Jamming along on the home computer

lance71

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Posts
56
Age
50
Location
California
I could use some help in deciding how to set up my mac to plug my guitar in and jam along with a decent sound to backing tracks. I see a lot of programs that have all the pedals and amp settings etc. I'd like to find one good program I could plug into on my Mac or iPad. Using even my pedal board, get a decent tone, and export the jam to share with my teacher. I do have a new Scarlett 2i2. Is there a good program to start with? I've also been looking at Band in a Box to create chord progressions. I like that feature and they have some nice sounding real tracks. Also is there a good digital amp that helps with this. My everyday practice amp is the Superchamp x2. Thanks!
 

chris m.

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Posts
10,219
Location
Santa Barbara, California
Do you use a DAW? I use REAPER, and I have a Scarlett 2i2. This gives you lots of options.

1) You can open a new track, and lay down a chord progression to the metronome, and then loop it or copy it as much as you want. Then you can open a second track and play lead over it to your heart's content, and at some point hit record if you want to. I use the Boogex free guitar amp VST that I downloaded separately, as well as some of the effects like reverb that come with REAPER to create my guitar toanz.

2) Let's say there's a song you want to cover. Maybe it's on YouTube. I have an adapter for my iPhone that goes from lightning jack to 1/8" mini stereo female plug. I have another cable that goes from 1/8" mini stereo male to 1/4" mono male. I plug my phone via these adaptors into the 1/4" input in my Scarlett. Then I just play the tune on my iPhone and record it to a track in REAPER. Once I have it recorded I can jam along to it on another track, and record my lead track whenever I want to. I pan the backing track a little to the left, and my guitar track a little to the right, and then I can hear the backing track and guitar track very clearly in my headphones while playing and while listening back after recording.

3) I often record songs my band is working on. I use a cheap app called "Voice Record" that has a few more control features than the stock iPhone voice memo app. I put my phone in a reasonable spot in our rehearsal space to get a semi-decent mix and then just record a song we're rehearsing. I record it as a .wav or mp3 and then email it to myself. On my computer I open the Reaper DAW and then just drag and drop that recording into a fresh track. Boom, now I can play along with my band rehearsal by running my guitar on a second track.

4) Another cool free VST that comes with REAPER is ReaPitch. Our singer often needs to transpose a song to get it into her vocal range. We decided to play Macy Gray's "I Try" up a minor 3rd. So I recorded the original "I Try" using method 2) above. Then, using ReaPitch, it was super easy to transpose it up a minor 3rd. So now I can easily jam along to the song, transposed up a minor 3rd, to memorize all the changes and get the tune under my fingers.

I also did buy EZ Drummer, and sometimes I use that to create drum tracks. Other cheap and easy phone apps I really like are FunkBox and also DM1. These are iPhone/iPad drum apps that make it super easy to come up with quick tracks. I can build tracks up while waiting for a doctor's appointment, or whatever. And then I can record the drum tracks I made into a track on REAPER by using method 2) above, transferring it from my phone via the Scarlett to REAPER. I could probably figure out how to save the files and then just transfer them to myself and then drag/drop into my DAW, too.

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lance71

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Posts
56
Age
50
Location
California
Do you use a DAW? I use REAPER, and I have a Scarlett 2i2. This gives you lots of options.

1) You can open a new track, and lay down a chord progression to the metronome, and then loop it or copy it as much as you want. Then you can open a second track and play lead over it to your heart's content, and at some point hit record if you want to. I use the Boogex free guitar amp VST that I downloaded separately, as well as some of the effects like reverb that come with REAPER to create my guitar toanz.

2) Let's say there's a song you want to cover. Maybe it's on YouTube. I have an adapter for my iPhone that goes from lightning jack to 1/8" mini stereo female plug. I have another cable that goes from 1/8" mini stereo male to 1/4" mono male. I plug my phone via these adaptors into the 1/4" input in my Scarlett. Then I just play the tune on my iPhone and record it to a track in REAPER. Once I have it recorded I can jam along to it on another track, and record my lead track whenever I want to. I pan the backing track a little to the left, and my guitar track a little to the right, and then I can hear the backing track and guitar track very clearly in my headphones while playing and while listening back after recording.

3) I often record songs my band is working on. I use a cheap app called "Voice Record" that has a few more control features than the stock iPhone voice memo app. I put my phone in a reasonable spot in our rehearsal space to get a semi-decent mix and then just record a song we're rehearsing. I record it as a .wav or mp3 and then email it to myself. On my computer I open the Reaper DAW and then just drag and drop that recording into a fresh track. Boom, now I can play along with my band rehearsal by running my guitar on a second track.

4) Another cool free VST that comes with REAPER is ReaPitch. Our singer often needs to transpose a song to get it into her vocal range. We decided to play Macy Gray's "I Try" up a minor 3rd. So I recorded the original "I Try" using method 2) above. Then, using ReaPitch, it was super easy to transpose it up a minor 3rd. So now I can easily jam along to the song, transposed up a minor 3rd, to memorize all the changes and get the tune under my fingers.

I also did buy EZ Drummer, and sometimes I use that to create drum tracks. Other cheap and easy phone apps I really like are FunkBox and also DM1. These are iPhone/iPad drum apps that make it super easy to come up with quick tracks. I can build tracks up while waiting for a doctor's appointment, or whatever. And then I can record the drum tracks I made into a track on REAPER by using method 2) above, transferring it from my phone via the Scarlett to REAPER. I could probably figure out how to save the files and then just transfer them to myself and then drag/drop into my DAW, too.
------------

Thanks Chris! This is exactly what I was hoping to find. Someone who has tried different options and found something that worked for them. I've heard of Reaper through YouTube videos. I will look into that more. As of now I haven't settled on a DAW. I just have Garage Band. So I'm open to suggestions and that's a good one. I will go over all this info and let you know if I have any questions. Thanks!
 

lance71

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Posts
56
Age
50
Location
California
GarageBand is a great way to get started. If you have the recent version, the amp sims are pretty good. Even better is the Fender Mustang Micro, which patches cleanly into a Mac via a USB port.
I only have Garage Band at the moment and I was wondering about that Micro. Just haven't researched it enough yet. Might be a simple solution for something quick? Good advice. Thanks!
 

northernguitar

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Posts
5,160
Location
North of Toronto
I only have Garage Band at the moment and I was wondering about that Micro. Just haven't researched it enough yet. Might be a simple solution for something quick? Good advice. Thanks!
You have much to work with using the GB sims. However, I really love this little Micro for practice, the tones in it are surprisingly solid! I mostly use my VOX and Orange heads into a loadbox. So many great toys to work with.
 

chris m.

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Posts
10,219
Location
Santa Barbara, California
Thanks Chris! This is exactly what I was hoping to find. Someone who has tried different options and found something that worked for them. I've heard of Reaper through YouTube videos. I will look into that more. As of now I haven't settled on a DAW. I just have Garage Band. So I'm open to suggestions and that's a good one. I will go over all this info and let you know if I have any questions. Thanks!
GarageBand should be able to do all of these things, too. I learned how to use REAPER so that's what I stick with now. But seriously, with GarageBand and your Scarlett you should be good to go. Certainly plenty good for playing along to tracks you create or import.
 

Yesyoudidyouare

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jul 20, 2021
Posts
236
Age
36
Location
Earth
I could use some help in deciding how to set up my mac to plug my guitar in and jam along with a decent sound to backing tracks. I see a lot of programs that have all the pedals and amp settings etc. I'd like to find one good program I could plug into on my Mac or iPad. Using even my pedal board, get a decent tone, and export the jam to share with my teacher. I do have a new Scarlett 2i2. Is there a good program to start with? I've also been looking at Band in a Box to create chord progressions. I like that feature and they have some nice sounding real tracks. Also is there a good digital amp that helps with this. My everyday practice amp is the Superchamp x2. Thanks!
Garage band. free, already installed

Logic $200

Reaper $60
 

thegaijin

Tele-Meister
Joined
Oct 2, 2012
Posts
435
Location
Tokyo
You have what you need already but I’d recommend you to download the 14-day free trial of some the Neural DSP plugins. I’ve been really impressed. Not sure if I’ll actually buy them as you can get good tones from Garageband already, but they are a lot of fun.
 




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