Backing track for gigs?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Axegrinder77, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Holic

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    As a full band doing covers. What do you all think? Seems like a lot of benefits. But is it cheating in your opinion?

    Would be mostly for the "click" tempo and some keyboard without having to find a keyboarder who doesn't over play... Suppose I can get away with that comment on a guitar forum!? Maybe we'll get carried away and have occasional rhythm guitar and vocal harmony parts!

    Please share your wisdom and experience!

    Thanks!
    Axe
     
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  2. stax

    stax Tele-Afflicted

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    I went to a wedding recently where a 3 piece band charged £1000 and played with backing tracks that had a second guitar, keys and bv's which the bass player and drummer mimed to.
    All night long I had people coming up saying what a great sound they had.
    Last Saturday I did a big gig with another band who used some sort of vocal harmony trickery, again everyone remarked on their fantastic sound.
    To me it's cheating but the majority of the audience wouldn't have a clue or care less.
     
  3. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a small wedding band for years (vox, keys, gtr) with sequenced drums and bass.

    Very happy audiences. We could make it sound great.

    Just make sure you know the arrangements inside out :(
     
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  4. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

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    I think it's more common these days. My current outfit is a 2 piece (vocals + bass / guitar) and the plan is to have backing drum and key parts. I would draw the line (for myself) at pre-recorded guitar. We haven't played live yet and it is a fun project, not professional.

    I saw Peaches years ago and it was her singing and sometimes playing guitar and the rest was a backing track. I also heard more recently of another vocalist/guitarist who sometimes tours with a full band and sometimes with a backing track depending on budget, logistics, etc.

    Edit to add - also, sisters of mercy - backing drums and bass.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
  5. Clive Hugh

    Clive Hugh Tele-Afflicted

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    I did a solo for a few years, had a roland sequencer, I played all the bass, keys and programmed the drums, then played guitar and sang. Worked well for me.
     
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  6. dickey

    dickey Tele-Afflicted

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    It is cheating,just like Vinny Malilli, or whoever their name was.
    Click tracks are BS, too. Ringo didn't need 'em. Carl Palmer didn't need 'em. John Bonham or Keith Moon didn't need 'em. If you need backing tracks or a click, just give up already & let REAL musicians take over.
     
  7. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Very common and it’s not cheating in my book it is just using what you’ve got to make it work and people accept it. Loads of bars won’t book a band due to local noise restrictions but will book a duo. If there is a high quality bass and drums track that can work well.
     
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  8. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

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    My neice was married three years ago in Limerick. The duo (dressed in dinner jackets) played very nice lounge jazz, keyboards and vocals plus backing tracks for an hour as we arrived at the reception. In the evening they changed out or their dinner jackets and did two one hour slots as guitar and bass plus vocals, backing tracks and vocal harmonizer unit. In one song a saxophone was played and keyboards in a handful of others. They were very well rehearsed. They played requests with no noticeable delay, and with patter over a couple of verses of intro or in the middle of a song it felt natural. Yes I could see that the guitarist did not play all the solos which we heard, but the audience neither knew nor cared, they loved it. Their fee for the day (1pm to midnight, playing a total of three hours) 2500 euros, split between two of them and with no more gear between them than would fit in a small family car. These guys are real musicians, they are professionals, it's a business which they understand and make a living from. Their playing and vocals bore witness to their ability, they had just made the decision to work as a duo rather than spilt 2.5k six ways or try to find customers prepared to pay 7.5k for their wedding music. They just need two talented, commited and professional musicians, no having to co-ordinate a half dozen players and deal with the drummer or bassist with a liking for a drop of the black stuff. The backing tracks did not make them appear to be better musicians, they just gave a fuller sound.

    If I were to do the same it would be a cheat. I don't have their talent, the backing tracks would help cover up any lack of ability on my part. That said I have recently bought a Digitech Trio +.
     
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  9. teletail

    teletail Tele-Meister

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    It's called karaoke.
     
  10. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    If it makes life easier and sounds better why not. Beats paying for a keyboard/ sax etc player when there is already slim pickings to be had.

    If people are paying good money to see you play then that's another story and a backing track could be inappropriate imo depending on the circumstances.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
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  11. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

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    A few holes don't hurt anything.
     
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  12. dickey

    dickey Tele-Afflicted

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    Ya know what? Just put on a CD & forget the musicians entirely.
     
  13. teletail

    teletail Tele-Meister

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    We’re almost there. When I wanted to add keyboards in a band I played bass in I bought a pedal controller for one of my synths so I could tap out the bass parts with my feet. When that was too complex I got a looper.

    it took a lot of work, which seems to be a four letter word these days. I’m turning into an angry old man - I just get sick of people taking the easy way out.
     
  14. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    The click track is so that the drummer of the "full band" can stay in sync with the keyboard track.

    About 35 years ago I was part of a 4-piece band project. We were 2 guitars, bass and drums which included 2 lead vocalists and one harmony vocalist. I was also going to play occasional electric piano. The bass player wanted to play Dr Wu by Steely Dan, so we learned it and when we all gathered for rehearsal I brought a sequencer with the piano part programmed and we played along with it. To do that required the drummer to have a click track playing in one ear. It was a crude setup but it worked. That band was short lived and never played a gig.

    These days you buy MIDI files and keep or mute whatever tracks you want. If a band wants to plug some holes it's not the end of the world. But if you have to include backup vocals and sax solos, etc, you might as well just play a CD.

    There are bands that use drum machines only. I was in one of those for about 8 months - a trio of bass (me), acoustic guitar and electric guitar. It was my idea to use the drum machine because the acoustic player wasn't a strong enough rhythm player to be able to accent the back beats for a pseudo drum feel. Fellow musicians chastised us for it, but we weren't playing for them. We had very strong vocals and harmonies and that was what we were highlighting. There is a similar trio playing around these days that doesn't use a drum machine. They're very good and could sometimes use one, but they are taking the high road I guess.

    The ones that really irk me are the solos or groups singing to karaoke tracks with full orchestration and backing vocals. I had the misfortune of witnessing such a group on Valentines Day - 4 middle age women wearing mini skirts singing 60s female pop songs. They opened up for a 6-piece band that played a variety of 60s music. The gals didn't have bad voices, and I believe they were doing all the vocals parts. But I could hear the recorded background vocals in there, too. Many of the songs faded out and they tried to fade with them. It sounded stupid (to me). The 6-piece band had some shortcomings, but at least they did not fake anything.

    I understand that economics has a lot to do with it, but full karaoke backing tracks are a crutch for the musically insecure and/or incapable. That's just my opinion and my opinion matters 0%.
     
  15. GuitLoop

    GuitLoop Tele-Meister

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    I play solo with backing tracks that have only bass and drums and occasionally keyboard. I'm basically a one man trio. It goes over well and eliminates the usual band drama. Typically I'm covering parts that were originally handled by more than one person so I dont feel like I'm cheating at all. I tried doing a solo acoustic act but found it lacking in dynamics and excitement at least for me.

    I also post my tracks on youtube. Search for LiveLooperApp if you want to give them a try.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
  16. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Afflicted

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    25 years ago I sequenced three sets of backing tracks, added my own vocal harmony parts, and burned them all to CD, planning to book solo gigs with a "full band sound." I think the first time I started practicing with the tracks I suddenly realized, "sh*#, this is just karaoke." Did not pursue the idea after that.

    It's a tough biz, especially when it's part of your living, so I don't fault anyone who does it if it helps them get more gigs. But personally, I couldn't get past the karaoke thing.
     
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  17. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    If it sounds good to your audience it's all good. That's the whole point. We're just song and dance acts. No such thing as cheating.
     
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  18. Seasicksailor

    Seasicksailor Friend of Leo's

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    I'm fine with anything as long as the backing track is not mimed and at least one component is actually live.
     
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  19. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's

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    Seconded.
    It seems like more folks are using this type of stuff, but it's just not my thing. Not even for playing solo acoustic.
     
  20. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

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    These discussions always end up with the two sides fighting each other

    guys that are heals dug in hating it, refuse to allow any sort of "electronic augmentation" of any kind

    and guys who see the more practical nature of things, that 99% of audiences do not notice or even care. The other 1%, standing in the back of the room with their arms crossed across their chests.... are the first category.
     
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