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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: How do you guys feel about practice backing tracks?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/42846

EricBluegrassFiddle - Posted - 11/12/2015:  03:42:28


Do you know any good ones for Bluegrass that I could buy. It seems theirs not as much good BG in my part of Florida as their used to be. I was informed that a once good Bluegrass jam every other Saturday in Cassia Florida has been over-run by keyboards drums and electric guitars? GULP



Their are some jams but across the state far away from me and I can't get out like I used too for long escapades cause I have my wife and kids and can't leave them at home alone all the time while I run out and jam all over Florida LOL.



Can anyone recommend some good Bluegrass jam tracks for a decent price that I could get my hands on? I hope it can help me improve as a player? Or, should I just practice with a straight metronome?



Edited by - EricBluegrassFiddle on 11/12/2015 03:43:21

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 11/12/2015:  05:24:34


Yuuuuuuuuugh...keyboards, drum and electric guitars...what's this world coming to?  Gee whiz.  If you've looked at oldtimejam.com, it's mostly old time tracks, but overlaps a few bluegrass standards.  It's probably not exactly what you want, though. I think the mandolin people online throw tracks around to practice with...I've seen a few here and there over the years...mando bluegrass people are pretty serious and they usually have good practice tracks....however, I sure can't direct to any...sorry...I just now I've come across a few.  If you can get the money, you could join up with bluegrassdaddy.com.  I really enjoyed my year there, learning things way over my head...lol.  Now he has lifelong membership options.  I couldn't renew when my time ran up because of problems requiring money plus tine....lol...the two essentials.  But I keep thinking if things get better around here I might rejoin and get the lifetime membership.  He has tracks galore on there...mostly bluegrass, some gospel, a few Celtic, some old time, and a few that would cross categories.  The tracks you can download or just use them from his site.  Lessons go with the tracks, very thorough lessons...he discusses all this and even stuff like making maple syrup or whatever on the forums...I asked a question once and he answered with a specific video...something ge does often.  I bet you would like it.  I might join up again...no money, no time...but if I can get enough of either one of them I'm tempted to get back on there.  Well anyway, there's my infomercial for bgdaddy, but I'm sure there are others here who can direct you to tracks...ill be watching too, because playing to tracks is the next best thing to having real pickers right there in your house with you!


UsuallyPickin - Posted - 11/12/2015:  05:30:15


THey can help quite a bit when used with a Slow down program. Many sites have several speeds of the same song recorded. Another option is to find a Bluegrass streaming site and just go with whatever is being played. You will learn to find keys and hear changes a play with a band with no witnesses. Here are two sites for you to peruse. There are many more some free and some at a cost. R/
oldtimejam.com/wordpress/
fbbts.com/

jefferylong - Posted - 11/12/2015:  05:35:55


quote:Here's a good site with free backup tracks fiddletracks.weebly.com/


i feel your pain . . . we Have the same problem here . . . get A good Oldtime jam going and next thing you know the country singer/songwriter troubadours come out of the woodwork and take over. I've never understood why they can't get up their own jam and why they have to Horne in on the Oldtimers? Just leave us alone . . . its Always that old slow and melancholy crap that puts me to sleep . . . depressing Really. I got enough outside of music to keep me depressed . . . i Sure don't want it in the music. 


Originally posted by EricBluegrassFiddle

 

Do you know any good ones for Bluegrass that I could buy. It seems theirs not as much good BG in my part of Florida as their used to be. I was informed that a once good Bluegrass jam every other Saturday in Cassia Florida has been over-run by keyboards drums and electric guitars? GULP




Their are some jams but across the state far away from me and I can't get out like I used too for long escapades cause I have my wife and kids and can't leave them at home alone all the time while I run out and jam all over Florida LOL.




Can anyone recommend some good Bluegrass jam tracks for a decent price that I could get my hands on? I hope it can help me improve as a player? Or, should I just practice with a straight metronome?







 


wooliver - Posted - 11/12/2015:  05:50:59


quote:

Originally posted by UsuallyPickin


 Another option is to find a Bluegrass streaming site and just go with whatever is being played. You will learn to find keys and hear changes a play with a band with no witnesses. 

 



This is good. Good for the ears. Good training for finding the key on the fly.



All you need to find is one acoustic guitar player willing to just get together. I know just finding this can be a chore too. But y'all know getting together with real folks trumps anything else. One guy i started out buying his time, as he was an instructor. Later on, he decided not to charge. Another guy is always doing stage work. He says, "come on along and help me out." So we get our kicks, in front of some folks.  You gotta find "it" where it's at.



Edited by - wooliver on 11/12/2015 05:53:00

abinigia - Posted - 11/12/2015:  07:35:45


There are some on my web page:



briankwood.net/SHEET_MUSIC.directory/


imapicker2 - Posted - 11/12/2015:  12:25:36


flatpickapprentice.blogspot.com/  Eric----I have really enjoyed fiddling along with The Flatpick Apprentice . Many fiddle tunes at many speeds.Check it  out. You might run into any of these at a bluegrass jam. Dwight



Edited by - imapicker2 on 11/12/2015 12:28:44

Dick Hauser - Posted - 11/12/2015:  13:54:03


Eric - go to the "fbbts.com" website. The owner has created rhythm tracks for bluegrass tunes. I think he created them using "Band in a Box". It sounds like he has done some things to improve the quality of the rhythm files. I have BIAB and the files on this website sound better than the ones I create. No harm in checking them out. The price is right - free.

fiddlinsteudel - Posted - 11/12/2015:  16:03:24


I love backing tracks. Couple of places that I get em:



1. Make em myself through Band in the Box/Realband. I've tried uploading a bunch to my various sound cloud accounts



soundcloud.com/fiddlinsteudel



soundcloud.com/fiddlinsteudel2">​soundcloud.com/fiddlinsteudel2



soundcloud.com/fiddlinsteudel3



​2. Bluegrass College has some great ones:



bluegrasscollege.org/



3. This isn't free, but Darol's fiddle academy has backing tracks for all his songs:



artistworks.com/fiddle-lessons-darol-anger



4. Jerry had a bunch he was selling



5. You can buy them from this guy (though they are just realband trax)



grasstrax.com/


fujers - Posted - 11/12/2015:  17:30:39


Eric, Don't worry I have plenty of backing tracks. Just tell me what you need I'll send them. Choose any genre you want I can possibly do it.

Remember though. We all start out somewhere and where you started is pretty close to the top. You need to back away form the hard things and learn simple tunes that you can play.

We would all love to play like someone else....but you have to keep it simple until you learn the basic's.

One foot in front of the other. Jerry

EricBluegrassFiddle - Posted - 11/13/2015:  03:36:57


I think the issue is that I seem to be able to play well when I'm at home with the backing tracks but at the jam, I don't know if I am sub-conciously nervous or what, but I feel I have a hard time following on some stuff. The last jam, the mandolin player didn't chop and the timing was a little rough and alot of songs I didn't know so maybe these jam tracks got me a bit spoiled because the beat is always so constant?



I'd like to simulate the jam situation at home as best I could, maybe it's playing through ear phones that getting me. I'm thinking about running my computer through a guitar amp with the jam tracks to try and make it sound, as close as possible, to a real jam so I can play without headphones...what do you guys think?



I actually have backed off on alot of tunes, lately I play alot of easy tunes like "Little Liza Jane" and a few others, although I like o improve alot in B, Bflat C and other keys in diff positions, mainly kinda bluesy stuff to train my ear a bit more. I did take some stabs at Jerusalem Ridge and others but I've put that and a few other tunes on the backburner until further down the road.



Thanks for the pointers and links to the tracks.



Edited by - EricBluegrassFiddle on 11/13/2015 03:39:57

EricBluegrassFiddle - Posted - 11/13/2015:  03:42:38


quote:

Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

 

Yuuuuuuuuugh...keyboards, drum and electric guitars...what's this world coming to?  Gee whiz.  If you've looked at oldtimejam.com, it's mostly old time tracks, but overlaps a few bluegrass standards.  It's probably not exactly what you want, though. I think the mandolin people online throw tracks around to practice with...I've seen a few here and there over the years...mando bluegrass people are pretty serious and they usually have good practice tracks....however, I sure can't direct to any...sorry...I just now I've come across a few.  If you can get the money, you could join up with bluegrassdaddy.com.  I really enjoyed my year there, learning things way over my head...lol.  Now he has lifelong membership options.  I couldn't renew when my time ran up because of problems requiring money plus tine....lol...the two essentials.  But I keep thinking if things get better around here I might rejoin and get the lifetime membership.  He has tracks galore on there...mostly bluegrass, some gospel, a few Celtic, some old time, and a few that would cross categories.  The tracks you can download or just use them from his site.  Lessons go with the tracks, very thorough lessons...he discusses all this and even stuff like making maple syrup or whatever on the forums...I asked a question once and he answered with a specific video...something ge does often.  I bet you would like it.  I might join up again...no money, no time...but if I can get enough of either one of them I'm tempted to get back on there.  Well anyway, there's my infomercial for bgdaddy, but I'm sure there are others here who can direct you to tracks...ill be watching too, because playing to tracks is the next best thing to having real pickers right there in your house with you!







Thanks Peggy I've seen his videos online as well on youtube, he's a pretty good fiddle player. However, money is a bit tight right now for me to. I have to get a new bow and I'm gonna get that with credit but being back in the states and even with a good job it's going to be a bit before we can really get on our feet.


fiddlerjoebob - Posted - 11/13/2015:  03:47:25


My "back burner" is the size of a tennis court.  


fiddlinsteudel - Posted - 11/13/2015:  09:04:52


My guess is that since you are relatively new to the jams on the fiddle that it's a combination of the jam (lack of rhythm or whatever, new tunes) and nerves. If you were to simulate at home I'd say turn on the video camera, crank up the backing track over an amp (but face it away from you so you get it bouncing around the room) and then record it. Oh and have your wife pretend to cheer at a football game during your breaks randomly or come up while you are playing and clap off time in your ear, she could spill  a little beer on you too if you really want to get realistic.


Dick Hauser - Posted - 11/13/2015:  09:14:17


For some keys, Bb for instance, working on tunes helped me learn to play in that key better than scale exercises. After I started playing "Done Gone" decently, I started playing quite a few tunes in the key of Bb.

The information about sources of rhythm tracks is useful. Is there any way this website could point on how the data can be accessed and possibly updated ?

fiddlinsteudel - Posted - 11/13/2015:  10:14:56


I have been cheating and playing in closed position for Bb and B ... which means that my breaks all sound the same in those keys ...


fujers - Posted - 11/13/2015:  12:46:41


Eric, You are new and I know it. Why practice keys that will take some time to play. You need to be working on simple tunes. The more you know how to play simple tunes the better you will be trying to play the hard stuff. Jerusalem Ridge is not for beginners it is for the more advanced fiddler. I ain't telling don't take a stab at it but be aware.

Practice keyes that are already on you fiddle like A,D,G and E. These four keyes will show you a lot more than you will ever learn in B or Bb

These B and Bb keys you will spend a lot of time learning when you could have already learn tunes in regular keys as mentioned above.

You need to revaluate what you are doing. The hard tunes will come in time don't spend time on something un attainable practice tunes you can play.

Practicing with tracks is good for you it teaches you many things I play with tracks all the time so I know my timing was good. So if the mandolin was off...it's not your fault it's his.

You've done your home work and you play in time. Jerry



fiddlebut - Posted - 11/13/2015:  13:22:51


I reckon you should persevere with the jam session, I mean that's what it's all about, playing with others and that will never be as perfect as a 'backing track'. And keep playing those, so called difficult keys, they are not any different than the others, I mean look at B and Bb they are the same fingering as A in first position but on the high strings....??  And keep playing Jerusalem Ridge, just because it's difficult for you play does'nt mean you don't stop trying......?? Eventually you'll get it, you gotta try tunes that seem difficult, that pushes you to learn....??



 



EDIT...



 



Like Jerry says.......Playing the fiddle is simple....you just have to pick the thing up and play it.



Edited by - fiddlebut on 11/13/2015 13:25:52

fujers - Posted - 11/13/2015:  13:34:23


Let me tell you about playing in B and Bb. We fiddle players like the open notes right. When you play in B or Bb you use less open notes and the same goes for Eb and Ab.

To play in B major you have only one open note and that's the E. Now if you were to play in Bb major you have no open notes.

It gets harder to play in Eb and Ab is out of the question except for the experienced fiddle players. I can play in these keys but I have been playing a long time

Playing in the keys that are naturally on your fiddle like the A,E,D,G gives you a lot more open notes that you can hit.

If I was to play in any of these keys I know there is open notes abound. You should be practicing your regular patterns and not the B, Bb, Eb, or Ab

These keys will leave you stuck in the mud while other fiddlers that just stick with the natural keys play all around you.

I mean I don't care if you want to practice B or Bb I can't hear you from my house. But other fiddlers that stick with the basics are going to run circles around you . Jerry

fiddlebut - Posted - 11/13/2015:  14:43:09


quote:

Originally posted by fujers

 

Now if you were to play in Bb major you have no open notes.



 







Bb major has 3 open string notes...!? The G string The D string and The A string.....!?



Eb major has 2 open string notes...The G string and The D string...!?


fujers - Posted - 11/13/2015:  14:56:57


No Henry, Bb major has no open notes. Do the scale. Now I don't know what you are playing but there is no open notes in Bb major.

Now if you wanted to play abstract scaling yes you could put open notes into it. But Bb major on a simple scales has no open notes

The same goes for Eb major no open notes and the same for Ab major. Are you from mars. Jerry

fiddlinsteudel - Posted - 11/13/2015:  14:57:51


The problem is that B is a very common key for bluegrass, especially if you are playing with singers that want to get up to those high lonesome sounds. You gotta learn em all at some point.


fujers - Posted - 11/13/2015:  15:07:48


Yes Mark, The problem with playing in these keys unless you have a lot of experience there's is only so much that you can play.

Take like B and I know a lot of grassers like this key but for fiddle it almost no mans land unless like I said you have experience.

You ever notice how a tune that is played in B they the fiddle pretty much plays the same things with variations The same goes with Bb. I can play more things in Bb than I can play in B. The reason is that you can find more things to play in Bb.

You play bluegrass right. Learning how to play in B will be a challenge, to move up to the 3rd position and play will be a greater challenge but that is where the action lies. Jerry

fiddlebut - Posted - 11/13/2015:  15:29:29


quote:

Originally posted by fujers

 Are you from mars. Jerry







Ha Ha this is really funny.....NO...! You are from Mars......because they don't know how to read music notation up there...He He..



 



Bb Major......Bb C D Eb F G A Bb........last time I looked Bb has only 2 flats in the signature, but you would'nt know that because you are from Mars..................Play it on your xylophone Jerry......



 



EDIT...



And Eb..........Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb..........Der..I can seen G and D ...open strings huh....!?



Go back to school.....



Edited by - fiddlebut on 11/13/2015 15:32:33

fujers - Posted - 11/13/2015:  15:29:36


Henry, Let me rephrase playing in B major. The major B has no open keys but playing in B you can put other notes into it. Like your open E and A if you are adventurous . You can even play some flat 5 if you want just depends on what music you want to play. Did I hear a little of flat 3. Jerry

fiddlebut - Posted - 11/13/2015:  15:43:28


quote:

Originally posted by fujers

 

 Are you from mars. Jerry







 



 



So here we go again...insults don't win arguments...!?



I am stating the facts about musical theory, which you know nothing about, and you insult me.....



Who was the  B U L L Y  again......!?


fujers - Posted - 11/13/2015:  17:07:03


I'm sorry Henry, I really don't know where my brain is anymore. This past weekend I had another seizure and I broke my fiddle into two pieces.

I';ve been playing that thing for years. This was an instrument that I had played behind a lot of people.

The repairs will be extensive and not sure that I can afford the repairs. I really don't know if it will ever get fixed.

If I sound like a bully to you I'm sorry but that's just the way I speak....but I don't really speak that way.

Now that I have broken my fiddle I have to resort to playing a piece of crap electric fiddle and I hate it

I know I've said this before but I think now is the time to go. If I come up with something to post in Sound Off I will.

Please don't think bad about me cause it is not me. Love ya brother. Jerry

EricBluegrassFiddle - Posted - 11/13/2015:  20:02:44


I think you guys missunderstood me. I have no problems playing in B, Bflat or C in 2nd position. By typing "diff: I meant different keys and not difficult keys. I actually like playing in B and B flat...C gets a bit trickier with the intonation but I like those keys. I like the closed positions and the bluesy slides. I realise Jerusalem Ridge is a diff tune but I like it and I do realise it's a tune thats just going to come with time and experience. To be honest, I haven't actually tried working on it recently but eventually I'll pick it up again. Certain tunes that are really really diff for me, like that tune, I take it in bits and pieces, and then I walk away from it for a while, and then I come back. each time I get it just a little better lol.



Edited by - EricBluegrassFiddle on 11/13/2015 20:04:35

fiddlebut - Posted - 11/13/2015:  20:04:12


quote:

Originally posted by fujers






Please don't think bad about me cause it is not me. Love ya brother. Jerry

 




No, I don't think badly of you, I have much respect for you, and I love you too...Take Care.


fiddlepogo - Posted - 11/13/2015:  20:27:22


I think you may have a good point about getting spoiled by backing tracks, Eric.   One aspect is that it's so easy to listen to them over headphones so you can hear EVERYTHING and that's not how you hear a live jam.   Running the backing track through something like a PA speaker would make you hear the backing track more like you actually hear a jam.



It would also be good to use a slow-downer program to run the backing track at different speeds.  Real backup players vary the tempo somewhat, if there's a way of speeding it up, that might be good too.



Edited by - fiddlepogo on 11/13/2015 20:29:43

fujers - Posted - 11/13/2015:  20:47:18


Pogo, Why not use a backing track I use it all the time. A backing track helps you to become a more proficient player.



If Eric or who ever else just listened to himself playing he might be all over the place



The whole idea of backing tracks is for you to learn what your timing and other aspect of playing is about



Like I said, I use then all the time...meter, slow or fast, different timings and key sig and the so on.



If Eric is up on his game by using backup tracks then he is ahead of the game. Learning how time works is very important to every fiddler.



He wants to be a fiddler and by using backup tracks will certainly help....If you can play in time and the others can't.....that's there problem not your's. Jerry



Edited by - fujers on 11/13/2015 20:48:32

fiddlepogo - Posted - 11/13/2015:  23:07:27


Jerry, I'm NOT saying don't use backing tracks-



I'm saying USE them in a way where you HEAR them the way you would real musicians at a jam.


EricBluegrassFiddle - Posted - 11/14/2015:  04:09:22


quote:

Originally posted by fiddlepogo

 

I think you may have a good point about getting spoiled by backing tracks, Eric.   One aspect is that it's so easy to listen to them over headphones so you can hear EVERYTHING and that's not how you hear a live jam.   Running the backing track through something like a PA speaker would make you hear the backing track more like you actually hear a jam.




It would also be good to use a slow-downer program to run the backing track at different speeds.  Real backup players vary the tempo somewhat, if there's a way of speeding it up, that might be good too.







I think this is right on the nail. The backing track is steady and never stops unless you stop it. The timing is constant and isn't fluid because it's a mechanical recording. Also, the acoustics are not real like they are in a live jam where the sound is more "carrying" and "airy" and my fiddle sounds so much different and seems to project and stand out more. I think I underestimated this.



Most of the tracks I use on the Ipad have a slow downer, or are already played at a much slower pace. That was another issue at the jam, those guys played most of the songs much faster than I play them. Either way, it was a good excercise and learnin exp. I might not know many tunes lie they do, but I'm going to continue to go, for better or for worse and play when I can. If I don't know a tune I can sing harmony, ( which I did and they loved it )



I'm going to see about hooking the tracks up to a guitar amp in the garage and playing without headphones, I think it's not a good simulation of a real situation.



This coming Feb will be my 2 year mark on the fiddle and virtually every day of that, practice has been using headphones because in Argentina, I had nothing loud enough to get the track or metronome at a level where I could hear it live. I think this put me at a slight disadvantage in a way.



Edited by - EricBluegrassFiddle on 11/14/2015 04:12:50

fiddlepogo - Posted - 11/14/2015:  05:55:39


Guitar amp if you have to, PA or good stereo (like an old hi quality one) is better.  Electric guitar amps have weird EQ signatures that won't be natural... but still better than headphones.



If the guitar amp has treble, bass AND mid controls, maybe you can tweak it into something a little more neutral sounding.



Garage might be a little too echoey to be natural.  Things like blankets can be hung over hard surfaces to kill some of that.  Scrap carpet for the concrete, maybe.


EricBluegrassFiddle - Posted - 11/14/2015:  13:12:36


Might try on the porch...gotta figure out how to hook up my laptop to the fender I got. Its 150 watts with two 12 inch woofers in it...got it for free lol. I will need a line out right? From the laptop to the amp...


fiddlinsteudel - Posted - 11/16/2015:  15:34:17


quote:

Originally posted by fujers

 

I'm sorry Henry, I really don't know where my brain is anymore. This past weekend I had another seizure and I broke my fiddle into two pieces.



 







Jerry that sounds awful! I'm really sorry to hear this. I hope you are doing better and you get your fiddle back in your hands soon.


fujers - Posted - 11/16/2015:  16:40:33


I will Mark, I've talked to Weavers violin shop but they outsource there fiddle repairs now to Potters. Two very reputable violin shops in Bethesda MD. They told me the repairs would be around $400, well I just don't have that kind of money laying around. The playing season is over for me right now and I just kick back over the winter. I'm sure I will have it fixed by spring. I'm just glad to have a backup. I play one more show on Dec, 6 and I guess I'm done unless someone calls but I don't think so. My back up fiddle is a cheap Cecillo electric fiddle and I had to do extensive repairs on it. I got it as close as I could to the way I play.....you now what it sounds really pretty good. I guess I will use that for now until I can get my acoustic fixed. The seizures come more often now and the Doctor says I can't drive and thats really a pisser cause I like my freedom. It is what it is. Jerry

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