only my kids will cooperate. I've already laid down the law with them, but anyone with kids can testify how well that works sometimes (especially with two boys that like fighting with their sister!).
  4. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    I think you'll be happy with it. One thing, treat the CD enlosure top with care. One side of mine broke and I definitely don't misuse it. It's not automated. You have to lift it up and close it by hand. I must have pushed across it at some point instead of down and the pin that holds it let go. It still works, but now I have to be really careful with it. The CD player won't work without the device recognizing the top is closed. ;)

    Also, for future reference, the Zoom MRS-8 is only an inch or so bigger than my Tascam BT1MKII. It doesn't take up very much room at all. It also has a built in Rhythm machine (Drums and Bass. I only use the Drum portion obviously), that comes in very handy when writing songs or practicing to a consistant beat. It's one of the reasons I bought it. ;)

    Good luck learning all those tunes and have fun!! :bassist:
  5. 4x4Given


    Jul 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I'm definitely going to pick up a CD-BT1MKII B as well. I used to use a DigiTeck BP200 and run my Muvo TX/FM mp3 player into it. It worked OK, but was clumsy and had no looping. Plus the BP200 is a noisy sucker! (I definitely could not use it for performances.)
  6. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI

    Thanks for the tip.

    And thanks again...I will need a lot of luck. That's an awful lot of songs to learn in a short period of time. But I like a challenge.

    I'll have to post a report on the CD Bass Trainer. I'm looking forward to using something simple for practice.
  7. Particle Man

    Particle Man

    Aug 24, 2004
    I think you'll like it. I've had mine for a while now, and use it almost every night. When you've got small children sleeping just a few yards away, the Bass Trainer is just the ticket. The looping function is extremely handy, but don't get your hopes up about the effects.

    As far as the durability, so far so good. I've dumped it off of the coffee table more than once with no problems.
  8. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Having kids is probably the BIGGEST reason I need it. I've been playing in bands for over 25 years without one and I've done just fine. But now?

    I don't use effects...I'm more a straight up player. Fender P-Bass, Eden head set flat.
  9. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Hmm, I might have to go and pick one of these up. I have looked into them before, but then kind of forgot about them. Sounds like just what I need. (small kids also:) )
  10. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Tascam CDBT1 mkII Bass Guitar Trainer


    The Tascam CD-BT1 mkII is the new version of the popular CD-BT1 that travels alongside professional players from Rhonda Smith to Reggie Hamilton. The CD-BT1 mkII now features Bass Enhancement including Bass Cut and Bass Boost, more variable speeds, built-in metronome, more controls accessible by footswitch and much more. If you can operate a CD player, you can use the CD-BT1mkII. Take any standard compact disc by your favorite band and put it in the CD mechanism. Then plug your bass directly into the CD-BT1mkII's 1/4" input. Put on some headphones, set the volume, and start rocking! If you're a vocalist, you can do the same, substituting your microphone for the guitar.

    Slow Down and Learn with Slow Speed Audition feature.
    In ancient times (like the 1970s), musicians would take a vinyl LP record and manually spin the record on a turntable, slowing it down to be able to better hear and understand the performances, like bass solos and complex chord changes. With the CD-BT1 mkII, you get a training method that's even better. Not only can you slow down the speed of the CD by up to 50%, but you can do it without changing the pitch of the original material! After you learn the lick at a slow speed, you can increase the tempo in steps until you can match the original performance note for note. Also, you can change the pitch of the CD without changing the speed...use this feature to "tune the CD" to your instrument.

    Effect Yourself
    The CD-BT1 mkII has 16 great-sounding built-in customizable bass effects...you don't need to turn to external boxes for chorus, EQ and more. The Bass Boost and Enhance settings allow you to boost the bass part so that you can hear it better, and Bass Cut lets you mute the original so you can play along.

    Performance Tools
    You can set seamless in-out loop points with the CD-BT1 mkII...it will play the same section of music over and over again so you can focus on your playing. Use the footswitch input to start and stop the CD, or to scroll through effects. The CD-BT1 mkII even provides a chromatic tuner so you always sound great when you play, and can run on batteries to take your show on the road. You can listen to the CD-BT1 mkII via headphones, or use its Line Output to plug in speakers.

    There's never been a better or more affordable bass training tool than the CD-BT1 mkII.
  11. Herman


    Dec 25, 2005
    Lynchburg, VA
    The Tascam is a great learning/practice tool - my wife swears by it! Make sure you get the AC adapter as the thing just demolishes batteries.
  12. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    +1 and something that I should have mentioned also. The AC adapter is an absolute necessity. This thing eats a new set of batteries after about 3-4 hours of usage. The AC adapter pays for itself after just a few short weeks of usage. ;)
  13. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    How do I practice when my family is around?

    Louder... and just make them deal with it.:bassist:
  14. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yeah, I ordered the thing and looked again and realized it comes with batteries but no AC power supply, so I ordered the power supply and had it added to my order.

    That is the first electronic device I've seen that came with batteries but no AC power supply. Usually it's "batteries sold seperately".
  15. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I'm sure that was a bit of a joke...or you at least have older kids.

    Waking my baby girl by practicing loud would just break my heart. She means everything to me!

    There is no way I'd subject my 7 month old daughter to loud music. Now maybe when she's a teenager...that's a different story, but right now her hearing is still developing.
  16. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I'm glad I read this thread. I've been contemplating ordering one of these from Musician's Friend, but I wasn't sure if they were any good. It sounds like they are excellent.
  17. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I just got my CD Bass Trainer.

    I'm sitting at my desk at work looking at it. It's only about 9" long and about 5" wide.

    All this for practicing in such a small package! I'm liking it already though I won't be able to use it until Wednesday as I have band rehearsals tonight and Tuesday night.

    I can already see how this will make practicing so much easier for me (given the environment I practice in at home).

    I'll give a review on it after I've worked with it a bit. I can't wait to see how it works for me when my kids are playing loud or fighting with each other. :smug:
  18. I'll be looking foward to your review. I was thinking about getting one but after reading a review (in bassics, I think) that was not very positive decided against it.
  19. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Well, for me, it doesn't have to be the "be all to end all" practicing gear, but it does have one thing going for it that I desperately needed...

    A single source for my CD's and bass to play through at the same time through headphones, without taking up any space.

    If it just does that, I will be VERY happy. Anything else is just a bonus (all the other features it has).

    I won't use the bass effects at all, but changing the pitch (so I won't have to retune my bass for every song that's in a different key), slowing it down for difficult parts (without changing pitch), cutting and boosting the bass parts, a built-in tuner, looping, etc. will be great tools to have. I'll play with all those things and see how it handles them and let everyone know.

    I'm mostly impressed with the small size. I have (literally) no room in my house to practice where I'm not in someone else's way or visa versa. The added bonus is having everything through headphones. Having four kids (including a baby) makes it extremely difficult (if not outright impossible sometimes) to practice. My 7 month old doesn't care that daddy needs to practice. Sometimes my other kids are the same way.:rollno:
  20. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Since I had band rehearsal last night right after work, I didn't get chance to do anything with the CD Bass trainer.

    I did pop in a Cd this morning though and give it a listen. It's not the most hi-fi sound quality, but with the EQ feature and boost enhance I can get a pretty decent sound out of it.

    This is for practice anyway, not for listening. I've got a killer stereo for listening. The sound quality is more than good enough for practicing. The EQ feature is pretty good and allows for some decent adjusting. The default EQ setting leaves the music sounding a bit "thin".

    I use Sony headphones and most of my other equipment sounds great through them, so I know it's not the headphones. I'll play around with the EQ some more as I really didn't have much time to work with it.

    Suffice to say, this is a decent piece of practicing equipment. I'll give a more thorough review when I have some "band time" off. I should be able to put it through it's paces Wednesday night.