Using Backing Tracks In Your Live Band

Using backing tracks in your live band will give you the ability to play a more diverse range of music than otherwise possible.

This 15 year old laptop runs our keyboard sequencer.
This 15 year old laptop runs our keyboard sequencer.

   I’ve played in a lot of different types of live bands over the years. I’ve played solo with just my guitar, as a duo, as a trio all the way up to playing in a full on 40 piece Big Band. As you know, it’s great to have more musician’s to create more of a musical soundscape but it also comes with a lot more logistical problems.

   Right now I’m playing in a 4-piece band that has bass, drums, guitar and keyboards. We are able to cover a lot of music with this lineup. We also do a lot of songs that would take many times more musicians to pull off live by using a computer sequencer to play the extra parts on a synthesizer module. This gives us the ability to cover tunes that there would be no way to do live with just a 4-piece band. It solves a lot of the problems associated with using a lot of musicians in the band.

   We are able to play songs by Nine Inch Nails, Santana, Sting and many other artists that use large groups of musicians or layers of synthesizers to create their music. It really helps us to flesh out our live sound by using these sequenced backing tracks. Having this tool at our disposal has helped to set us apart from the local bands that don’t use a sequencer live.      Continue reading “Using Backing Tracks In Your Live Band”

Creating Sonic Space Between Instruments Before Mixdown

Create sonic space between instruments while working out parts and you will save a lot of trouble during mixdown.

Bill and Frank work out parts in the practice room.
Bill and Frank work out parts in the practice room.

  How many times have you spent a lot of time recording your new masterpiece only to come to the mixdown and finding that there are way too many low frequencies? It sucks when you get to mixdown and you have to filter out frequencies on the bass guitar just so it will have some presence in the mix. Having too many low frequencies in the mix is something that you will struggle with at your live shows as well. The biggest cause of too many low frequencies that I have found over the course of my live and recording career is the simple fact that the players in the band are playing in the same frequency range as each other at the same time. I’m not talking about lovely unison lines but when two or more instruments are playing different parts at the same time in the same frequency range.

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Set Delays On The Beat With The Delay Effect Formula

Use these formulas to calculate delay times to match the Beats Per Minute (BPM) of your music.

Yamaha SPX2000
Yamaha SPX2000 Digital Effects Processor

   One of the tricks of the trade when it comes to mixing down recordings is synchronizing the delay settings with the beat of the song. It gives your recorded tracks a very smooth and even feel when the delays are hitting on the beat or on divisions of the beat. These days, so many live bands are using sequenced tracks or recorded backing tracks that it’s an essential skill as a live musician to be able to set your delay effects to hit with the beat of the song that you’re playing. With all of the excellent digital delays and digitally controlled analog delays it’s easier than ever to get your delay effect units set to the beat of the song you’re playing.

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Master Sony Acid Pro 6 With Power!: The Official Guide

Acid Pro 6 Power! The Official Guide

   If you’ve been reading Live Musician Central for very long I’m sure you know I absolutely love Sony Acid Pro 6 Professional Music Workstation software. It’s extremely powerful and can be the heart of your own home recording studio. Sony Acid Pro 6 is a very capable and deep program which is easy to learn but can be a challenge to master. Today I want to turn you on to an excellent guide written by D. Erik Franks called “ACID Pro 6 Power!: The Official Guide“.

   Acid Pro 6 Power is a deep, detailed look at the capabilities of Sony Acid Pro 6. The users manual that comes with Sony Acid Pro 6 will tell you the basic features of Acid but it doesn’t take you very deep into how to get the full benefit of those features. That’s where “Acid Pro 6 Power!” comes in handy to fill all those missing details. There is something for every skill level in “Acid Pro 6 Power!” and it can take your music productions to the very highest quality possible with Sony Acid. Continue reading “Master Sony Acid Pro 6 With Power!: The Official Guide”