Backing tracks. Bass guitar, overlays, ambiance, rhythm guitars and backing vocals?

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by lewis, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    yay or nay to this.?

    Our bassist just left after 3 gigs (way too busy in his life to be in a band now) and he brought with him Mac pro, launchpads, synths and all sorts of knowledge.

    I own a bass (im the bands 1 and only guitarist) and Im thinking rather than halt our momentum, I could create new backing tracks that include bass and also whilst Im there adding vocal backings subtly for the choruses? etc.

    is this a good idea or is it like waay over the top for live in the sense that people then think your almost a fake and or whatever?.

    (Periphery did the vocal backing thing and it sounded amazing under Spencer actually singing live etc)

    thanks guys
     
  2. buriedoutback

    buriedoutback SS.org Regular

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    My band is moving toward 3 guitar players and bass backing tracks. Archspire did it when their bass player couldn't make it. Sounded good. I don't see a problem.
     
  3. Señor Voorhees

    Señor Voorhees SS.org Regular

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    The main meat of the live playing should be actually performed. Some vocal harmonies that are turned down a bit in the mix are okay, and frequently used, but never make it glaringly obvious. Rhythm backing tracks only make sense to me if you only have like one guitarist and need to solo. Have the rhythm backing track come in only when you go to do leads, so it's not thin sounding, and don't have it play when you're playing the rhythm. It'll just come off as a mask to cover your bad playing or something.

    I'd try to find another bassist, but having a backing track play while you're in between bassists is definitely more ideal than no bassist at all. Bassists aren't typically out front "showing off" like a lead guitarist or something. In fact, they get overlooked a great deal of the time, and I'd bet people wouldn't question it too much if at all. (again, provided there's no super obvious bass playing like a solo or something.)

    Backing tracks aren't bad in and of themselves... It's when you use them to cheat that they become an issue. Perform the obvious parts of music, and don't let the backing tracks carry you. Don't ever let them take the lead over you. If the song sounds good even when any one of you slacks off, you're being too heavy handed with it. It should be unpleasantly noticeable when any member who IS performing, doesn't perform.
     
  4. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    yeah this is literally how Im thinking about it too. I am the bands only guitarist and a couple of tracks do have leads. So the rhythm under the leads would be the only place that rhythm guitars would be on the backing track. 95% of the rest of the time would be me playing the rhythm instead.

    Bass is literally there to accompany the kick drum and rhythms/staccato playing. There is no bass solo stuff or any fancy bass stuff whatsoever.

    I admire After the Burial making 50% rhythm guitars working on the backing track in the wake of Justin dying, rather than replace him in the band. In that context it somehow works and of course you dont judge the band negatively based off it because of the circumstances. As you say, in a normal situation though people would really grill you for doing it too much.
     
  5. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    i might add too that if its me playing/recording the bass to use with backing tracks live and working with me also playing the guitars etc then it will likely be way tighter and better sounding?. Or at least thats my logic
     
  6. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

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    I kinda agree with the whole 'the majority of the music should not be backing tracks'.

    A somewhat other point is that you should be aware that having a computer (or some device) playing backingtracks, you might get a lot of problems when playing live:
    - It takes extra time to setup, besides you setting up your own instrument.
    - the drummer has to be able to play to a click track for it to work
    - you have to be able to do a setup where the drummer is fed one audio signal that has click track and at the same time fed the soundguy multiple tracks
    - the soundguy might not be used to work with some of the tracks being backing tracks, potentially ending up giving you a weird sound.
    - If you play a lot of shows, the entire backing track setup will fail at some point, either due to mistakes by someone in the band, the soundguy or the computer, so you have to have a plan for what to do then.

    I am not saying that you should not use backing tracks, just saying that there is a lot to it.
     
  7. Zombie13

    Zombie13 XIII

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    Kinda like what I do...
     

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