Lead guitarist quit. Backing track solos?

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by buriedoutback, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. buriedoutback

    buriedoutback SS.org Regular

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    My band is Symphonic-ish Death Metal.

    So my lead guitar player quit recently. :noway:
    We have a show this weekend in Toronto. :yesway:

    We use backing tracks for strings/piano/synth/samples live.
    I play guitar and do vocals, and we have a bass player now.

    My drummer thinks we should add the departed guitarist's album rhythm AND solos to the backing tracks, and use that live. :nuts:
    I could just run a stereo rig with 2 amps/cabs and delay 1 side by 20ms so it sorta sounds like 2 guitars. I think it would work fine.

    Our guitar parts are very different and really compliment each other. He and I rarely ever played the same riff. He liked to harmonize my parts, etc so it sounds a little different/lacking now.

    I realize that most audience members won't have a clue what is real guitar and what is backing track... We're also a lesser known band, so I get that no one at the bar will have heard our music before either...

    I'm not interested in cancelling shows and shutting down until another guitarist can be found.

    I saw a band live recently that had backing tracks with dissonant-meshuggah-style-background-guitars and lo-fi guitar parts and synth tracks and it seemed a little much!

    tldr: Should we play live with just 1 guitar, or play his album tracks to fill in his parts??

    What do you think?
     
  2. scottro202

    scottro202 I'm walkin' here!!!

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    Normally I'd advise you to not use a backing track. BUT.....

    1) You already use them for so much already, so it wouldn't be a big hassle to add one more instrument (at least you made it seem as such, anyways).

    2) You do vocals, which could make learning new parts/compensating for his absence more difficult by the added layer of singing, especially putting that in a show environment.

    3) You say you guys rarely play the same thing, and while they may not know the difference, the audience hearing the full composition could be the difference between them looking you up on Spotify/YouTube/FaceBook/MySpace/MyFaceSpaceBook after the gig.

    Since it's a non trivial part of your sound, you already have the equipment for it, I say go for it, at least until you find someone who won't quit on days notice before a show. (Hell, make a joke about that fact during the show if it makes you feel better).
     
  3. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    Rhythm tracks, certainly put them on the backing track.
    Solos, you are bound to get some negative comments for. Are you good enough to learn his or write and learn your own in time, or even improvise? That would be the best imo. If not, just put them on the backing track - but I would address it to the crowd partway through the set and acknowledge that it's a bit lame. (Personally it doesn't bother me at all, but I know solos is a big sticking point even amongst people that have zero issues with backing tracks otherwise. Making sure the audience know it's not the norm for you would be good)
     
  4. EmaDaCuz

    EmaDaCuz Brutal yet soulful

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    I was in the same situation 15 years ago, played a couple of shows with backing tracks, but ended up rearranging the songs.
    We had backing tracks for samples and some synths. One of the problems, if you use just a single pre-mixed track with guitars, is to match your on stage guitar tone with the pre-recorded one. You may want to replace the guitar lines with some other synths/strings/pads.
     
  5. HUGH JAYNUS

    HUGH JAYNUS Formerly DJIMBO

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    I say go for it. I tried to go that route since the 2nd guitarist always quit in my band. Every year they would leave lol. The rest of my band wouldn't even consider it though. If your guys are willing than then try it. As a viewer I wouldn't mind.
     
  6. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    If I'm to be 100% honest, if I just walked in to the show and your solos were coming over the PA all pre-recorded like, I might just walk out and see what other bands have at the merch tables, or go grab a bite.

    I'm not sure how you rectify the situation short of hiring a lead player for the show to cover for the guy who left, which is what I would try to do.

    Other guys might have an entirely different approach.
     
  7. MrPepperoniNipples

    MrPepperoniNipples SS.org Regular

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    I agree with everyone else, I think it's a bad idea. I mean can you imagine walking into a show and seeing 4 guys jam on stage while an invisible guitar player plays a solo?

    The guitar solo is really not that important a part of most songs, I say either do some vocal melody overtop, or just play the rhythm guitar and have it instrumental for a bit.
     
  8. ICSvortex

    ICSvortex Ibanez Enthusiast

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    i would say put the rhythm stuff on the backing track and either dont Play the solos at all, or do Keyboard solos instead. if you have guitarpro Tabs of his solo you can Transfer it to Keyboard-midi in like 2 minutes. i think that would be the best Option.
     
  9. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    If you address it up front it should t be an issue, "hey guys thanks for being here. We recently had a member leave for other pursuits and are using a track for his parts/solos so sorry about any suckage on that part." Etc. I wouldn't care especially if I'm digging the songs otherwise. $.02
     
  10. jsmalleus

    jsmalleus SS.org Regular

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    I think you're fine either using backing tracks for just the rhythm guitar, or mentioning the situation to the crowd & keeping the solos in there as well.

    Door #3: explain the situation AND acquire or make a cardboard cutout / wacky waving inflatable stand-in guitarist, put it on stage, and go over to it & rock out like it's the ****ing bomb while the solo tracks play.
     
  11. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I don't see anything wrong with adding his rhythm tracks too the backking tracks to flesh out harmonies and counterpoint parts and whatnot, but I wouldn't add the solos. Either learn them yourself, or write/improvise something else that fits that you can pull off live.

    Even if you explain it to the audience, having a lead break where no one on stage is actually playing the solo is going to be *weird*.
     
  12. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    Agreeing with everyone else- backing track solos would be seen as lame.

    Generally, audiences are cool with limited backing tracks and, since even a lot of solo acoustic pub players use them, looper pedals, so you can fill out your sound while taking the leads yourself. Heck, the layer-building itself, if done well, can be fun to watch for an audience.
     
  13. ConnorGilks

    ConnorGilks Still can't play.

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    I wouldn't, that's a bit much. I'd much rather a guitarist just try and do the solo (or their own solo) than backtrack one.
     
  14. Unleash The Fury

    Unleash The Fury SS.org Regular

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    or remove the solo section entirley?
     
  15. BillCosby

    BillCosby SS.org Regular

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    Dude quit with a show coming up? He couldn't just be a bro and play that show until you figure something out? Unless there is some extenuating circumstance, or something.
     
  16. EcoliUVA

    EcoliUVA Not Gifted

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    Backing tracks are a pain in the ass. If you don't have the ability to practice it to perfection first, I would try to exhaust every other option. If you must, try to get it in-ear for everyone to follow, or blast it hard in your faces if it must be through a monitor.

    My personal preference, in agreement with others, would be to leave the solos out if you must go with backing tracks. As a guy who enjoys playing them, solos aren't really that important to the show for anyone except the lead guitarist, his SO, and a few guitarists in the crowd (probably in the other bands). This might become less true as fame increases and people expect it. :shrug:

    I feel your pain and wish you the best for the gig. The show must go on.
     
  17. 7 Strings of Hate

    7 Strings of Hate Mid-Level Asshole Contributor

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    If it were me, I would do backing tracks for YOUR parts during the solo while you adlib the solos the best you can.
     
  18. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    So how did you work this out? How did the show go? Any updates?!?!1!
     
  19. buriedoutback

    buriedoutback SS.org Regular

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    Sorry for the delay, I took my g/f on a last minute trip for her birthday and havn't been on the net. Home now.
    So I decided to leave the backing tracks as they were and just play the songs will his parts absent.
    1. I cant do guitar solos. I'm just not good enough. (Read: too lazy to learn/practice)
    2. I couldn't recreate the solos with keys, etc.
    3. These songs were written originally by just me on guitar, so all fancy leads and finger-work were added later, and I figured the songs still sounded good with 1 guitar.
    4. Deciding on backing tracks/strings levels vs his guitar levels became a challenge. It gets mixed down to an mp3, so the sound guy would have control over that single tracks volume...and that just bothered me. No way to turn 1 up or down. If i had my laptop, i probably could have figured it out. We just use an ipod now for clicks and backing tracks.
    5. With my guitar, and bass, and the piano/keys or strings or whatever backing track we made, i think the meat of the song was there.
    In the end, it worked well. People enjoyed the songs and we scored points with the promoter and sound guy (he does sound/shows at a much nicer bar and wants us toplay there).
    I was able to trade my randall 2x12 for a mesa oversized 412 right before the show, so I used that, and it sounded amazing! A guy close to the venue wanted to downsize, and i wanted to upsize. :)
    Thank you for the advice/suggestions ! Very much appreciated. \m/ \m/
     
  20. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    :yesway: Great news!
     

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