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  • playing ALONE

    hi guys it seems wherever i go to see live music ;it's always a duo or someone using a sequencer.i 'm not a fan of sequencers or backing tracks.i know some guys here use them[ i don't have enough brain cells to figure backing tracks or sequencers out!].people seem to love it when they are hearing backing tracks!...i play 'just me ,guiatr,acoustic amp;no pedals.does anyone else play "stripped down music"? there is aguy here gets lots of comps because he uses this stuff.i think i'm as good but everyone loves him!thanks for reading my rant!

  • #2
    When I play it's just me, an acoustic guitar and a mic.
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.patcoast.com" target="_blank">http://www.patcoast.com</a><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot;The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio.&quot;-<i>Christhee68</i></font><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot; the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep.&quot;-<i> FitchFY</i></font></div>

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    • #3
      I'm with you there. I'm not a fan of backing tracks at all. Looping feels like cheating as well. That said I'd take a duo over solo any day, mostly for the vocal harmonies. When writing songs for acoustic guitar, it's a fun challenge to get a good full sound for all the different parts of the song (I don't always succeed, but I certainly have fun trying).

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      • #4
        Pros and cons to all. A solo can call the tunes and never worry that his/her partner knows the material. The best solo performer in our town is full of surprises and is much more musically interesting than any of the duos--including his own. That said, harmonies are nice. Backing tracks are the single fastest way to the door for me and looping forces a peculiar structure on a performance; looping is rare here.



        I'm quite able to perform solo and have done, but I have an excellent singing partner who adds more than her share of polish and panache to a show, so mostly I work with her and now also with a drummer, violinist and clarinet (I cover piano and singing and my partner Diane sings). Since there really isn't a living to be had playing music in Gananoque (pop 5000) I go for the fun.



        But for listening, I generally prefer solos--on the whole quirkier and more interesting than most duos I've heard.
        Hi Mom!

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        • #5
          I'm with you. No backing tracks at all. Just me and my acoustic. I am a strong guitar player and can cover complex rhythm patterns while singing. I am about to start introducing my TC VL Touch in the near future to see how that works.
          NSA - The only government agency that actually listens to what you have to say.

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          • #6
            To each his /her own. If it works for you, go ahead.



            ME..I prefer backing tracks. Huh...You don't like it?...that's fine with me too.



            It goes both ways. I dont like listening a guitarist playing without any backing track for the entire show. That's way too boring and plain to me. But hey...if you can stand it, no one will stop you.

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            • #7
              Yes, I agree it's pretty monotonous to hear a strum-around-the-campfire type git player play all night. I listened to a local (no BT's) harmonica/vox/guitar duo some time ago and the quarter-note strums got old pretty fast. But if a guitar player is accomplished and versatile enough to mix styles like Travis-picking, classical-style fingerpicking (ala Fingerpicker here), flamenco, jazz standards with full chords, bluegrassy alternating bass with strums, etc., they aren't going to bore anybody- musicians or no IMO. Not saying ANYBODY can do all of the above equally well, but a reasonable talented person ought to at least be able to cover a couple of genres.



              Unaccompanied and talented, versatile solo performers seem to be more and more of a rarity and IMO that will work in their favor, as they differentiate themselves from the vast majority taking the BT route- to the point they will eventually be a curiousity, a quaint relic of an earlier age, a harbour for the increasing numbers of the populace who suffer from technology-overload. Eventually they will be shellacked and placed as exhibits in museums.



              Enough of this bloviating! Somebody put up some samples of their solo stuff, please! (peeps on this forum seem to be rather shy of doing that, for some reason).

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              • #8
                One of the biggest reasons that this debate, or discussion, keeps coming up here is because of the judgmental nature of people. And it's on both sides of this position. People think of backing tracks as cheating because it makes them feel superior to those who use them, which is judgmental. People who use backing tracks use them primarily because they feel it makes them sound better, and look at those who don't use them as being snobs - again, being judgmental. It's human nature.



                The debate about "pure" art is a big common thread in all aspects of music. I sort of think it's funny that someone playing a cover on an acoustic guitar for a small group of people is bagging on anyone at all. My friends who are all original call that "being a human juke box" and they look down on it. No matter who you are or what you do in music, there will be people who look down on you. You can't control that. But there will also be people you look down on. You CAN control that. It is usually something that comes with age, but not always.



                When a performer does a gig, there are two perspectives that matter - that of the audience, and that of the performer. If a performer hates backing tracks but the audience loves them, the performer is making a sacrifice in order to please the audience. If the performer hates "Piano Man" but plays it anyway, same thing. How distasteful the performer finds the backing tracks or the song selections is balanced against how strongly they want to please their audience - assuming the audience wants to hear backing tracks and Piano Man, so to speak. How much the audience likes the performance, as well as how big the audience is... these are factors that normally determine the money involved. To make the most money, you would play the music with the most appeal to the audience, in the fashion that they would most want to hear.



                As to whether most audience members would rather hear straight acoustic performances or backing track enhanced performances... I don't have any data to answer that question. My instinct is to say that by having backing tracks available would enable one to satisfy both types of audiences.



                So is using backing tracks "cheating?" Depends on the definition. Cheating the audience? If the audience wants and expects them, then no. If the backing tracks are being used covertly, then yes. Cheating from a pure artistic standpoint? Sure. So is using effects, or a microphone for that matter. In the world of audio recording, it's ALL cheating. Multiple takes and Autotune are two ways of cheating via varying degrees.



                But degrees matter. So each person weighs all of the decisions and comes up with a strategy that is best for them. So I don't like the word cheating because it's judgmental and in the strictest sense we all "cheat." Even those who write their own music are often just subconsciously lifting melodies from their heroes.



                NOW... if I am at a function and a musician is playing music that sounds horrible to me, I will leave if I possibly can. AND, like stunningbabe, there are very few amateurs who can play just acoustic guitar and sing and keep me interested for more than 20 minutes. So I would not tell someone with awful sounding tracks that they are cheating - but I might tell them that the tracks sound terrible and it ruins the performance, if I were to say anything at all.



                I've been awestruck by a single performer with a guitar (Jonatha Brooke, if anyone wants to know.) I'm glad she didn't use backing tracks. So I would speculate that the better player and singer and songwriter a performer is, the more they can create a stunning musical performance with just their guitar and voice.
                <div class="signaturecontainer">---<br />
                Richard MacLemale<br />
                <a href="http://www.richardmac.com" target="_blank">My Website at www.richardmac.com</a></div>

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                • #9
                  huh!didn't mean to hurt anyones feelins here.also yeah way2def "strumming and campfire songs get old after a few tunes.i play form doc watson ,fingerstyle to kebmo type of music.wish icould post my solo stuff here but i don't know how.

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                  • #10






                    Quote Originally Posted by way2def
                    View Post

                    Yes, I agree it's pretty monotonous to hear a strum-around-the-campfire type git player play all night. I listened to a local (no BT's) harmonica/vox/guitar duo some time ago and the quarter-note strums got old pretty fast. But if a guitar player is accomplished and versatile enough to mix styles like Travis-picking, classical-style fingerpicking (ala Fingerpicker here), flamenco, jazz standards with full chords, bluegrassy alternating bass with strums, etc., they aren't going to bore anybody- musicians or no IMO. Not saying ANYBODY can do all of the above equally well, but a reasonable talented person ought to at least be able to cover a couple of genres.



                    Unaccompanied and talented, versatile solo performers seem to be more and more of a rarity and IMO that will work in their favor, as they differentiate themselves from the vast majority taking the BT route- to the point they will eventually be a curiousity, a quaint relic of an earlier age, a harbour for the increasing numbers of the populace who suffer from technology-overload. Eventually they will be shellacked and placed as exhibits in museums.



                    Enough of this bloviating! Somebody put up some samples of their solo stuff, please! (peeps on this forum seem to be rather shy of doing that, for some reason).




                    I think you should bloviate some more, because I agree with everything you just said!



                    I have a medley of songs on the front page of my website that is what I sound like live - it is a medley of 4 songs. The first two are me playing keyboards and singing, the third is me with guitar and backing tracks, and the fourth is me playing guitar and singing. They're all covers. There's a link on my site to my bandcamp page, where I've got three original CD's. I know that Pat has links to his music on his website, too.
                    <div class="signaturecontainer">---<br />
                    Richard MacLemale<br />
                    <a href="http://www.richardmac.com" target="_blank">My Website at www.richardmac.com</a></div>

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                    • #11
                      Yes, I think it's up to the individual. It is a pet peeve of mine hearing a guy play the same way all night long. I have worked hard for 42 years playing acoustic guitar and have tried to cultivate a wide range of styles- from Merle Travis and Chet Atkins to delta blues to a fingerstyle folk to complex rhythm strumming. I am very conscious of mixing it up and not being monotonous. I really, really enjoy the challenge of taking a song, stripping it down to it's most basic and raw elements and seeing if I can pull it off. I should add that I'm not a solo act substitution for a band, I'm a listening-type performer playing venues where the tables come right up to the stage. Backing tracks wouldn't serve a purpose for me because I'm selling the songs themselves, not my act.



                      But I also know there are some great singers who are not as accomplished on guitar who may benefit from backing tracks. I've heard some that sounded awesome. And if they're playing in a tavern or bar where it gets loud and rowdy, I would think tracks might be a must in some of them. Bottom line, an artist has to find what works for them and as long as tracks don't cross the line into being karoake, it doesn't bother me. Vive la difference, I say.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.patcoast.com" target="_blank">http://www.patcoast.com</a><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot;The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio.&quot;-<i>Christhee68</i></font><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot; the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep.&quot;-<i> FitchFY</i></font></div>

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I can list local guys who will bore you that play stripped down as well as play with tracks. I dont think it has anything to do with if you use tracks or not.

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                        • #13






                          Quote Originally Posted by fingerpicker
                          View Post

                          I can list local guys who will bore you that play stripped down as well as play with tracks. I dont think it has anything to do with if you use tracks or not.




                          I Agree. As much as there are good ones around...there are also bad ones. Backing tracks or not.

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                          • #14
                            if the venue has "acoustic singles or duos", then thats what people expect to listen to.

                            if the venue has small bands, singles or duos that use backing tracks, the people expect to listen to that.



                            personly, i make 5x more money using backing tracks. funny, it should be the other way around because its harder to pull off a GREAT acoustic only act. i make sure thru the night i play a few songs with no BTs just to quiet the nay sayers that think i need my BTs to perform.



                            problem is, there are a lot of piss poor acoustic acts that are hurting the other good ones at making any good money. they come in and play for tiddly winks and tips and the owners get use to paying nothing for that kind of act. when a good one comes along, the owner still wont pay more for him because he knows there are 10 more guitar players waiting to play for nothing at his venue. hell, there are even acoustic solos playing at Hooters down here. they make $50/nite plus whatever tips they can make. they hire acoustic only and you perform for 4 hours (7-11pm). most are just strummers and sing the songs. every song sounds like the next song. zzzzzz



                            i'm sorry, but my days of making squat as a soloist are long gone. i love playing music, but i also want to make a good living doing it.



                            so the bottom line is,... i make more money using BTs. doing an acoustic only act around here (southwest florida) doesnt pay crap. this has to be the hotspot for solos and duos in the whole country. they are a dime a dozen down here. everyone of them want to be the next buffett. they all play for nothing just so they can say they play for a living. you have to do something special to rise above the mountain of low budget musicians around here. once you make yourself a nitch that nobody else can duplicate, then the money and jobs improve and you become in demand. thankfully, i can say i found my nitch.
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                            • #15






                              Quote Originally Posted by leftyjay
                              View Post



                              so the bottom line is,... i make more money using BTs. doing an acoustic only act around here (southwest florida) doesnt pay crap. this has to be the hotspot for solos and duos in the whole country. they are a dime a dozen down here. everyone of them want to be the next buffett. they all play for nothing just so they can say they play for a living. you have to do something special to rise above the mountain of low budget musicians around here. once you make yourself a nitch that nobody else can duplicate, then the money and jobs improve and you become in demand. thankfully, i can say i found my nitch.




                              I can't agree more :-)

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