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Making backing tracks


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From http://forums.gibson.com/default.aspx?g=postmessage&t=34021&f=80&q=473147


<...>BUT having just read your Norton music site about how you make tracks has provided that "eureka" moment for me.

I noticed your article on backing tracks was written in 2007 do you have any advice as to current available BIAB versions and midi sequencers ? What about dedicated laptops? any current recommendations? I'm starting from scratch.


Thanks Notes_Norton <...>


I'm still doing it the same way.


On stage' date=' I use a ThinkPad laptop, and although it is a regular laptop, I have nothing on it but what I need to play music. No Internet, no "office", no photo editors, no anything but what I need. The ThinkPad is rugged, it has been bouncing around in the van (doing one-nighters), going from extreme heat (playing in the sun) to extreme cold (air conditioners set too low), bouncing on a keyboard A-Frame stand, and running for hours on a gig non-stop since 2002. It hasn't crashed once, although the hard drive started making some noise a few years ago so I replaced it.


I use the most current version of BiaB but I do not use the Real Tracks (audio loops) for the reasons explained here:

http://www.nortonmusic.com/midi_vs_loops.html. BiaB is a good start, but IMHO it isn't ready for prime time, the results must be edited to bring it from a decent backing track to an excellent one, and it is impossible for mere mortals to edit the loops with good results.


I still use an old version of Master Tracks Pro from Passport Designs for MIDI sequencing. The new company G-Vox bought it, introduced major bugs in it, and hasn't fixed them in years. I like MTPro because it is fast. No audio to complicate the interface, no sub menus to the menus, quick dialog boxes with intelligent choices, and other things in the interface that allow me to spend more time with my hands on a musical instrument and less time with my hands on the computer and mouse. Unfortunately it is restricted to short file names, so when I'm done I import the MIDI file into the new MTPro and save it with the long name.


So my recommendations are:


1) Get a high end laptop for your gig, Mac or ThinkPad would be the only two I would recommend, and bring a spare because you never know, it's cheap insurance. If you blow a gig you will lose more money in lost gigs than the price of a spare computer

2) Use a USB to Audio interface to get the sound out of your computer. More bandwidth means higher fidelity and that means better sound

3) Use good quality synth modules, NOT the sound card that came with the computer to play the MIDI files, they are OK for games or practice, but not good enough for stage sounds

4) When making the MIDI files or recording them to audio, don't rush it. Even if it takes an extra day to go from a very good sounding backing track to an excellent one, it's worth the time. After all, hopefully you will be playing that backing track thousands of times in front of an appreciative audience, and you want it to sound as good as you can for your ears and theirs as well.

5) Be professional. You are not an employee of the place where you will be playing. You are an independent contractor. You are a small business and you have to compete with the other bands/small businesses who want the same gig. If you want the gig, you have to be better than them, not for yourself, but for the profits of the place you are performing in. That means play to the audience and try to give them a good time so they stay longer, come back more often, and spend more money.


Some of these are included in my backing tracks page: http://www.nortonmusic.com/backing_tracks.html and after doing backing tracks since 1985 and trying many different methods, this is the best way for me. Of course, it's not the only right answer, but it's the best one for me.


Oh, and one more thing. Have fun on stage. If you aren't having fun, the audience won't have fun. Fun is contagious, and so is glum. They call it playing music for a reason.


Insights and incites by Notes ?

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Thank you Notes for all the information.

Its a process that is new to me and will take some time to distill.

I have lots of time (recently) so this will be fun!

My intent is to make a drums/bass backup to fill with my acoustic guitar&vocals work, as feeble as that may be,mostly covers and some originals.

I must admit I have limited experience using midi-and most new music technologies- so the learning curve will be steep.


Do you have any midi module recommendations?


again thanks for the insights , I'm originally from FL (Miami Springs) and return for "family" visits a few times a year mostly around Cocoa area now but have friends all over the state lots of old buddys in the Miami area ...I'll be looking for The Sophisticats !

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We all started somewhere.


I remember the Atari days, when I had to ask someone, "What is a sequence?"


He was kind enough to answer. I've asked a lot of questions and learned a lot from my fellow musicians, and the best way to pay them back is to pass on whatever information I have learned to others.


I think most musicians have always done this.


Insights and incites by Notes ?

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