Lately I've been using my home recording gear to help me practice, and I'm really enjoying the process a lot more than practicing alone. It doesn't take a whole lot of gear to add a lot of flexibility and options to the old practice routine, and I'm finding myself getting more inspired by the variety I can get by just what's in my music room. THE GEAR: * A Mixing board - I'm using a Soundcraft M12, but any old 4 channel mixer would do for these purposes. * A Minidisc recorder and/or CD burner: I use both, but even a decent tape deck would do for these purposes. I prefer the minidisc because the discs are re-recordable. * A Direct Box of some sort: Right now I'm using a Raven Labs PMB-1, but before I got that, I just set up a mic and played into the board from that. * A CD Player: Self explanatory. * A Piano or Keyboard of some kind For scales and Simandl/Rabbath/Petracchi exercises, I'll record the exercise in question on the piano into the minidisc player, run it into the board, and then play along on the bass with the signals mixed into headphones. It's great for intonation and time practice, and I find that as I get better, I can reduce the volume of the recorded track to almost nothing and still maintain pretty decent intonation. For tunes and music, I'll usually just mix a click track through the board and practice the tune solo, first the melody, then the changes, then improvisation. This gets recorded onto the minidisc sans click track, and I can listen to what's good and what sucks later. I like the objectivity of being able to listen while NOT playing, as I tend to be able to learn a lot more this way. Last - and my favorite part - is playing along with my favorite jazz giants minus the bass. Using just the tone filters on most mixing boards, it's pretty easy to erase most of the frequencies that the bass occupies on the recording, and then play along with what's left. This is a great experience, and can also be recorded onto minidisc or CD to check how it really sounded later when I can be more objective. Also, it's really FUN. I just got done playing along with Kenny Barron and Victor Lewis for about 90 minutes in my living room, and the time just FLEW by. Last week it was the Fred Hersch trio. Next week, who knows? I plan on doing a lot more of this, and was just wondering if anybody else does anything similar with their practicing? If so, any tips?