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  1. #1

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    I am a bedroom player who somtimes jams with other musicians in small settings. BIAB, otherwise known as the Band-In-A-Box software for those who don't know, has been a Godsend for me.

    Playing guitar is a hobby and one that I cannot indulge in the way that I'd like. Playing JAZZ guitar requires more than just memorizing and then regurgitating with good execution since you are pulling music out of your head.

    Since my improvisation is based on shapes, and knowing how the notes relate to one another, BIAB gives me invaluable opportunities to improvise on different chords using the different shapes that I have been able to memorize, and dare I say, internalize.

    JensL, a forum member has a video that cautions against using BIAB. I probably need to see it again and hear his opinion, since he has a good record of giving advice and instruction.

    So what are your reasons for arguing against using BIAB? For me, I would be completely lost without it.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    My gripe with BIAB is just the time it takes to punch in a tune...my practice time is limited, so I'd much rather use iReal, even though it doesn't sound as good.

    I suspect Jens' warning would be about tracks in general, not just BIAB...the risk is it becomes guitareoke...which is only bad if the goal is to play with others...then you can hear people who only practiced with tracks, because they don't interact...

    My take on the whole thing is like what you eat, a practice regimen should be balanced.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  4. #3

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    I’m 100% positive every historical great, while they were coming up, polishing their chops alone in their shed/bedroom, etc. would have given a toe to be able to have an on demand band.

    Theyre extremely helpful tools.

  5. #4

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    Great answer, Mr. B!

    It took me awhile to understand that just being able to play a nice solo and to comp is just part of the picture. Jazz (and IMHO, music) at its highest form is when there is that spontaneous interaction.

    I can still remember how much I loved it when I was a young concert goer, or when watching music taped live, seeing the musicians interact and maybe even wink or not at each other. I could especially see this in the Blues, how the artists would work together to control the intensity of the song and the individual solos, as well as the rhythm section's comping.

    I need to check out ol' Jensl's video when I get a free moment to hear his thoughts. I am going to bet they align with yours.

  6. #5

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    Being a BIAB user, I think it's a great tool.

    Interacting with musicians is great if you have the opportunity to play with good musicians. Interacting with crappy musicians sucks though. I'd just rather not play with crappy musicians that don't listen anyways. The interacting with good musicians is a failed argument for many as that opportunity just doesn't exist. And if it does the whole logistics, hassle and time spent can be a pain in the ass.

    For me the risk of BIAB is being too one dimensional in your practice. Since I write, I want to understand the rhythm section and perform those parts myself. In particular bass and rhythm guitar and sometimes (seldom) piano and drums/percussion. So, I just occasionally use BIAB to work on chops. I spend lots of time recording with my DAW, that's were my focus is these days. I do steal drum parts from BIAB for my songwriting, the real drum tracks. I really suck at the drums. (It's not legally stealing in that when you buy BIAB you have license to do that.)
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    Being a BIAB user, I think it's a great tool.

    Interacting with musicians is great if you have the opportunity to play with good musicians. Interacting with crappy musicians sucks though. I'd just rather not play with crappy musicians that don't listen anyways. The interacting with good musicians is a failed argument for many as that opportunity just doesn't exist. And if it does the whole logistics, hassle and time spent can be a pain in the ass.

    For me the risk of BIAB is being too one dimensional in your practice. Since I write, I want to understand the rhythm section and perform those parts myself. In particular bass and rhythm guitar and sometimes (seldom) piano and drums/percussion. So, I just occasionally use BIAB to work on chops. I spend lots of time recording with my DAW, that's were my focus is these days. I do steal drum parts from BIAB for my songwriting, the real drum tracks. I really suck at the drums. (It's not legally stealing in that when you buy BIAB you have license to do that.)
    First Point: This conversation has convinced me that I need to try and react to BIAB's rhythm section as a way or practiing interaction and having full control of what I am playing.

    Second Point: I too like to try and play bass lines and some piano to because it is fun and I like those instruments, too.

    Lat Point: I also "steal" BIABs drum tracks. I have EZ drummer2 and it is limited. I also poorly spent some money on Superior Drummer during a sale. I was never able to master it, so for my Jazz and Latin songs, I use BIAB.

  8. #7

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    You can program the real tracks to include a maximum amount of variations. You can even change the styles, endlessly (there are almost too many Jazz styles to choose from) The harmonic variations are random and can keep you on your toes, sometimes b13, sometimes #11, or #9. You can punch in a 32 bar form 8 times before any repeats. If you start to memorise what the band is doing, you change style...

    No, it's not like playing with an actual band, but while you're building your chops, it's better! You get to loop the band for one, 2, 4, 8 bars etc, slow it down or speed up, change to any key. The greats used to play along with records, then later with the Aebersolds.

    Don't believe the hype, backing tracks are more friend than foe. Of course, if you already have chops, and you have the option to practice with real musicians or BIAB, then yeah, go for it. But for most folks on this site I'm guessing there's far more to gain than to lose with BIAB. Jens, I think you mean well, man, but for the most part, I reckon you're wrong to issue a blanket warning against practicing with backing tracks. if it helps to get way more people to the point where they're ready to have their ass kicked on the band stage, that can be only a good thing. The missing spontaneity (which irks the pros) can wait and will come in time....

  9. #8

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    Playing along with records can be great fun, especially practising comping. Feels like you're right there in Miles' band (or whoever you choose!).

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Playing along with records can be great fun, especially practising comping. Feels like you're right there in Miles' band (or whoever you choose!).
    For sure!

    I just recently figured out how to include a BIAB solo for selected choruses, so now I can practice comping AND soloing over one tune.

    It can really be gratifying for yours truly when I can start fluidly pulling lines out of my head.

  11. #10

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    If it were not for backing tracks, I would not still be playing out. Music is D-E-A-D dead in my area. It's either electric blues or tiki bar music or you don't play and the local jazz club is clique-ish and beyond snooty. I work an oldies duo with a great singer using karaoke and home brew BIAB tracks - I play rhythm and some lead guitar and run the computer - it's not the most satisfying in a musical sense, but, at least, we're still out there at 73 years old playing music we like for people who like to hear what we do and I get to slip in the occasional Great American Songbook tune at some point during the evening. Some of us don't have the big city luxury of a large pool of good musicians and have to make do with what we have. I've done solo instrumental (behind the ferns) gigs using only BIAB tracks (mostly bass and drums) with great results. No, it's not the best scenario but I'm not playing at the house for the dog - I can't do that - I've got to have an audience or I can't play, so I'll do whatever it takes. Besides, after being in this business for the better part of fifty years as both a businessman and player, I really don' t like musicians very much (with rare exceptions) and would much rather do a solo gig at a nursing home or restaurant. Of course, YMMV.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Ellis View Post
    If it were not for backing tracks, I would not still be playing out. Music is D-E-A-D dead in my area. It's either electric blues or tiki bar music or you don't play and the local jazz club is clique-ish and beyond snooty. I work an oldies duo with a great singer using karaoke and home brew BIAB tracks - I play rhythm and some lead guitar and run the computer - it's not the most satisfying in a musical sense, but, at least, we're still out there at 73 years old playing music we like for people who like to hear what we do and I get to slip in the occasional Great American Songbook tune at some point during the evening. Some of us don't have the big city luxury of a large pool of good musicians and have to make do with what we have. I've done solo instrumental (behind the ferns) gigs using only BIAB tracks (mostly bass and drums) with great results. No, it's not the best scenario but I'm not playing at the house for the dog - I can't do that - I've got to have an audience or I can't play, so I'll do whatever it takes. Besides, after being in this business for the better part of fifty years as both a businessman and player, I really don' t like musicians very much (with rare exceptions) and would much rather do a solo gig at a nursing home or restaurant. Of course, YMMV.
    Thanks, Skip.

    I have always had an appreciation for people who call it like they see it - and you have always seemed to be one of those types.

    It's kind of becoming passe, but they used to use the term, "Keeping it real."

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Jens, I think you mean well, man, but for the most part, I reckon you're wrong to issue a blanket warning against practicing with backing tracks. if it helps to get way more people to the point where they're ready to have their ass kicked on the band stage, that can be only a good thing. The missing spontaneity (which irks the pros) can wait and will come in time....
    It's in no way a blanket warning, it is in fact very very specific about what the problem is, but you have to watch it to realize

    Jens
    jenslarsen.nl --- My YouTube Channel with lessons and live videos--- YT Lesson Facebook page --- Træben album: Storm on itunes

    I endorse Ibanez guitars, John Daw Custom picks and QSC monitors

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by JensL View Post
    It's in no way a blanket warning, it is in fact very very specific about what the problem is, but you have to watch it to realize

    Jens
    Thanks for weighing in Jens.

    Sorry to single you out and use your name. You have always been a class act, and I don't want you to catch negative flack unfairly.

    But through the years, many others have cautioned against BIAB or outright recommended to not use it at all Just as others have come out and said the same thing about using metronomes. I have wondered what the rationale was and if it was legitimate.

    I am going to check out your video a little later today.

    Again, thanks.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    Thanks for weighing in Jens.

    Sorry to single you out and use your name. You have always been a class act, and I don't want you to catch negative flack unfairly.

    But through the years, many others have cautioned against BIAB or outright recommended to not use it at all Just as others have come out and said the same thing about using metronomes. I have wondered what the rationale was and if it was legitimate.

    I am going to check out your video a little later today.

    Again, thanks.
    Don't worry about it!

    I see it like this: If you have fun playing with backing tracks or BIAB then go for it! If you want to strengthen your inner time or your ability to hear the changes internally then make sure to also spend some time with something that doesn't carry you like a metronome.

    That is essentially also what is in the video + some really solid metronome exercises if you want to improve your time and especially feel for subdivision.

    Jens
    jenslarsen.nl --- My YouTube Channel with lessons and live videos--- YT Lesson Facebook page --- Træben album: Storm on itunes

    I endorse Ibanez guitars, John Daw Custom picks and QSC monitors

  16. #15

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    That's the video. The title is kinda clickbait, and I don't think it'll make you a lesser player.

    However, I'm classically trained and all my forming years I spent practising with a metronome, so after over fifty years of playing maybe I'm immune to the alleged effect of the backing tracks?

    It's much better to play with a professionally-made backing track than with other carbon-based life forms that loosely refer themselves as "musicians".
    Last edited by LtKojak; 08-14-2018 at 04:15 PM.
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
    Milano, Italy
    https://soundcloud.com/theodore-koja...hy-bro-project
    Hy-Bro Test Sound Files

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by LtKojak View Post


    That's the video. The title is kinda clickbait, and I don't think it'll make you a lesser player.

    However, I'm classically trained and all my forming years I spent practising with a metronome, so after over fifty years of playing maybe I'm immune to the alleged effect of the backing tracks?

    It's much better to play with a professionally-made backing track than with other carbon-based life forms that loosely refer themselves as "musicians".
    To be clear, Lt. K,

    Lets make sure that others know there is much more to the video than just a discussion of backing tracks. I went back and watched it, and it goes in-depth discussing other related matters.

    You also made a couple of great points there, as well, especially in regard to playing with humans. If I can opine for a moment, it seems so damn sad to put in your time, gain a high level of competency, and then have no equally or similarly competent peer(s) you can play with.

    I hope everyone has at least a couple of musicians they can play with and enjoy the fruits of their labors.

    Who loves you, baby?


  18. #17

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    "I hope everyone has at least a couple of musicians they can play with and enjoy the fruits of their labors."

    Nope - wish I did but I don't. Just the facts of life around here. I've advertised for playing partners and got nowhere. Closest thing is the occasional theater production where I get to play with really good people....otherwise....

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Ellis View Post
    "I hope everyone has at least a couple of musicians they can play with and enjoy the fruits of their labors."

    Nope - wish I did but I don't. Just the facts of life around here. I've advertised for playing partners and got nowhere. Closest thing is the occasional theater production where I get to play with really good people....otherwise....
    Play and sing? I can't sing worth a damn but I can pitch and I can bluff the words to thousands of songs and LOVE how much more i FEEL harmony when I am singing, especially when I run substitution ideas. I would rather have an amateur play three chords for me to solo over all night than use a backing track and I hate playing with people who treat the band like a Karaoke machine.

  20. #19

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    I do prefer biab to backing tracks. It sounds terrible but I don't care about that, you can run ideas with it,practice sightseeing in every key, try and follow the chord voicing on the guitar display,gasp in amazement at all the notes the piano is playing that you can't hear, tut at the quantization of midi which auto generates a score full of errors and missing of the point.

    I think it is a terrific and fun Labour of love created by real musicians and the best way of looking at it is as a super super metronome and musical almenac.

    I almost never use it now, though every day is a metronome day, but when I needed to hear if things worked, it was there for me and jolly glad I was too.





    Still it does sound superficially worse than a playalong. But I don't care much for sound,I care about performance, a play along will respond to you in the same way as a bad musician or all play along is not at all..... Except that biab is extremely obedient and flexible and the others arent.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freel View Post
    I do prefer biab to backing tracks. It sounds terrible but I don't care about that, you can run ideas with it,practice sightseeing in every key, try and follow the chord voicing on the guitar display,gasp in amazement at all the notes the piano is playing that you can't hear, the at the quantization of midi which auto generates a score.

    I think it is a terrific and fun Labour of love created by real musicians and the best way of looking at it is as a super super metronome and musical almenac.

    Still it does sound superficially worse than a playalong. But I don't care much for sound,I care about performance, a play along will respond to you in the same way as a bad musician or all play along is not at all..... Except that it is extremely obedient and flexible and the others arent.
    My friend, I don't think you have heard the realtracks. They are better than the Midi. Example below.



    Jazz 1 by Band-in-a-Box Radio | Free Listening on SoundCloud

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    My friend, I don't think you have heard the realtracks. They are better than the Midi. Example below.



    Jazz 1 by Band-in-a-Box Radio | Free Listening on SoundCloud

    Thanks!


    I have heard them though, it's just that I don't care about sound, at all. I'd rather have a real band with washboards and kazoos, I'm not joking.

    I get kinda depressed when the band don't listen because everything sounds like crud to me. It's nothing to do with hifi.

    Still the finest piece of music software I've ever seen and a terrific study aid.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    it seems so damn sad to put in your time, gain a high level of competency, and then have no equally or similarly competent peer(s) you can play with.

    I hope everyone has at least a couple of musicians they can play with and enjoy the fruits of their labors
    Well, not everybody is lucky enough to meet other people that is at least competent enough to keep the tempo, let alone adding dynamics to the playing and keep it "in the pocket" without going off the rails.

    Thank God for Band-In-A-Box and its Real Tracks. That's the closest you'll ever get to the "real thing".

    Me, I'm happy to have 50% of something than 100% of nothing.
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
    Milano, Italy
    https://soundcloud.com/theodore-koja...hy-bro-project
    Hy-Bro Test Sound Files

  24. #23

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    Well I live in the sticks and I have no one to even talk music with let alone get together with. I don't play out anymore except the occasional nursing home. I've been seriously thinking about purchasing BIAB for a little company and maybe learn a little something. I don't know how steep the learning curve is and if I can navigate around successfully.

    I contacted pgmusic and according to their email reply "You are eligible for the "Upgrade from 2016 or earlier or crossgrade" pricing" ??? Even tho I've never bought biab??? This runs $79

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freel View Post
    Thanks!


    I have heard them though, it's just that I don't care about sound, at all. I'd rather have a real band with washboards and kazoos, I'm not joking.

    I get kinda depressed when the band don't listen because everything sounds like crud to me. It's nothing to do with hifi.

    Still the finest piece of music software I've ever seen and a terrific study aid.
    I understand where you and the good Lt. K are coming from.

    Like that old song says, "Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby."

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFrench View Post
    Well I live in the sticks and I have no one to even talk music with let alone get together with. I don't play out anymore except the occasional nursing home. I've been seriously thinking about purchasing BIAB for a little company and maybe learn a little something. I don't know how steep the learning curve is and if I can navigate around successfully.

    I contacted pgmusic and according to their email reply "You are eligible for the "Upgrade from 2016 or earlier or crossgrade" pricing" ??? Even tho I've never bought biab??? This runs $79
    Lord knows, we can't have everything we want in life. BIAB is a pretty good compromise for some.

    Over the years, I have been humbled by a lot of the music software that's out there, but Band in a Box has been something that I have been able to understand and use rather well.

    Good luck on whatever you decide to do to make some music and fulfill your own musical needs. But make sure you have a decent computer. My 6-year old laptop can drag on some songs during playback, especially if you use the realtracks and add instrument solos in for some of the choruses.

  27. #26

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    I have a 2010 27 inch imac, memory 8gigs, processor 3.06 ghz intel core 2 duo with about 400 GB of unused drive. Would this be sufficient

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFrench View Post
    I have a 2010 27 inch imac, memory 8gigs, processor 3.06 ghz intel core 2 duo with about 400 GB of unused drive. Would this be sufficient
    Those specs are strong! I use a laptop for my music software and I think it has a 1.4ghz processing speed (forgive me if the terminology is wrong), 4GB RAM and a hardrive around 300 GB, if I remember correctly.

    That 1.4 ghz processing speed is just not robust enough for BIAB realtracks, especially considering any degradation due to time.

  29. #28

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    Watched half the video - couldn't take it any more. More over analyzing in my book. I gave up the metronome when I discovered drummers and bass players. IMHO, if you can't match time with the rhythm section in about two bars, you shouldn't be there. I think the metronome is TOO perfect to practice with because that's not what happens on the bandstand.

    As to BIAB and backing tracks, especially BIAB, it can be programmed to give a more natural feel and it's also the only way that some of us 'out in the sticks' folks have of getting anybody to play with. I know it's hard to believe for those of you in big cities but some places just have NO music scene whatsoever. In my area, if you don't play electric blues or 'tiki' bar music, you don't play, unless you want to go play heavy metal in a garage with a bunch of 16 year old kids...... I'd rather stay home. At least my duo gets to go out and play with tracks a couple times a month and the audience likes it so what's the harm?

  30. #29

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    It took me a long time to realise that the metronome is for ear training.

    It is listening practice, every time you lose it you stopped listening.

    Most people think that metronomes are for getting fast, not true they are for getting accurate. Accurate in listening to yourself objectively. The metronome provides that objectivity.

    Most people get it backwards, they think you start at a medium tempo and get faster and faster. Much better to start at the slowest tempo you feel comfortable hearing and when it starts to swing put the tempo DOWN. You will hear more and more and more as the tempo goes down.


    My ambition is to feel free and light playing with a metronome set below ten BPM.

    D.

  31. #30

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    I think backing tracks are essential. Friend turned me on to iReal Pro (about $20.00) 1350 tunes with real musicians. Set a 30 repeat loop, change tempo, key, fade out the piano to work on comping. Only drawback is no melody, that's up to you. I haven't used BIAB since.

  32. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Freel View Post
    It took me a long time to realise that the metronome is for ear training.

    It is listening practice, every time you lose it you stopped listening.

    Most people think that metronomes are for getting fast, not true they are for getting accurate. Accurate in listening to yourself objectively. The metronome provides that objectivity.

    Most people get it backwards, they think you start at a medium tempo and get faster and faster. Much better to start at the slowest tempo you feel comfortable hearing and when it starts to swing put the tempo DOWN. You will hear more and more and more as the tempo goes down.


    My ambition is to feel free and light playing with a metronome set below ten BPM.

    D.
    You said it all !
    Uffe Steen Music: http://www.uffe-steen.dk

  33. #32

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    I bought ireal pro a few days ago I just haven't had any time to fool around with it yet but I do see a value in it what little I messed around with it. Just don't know...biab, just irealpro or both?

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFrench View Post
    I bought ireal pro a few days ago I just haven't had any time to fool around with it yet but I do see a value in it what little I messed around with it. Just don't know...biab, just irealpro or both?
    Decisions, decisions!

    If the cheaper option works for you, I would stick with it, or at least give it a chance to work.

  35. #34

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    Making your own tracks assures the quality you want. It's a great education, and another form of creative engagement. There are several good drum programs, any guitarist should be able to lay down good bass-lines, and adding a rhythm guitar part takes care of the harmonies, and can easily be changed to try out subs and chord extensions. With programs like Garage Band and audacity, you spend no money unless you want to purchase a notation or drum program. For my Senior faculty work, I find an appropriate drum groove, lay down a7-string backing track, go back and create drum fills, and I have a track to play and sing over that has my changes in my key, and I can go back in and change things at any time.

  36. #35

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    Have you ever thought of using a looper pedal as well as BIAB? That way you can practice comping and soloing any way you want.

    I got a Digitech JamMan SoloXT. It uses MicroSD Cards to store loops and can thus store almost limitless loops.

    Amazon.com: DigiTech JamMan Solo XT Compact Stereo Looper Phrase Sampler Effect Pedal with 35 Minutes of Internal Recording Capacity and Included Jam Manager Loop Librarian Software Patch Cable and Zorro Cloth: Musical Instruments

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    Lat Point: I also "steal" BIABs drum tracks. I have EZ drummer2 and it is limited. I also poorly spent some money on Superior Drummer during a sale. I was never able to master it, so for my Jazz and Latin songs, I use BIAB.
    I got EZ drummer2 a couple of weeks ago, I really like it. I've already recorded a song I wrote with it... (non jazz content)



    It goes right into a DAW as a plugin (or can be used stand alone). It's great for organizing a song during the songwriting process. I still need to learn the customizable feature so I can add hits at appropriate spots. I think I'll be using EZdrummer a lot more than BIAB.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    I got EZ drummer2 a couple of weeks ago, I really like it. I've already recorded a song I wrote with it... (non jazz content)



    It goes right into a DAW as a plugin (or can be used stand alone). It's great for organizing a song during the songwriting process. I still need to learn the customizable feature so I can add hits at appropriate spots. I think I'll be using EZdrummer a lot more than BIAB.
    That EX drummer is a pretty nice little program. I never figured out how to use that customizing feature, and I am not sure how far one can go with it. There was a Youtube video years ago that showed how to create a "custom groove" but I could not do it, and gave up.

    Good luck to you with the program. There is also Superior Drummer that allows you to get a Midi Keyboard and create a nice drum solo. Never figured out that one either.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freel View Post
    It took me a long time to realise that the metronome is for ear training.

    It is listening practice, every time you lose it you stopped listening.

    Most people think that metronomes are for getting fast, not true they are for getting accurate. Accurate in listening to yourself objectively. The metronome provides that objectivity.

    Most people get it backwards, they think you start at a medium tempo and get faster and faster. Much better to start at the slowest tempo you feel comfortable hearing and when it starts to swing put the tempo DOWN. You will hear more and more and more as the tempo goes down.


    My ambition is to feel free and light playing with a metronome set below ten BPM.

    D.
    This!

    Jens
    jenslarsen.nl --- My YouTube Channel with lessons and live videos--- YT Lesson Facebook page --- Træben album: Storm on itunes

    I endorse Ibanez guitars, John Daw Custom picks and QSC monitors

  40. #39

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    [QUOTE=princeplanet;889150]You can program the real tracks to include a maximum amount of variations. You can even change the styles, endlessly (there are almost too many Jazz styles to choose from) The harmonic variations are random and can keep you on your toes, sometimes b13, sometimes #11, or #9. You can punch in a 32 bar form 8 times before any repeats. If you start to memorise what the band is doing, you change style...

    Are you referring to iReal Pro here?

  41. #40

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    Backing tracks are a tool for simulated performance. I use them to assess how Skype students sound when playing.

    (That said one great assessment method is simply to record the student without any backing and see how well they establish the time and changes etc. It’s a bit hardcore for some though.)

    They also have some practice uses but not many that can’t be done playing along with records. Things like playing superimposed harmonies on standard changes and so on. Though you can do that with a loop or freeze pedal. You could also fade out the piano and practice comping I guess.

    Simply blowing on a backing track is not a great way of practicing. I think most experienced players agree?

    I also think it gives rise to this wrong concept of playing ‘over’ the music as in: ‘playing over chords’ and ‘floating over the time’ as opposed to the correct concepts of expressing chords in your line and establishing a clear sense of pulse and groove in your soloing.

    Also practicing comping with you recorded soloing is a great thing to do. You will quickly learn the importance of negative space and how it is easy to misjudge it.

    Playing with records is a practice activity I don’t often hear discussed but has a long history among jazz players. It’s good for feel, learning music and so on. You won’t get good feel playing with a machine, and you won’t learn to phrase melodies etc along with the masters.

  42. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I also think it gives rise to this wrong concept of playing ‘over’ the music as in: ‘playing over chords’ and ‘floating over the time’ as opposed to the correct concepts of expressing chords in your line and establishing a clear sense of pulse and groove in your soloing.
    Good stuff there. I think these are what most people take issue with.

    The inherent "problem" of a backing track and in one very real sense, is that , because the track can't HEAR what you're doing and allow space for that, it HAS to provide slightly more auditory information and fill up the space more than real players necessarily would or should. Real life, bandstand type space would be pretty difficult to hear form etc.

    That's what I really like about drum genius and it's clave feature. It uses original, very sparse, (and on their own, pretty difficult to hear). Clave kind of gets you "in the building", and once you can hear it, you can remove it and play with a more dynamic and real-world-interactive kind of reference.

    It's no one's fault, just the nature of the beast, but backing tracks, by nature, HAVE to include a little TOO much rhythmic information to be played-with in the first place.

  43. #42

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    Agreed Matt, permit me to add.

    If we are singing with others, say at a pub or church or football match, it is easy to imagine that we know all the words and how everything goes. We are however being carried, if the karaoke machine, or just the captions, or the others singing stop, then we have to face the reality that our memory and minds are far less clear than the circumstances flattered us into believing.

    So we need to spend time being honest with ourselves and actually working, checking, memorising. Some of this happens automatically whilst we are being carried. Being carried works most effectively at a jam session where we are pretty much constantly emotionally engaged (fear of embarrassment, mostly, in my case). But when we get home we need to solve the problems that confounded us so that the next time we do better, not just the same week after week.

    For that we need to NOT be carried. Backing tracks are great for simulating the jam, but we will not be as emotionally engaged as we are at a jam so we will learn much less and remember much less, and of course they are useless for giving us the feedback from watching stronger players and copping their stuff. But they have their uses.

    I love Band in a Box because we can mould it to helps us with the type of work that no jam session would ever tolerate like repeating an eight bar section a thousand times at 30 bpm changing key every fourth repetition. Things like that, things we might set out to do in a practice session but our human memories will drift and we will soon get derailed, but the computer won't. So we will be being carried but we will have chosen the destination precisely knowing exactly where we want to go.

    At their worst tools like BIAB and backing tracks and even just a nice drum loop encourage us to imagine that our arbitrary rhythms are cool and groovy because we hear the track and appropriate it's evenness to bolster or own self esteem. That might not be so bad, but it does make most people at jam sessions a horrible nuisance because they are not aware that they are tripping everyone up because at home the computer wasn't listening, never makes a timing mistake or reacts to us, doesn't care and could not be tripped up trying to make sense of our rhythmic imprecision. I've known otherwise accomplished players that throw the whole band out with their arbitrary entries, EVERY TIME.... mind you mostly saxaphone, guitarists aren't so loud that they can reliably and obliviously false foot everyone.

    D.
    Last edited by Freel; 08-18-2018 at 10:35 AM.

  44. #43

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    [QUOTE=vashondan;890973]
    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    You can program the real tracks to include a maximum amount of variations. You can even change the styles, endlessly (there are almost too many Jazz styles to choose from) The harmonic variations are random and can keep you on your toes, sometimes b13, sometimes #11, or #9. You can punch in a 32 bar form 8 times before any repeats. If you start to memorise what the band is doing, you change style...

    Are you referring to iReal Pro here?
    No, BIAB...

  45. #44

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    I've never really enjoyed the time feel of BIAB (or ireal pro, for that matter) but I think they are useful tools for practicing different changes at different tempos, changing keys, etc.

    Even though it seems a bit old school, some of the Jamey Aebersolds are really good: "Hot House" has Jeff Tain Watts and Christian McBride, the Cedar Walton one has Cedar and Ron Carter, Cannonball Adderly one features Cannonball's rhythm section (Sam Jones! Louis Hayes!), Woody Shaw's one features Woody's actual band, etc. Joey Defrancesco has two really good ones, the charlie parker one has Kenny Barron, Ron Carter and Ben Riley, etc.

    There are some aebersolds where the pianist is super annoying and/or the band is rushing (or in some cases dragging), but seek out the ones that are to your taste, and you'll get a lot out of them!

    While I don't think any of this stuff is or should be a substitute for playing actual jazz with people, many many great jazz musicians have (and continue to) use aebersolds as practice tools. To be specific, George Colligan and Joel Frahm have both mentioned practicing with aebersolds a lot in clinics, and I'd be surprised if many jazz musicians of that generation didn't use them.

  46. #45

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    It's all good IMO. BIAB at home helps timing, comping, melody and soloing. It can get stale after awhile and I don't think I would subject an audience to it, but it sure make practicing fun and practical.

    Now, when I do get a chance to jam with others, the templates I worked out at home are there and I am adequately prepared, but the whole thing goes somewhere new...awesome!! Gotta love the organics of playing with other humans!

    It's a tool, not a substitute IMO.

  47. #46
    BiaB aint groovy.
    The illusion of being in a band will not last for long, so that's not a good selling point.
    Using a backing track for longer practice means it better be a damn good one. Because you're gonna absorb this and why would anybody ever want to absorb something "almost good enough"?
    So, maybe BiaB ok for short test-runs. Surely not for long practices. Haven't used it for so long so it might have been improved but I doubt that.

  48. #47
    I did some browsing today. Check this out:


    Great idea
    ...saw some metronome-talk in this thread.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    I've never really enjoyed the time feel of BIAB
    What version of BIAB did you use and did you use the Real Tracks? Then you keep praising the aebersold backing tracks because you know they're real musicians playing?
    'cause, you know, Real Tracks are actual musicians actuall playing, isn't it? You see the inconsistency in you r words here, don't you?
    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    BiaB aint groovy.
    If you only use the MIDI styles, then I can understand getting boring after a while. However, if you use the Real Styles, then It's not the program providing the groove, but the musicians playing on it who do. And I'm sure most of the musicians that you get to play in your neck of woods are NOT even able to keep the tempo, let alone providing an useable "pocket" for you to play in and along. Hell, many musicians don't even know others to play with, let alone being capable. So forgive me if I just don't take your words seriously.
    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Haven't used it for so long so it might have been improved but I doubt that.
    So you're basing your whole argument on something you haven't used for long and most probably you don't even know how to properly use? Your Honor, I rest my case!

    Lately I've been hearing several new Smooth Jazz artists selling their albums with original compositions where BIAB's providing a good part of the backing tracks of piano, drums, sometimes bass, brass and even ethnic instruments in some cases, plus BIAB-generated counter-soloing, with pretty good results.

    As I always say: "it's not the hammer, it's how you use it™"
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
    Milano, Italy
    https://soundcloud.com/theodore-koja...hy-bro-project
    Hy-Bro Test Sound Files

  50. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by LtKojak View Post
    What version of BIAB did you use and did you use the Real Tracks? Then you keep praising the aebersold backing tracks because you know they're real musicians playing?
    'cause, you know, Real Tracks are actual musicians actuall playing, isn't it? You see the inconsistency in you r words here, don't you?

    I haven't been praising Aebersold with one single word.
    edit: oops, you didn't mean me, sorry.


    Quote Originally Posted by LtKojak View Post
    If you only use the MIDI styles, then I can understand getting boring after a while. However, if you use the Real Styles, then It's not the program providing the groove, but the musicians playing on it who do. And I'm sure most of the musicians that you get to play in your neck of woods are NOT even able to keep the tempo, let alone providing an useable "pocket" for you to play in and along. Hell, many musicians don't even know others to play with, let alone being capable. So forgive me if I just don't take your words seriously.

    In my neck of the woods funnily things are way better. I'm the one lagging behind though


    Quote Originally Posted by LtKojak View Post
    So you're basing your whole argument on something you haven't used for long and most probably you don't even know how to properly use? Your Honor, I rest my case!

    I checked the 2018 version in Youtube and it still aint something I'd want to fill my head with. Real tracks also.


    Listen, I gave my honorable reasons why this doesn't work. The arguments were not theoretical or philosophical but were based on earlier experience -
    Not groovy and mediocre. Not inspiring. Fake band effect. When I would include this to my honorable daily routine, I'd have to tell to my brain "Yes this is music! Deal with it!" and it would go "oh allright"


    edit: for jazz, it's better to dig up great recordings and play with them. Playing the melody or comp with them is fine mostly. Totally better idea than using BiaB for that. But even soloing is possible this way.
    Last edited by emanresu; 10-27-2018 at 10:59 AM.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by LtKojak View Post
    'cause, you know, Real Tracks are actual musicians actuall playing, isn't it?

    As I always say: "it's not the hammer, it's how you use it™"
    no, it isn't real musicians playing. It's samples of real musicians cobbled together in a crude simulation of real musicians playing. Not (he typed, mildly) the same thing.

    Sometimes it is the hammer. Especially if the hammer is a styrofoam simulation of a hammer.

    I have it, I've found uses for it. Did somebody forbid using it? Must've missed that.