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Anyone play live alone/solo?

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  • Anyone play live alone/solo?

    Curious if anyone here plays guitar and sings and has backing tracks going as they play? what is the reaction and how is it?

  • #2
    BUMP

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    • #3
      Haven't used backing tracks but I have used a drum machine with solo guitar/vocals. It was clumsy and I quit. Reaction was mixed. Some pieces worked better than others. I still use a drum machine for practice, sort of a fancy metronome.
      The Preacher

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      • #4
        I play alone and with a duo. The only thing i do that may be construed as cheating is use a vocal harmonizer very subtley on a few songs.
        I will sometimes practice to a click track, but playing live to pre-recorded tracks is just one step up from karaoke IMHO.
        Website: www.donohoeandgrimes.com

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        • #5
          No "backing tracks" per se but I have been known on occasion to use a "looper" live for solo performances.

          I record the rhythm while I'm singing a verse, then loop it and solo over it... I can have a lot of fun building layers of loops and what not. I have the ability to loop vocals too, something I want to practice, because I think that would be hella cool.

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          • #6
            I love it! Been earning a consequential income doing just that for years. You must prove it all night, every night!

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            • #7
              Hi,

              I'm an English solo performer playing songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s, in pubs.

              I acompany myself on acoustic guitar (with no backing tracks). There is no "right" or "wrong" about this "backing tracks or not" issue -- its purely a matter of personal preference (for you and your audience).

              There is no doubt that certian songs are nigh-on impossible to put across convincingly without a full backup sound of drums and bass. That said, there are many hundreds of truly great songs that (with some competent guitar or piano accompanying a competent voice) will sound just fine without that sort of backing (Beatles, Dylan, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel, Kinks, Joni Mitchel, Neil Young, Jim Web, Bert Bacherach, Donavon, Buddy Holly, Willie Nelson, and many more ...)

              In my experience (and speaking to other musicians and agents) you may get more work using backing tracks, because a lot of audiences prefer the fuller sound you can get that way.

              For myself, though, I love the freedom and openess (and the challenge!) of just me and my guitar. And I would sooner play once a week doing that, than three times a week with backing tracks.

              I must say though that when backing tracks are used well the overall sound can be excellent -- it' s just not for me.

              My bottom-line advice then is this: if getting the most gigs as possible is important to you, then you are probably better of using backing tracks.

              David

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              • #8
                One of the reasons I use MIDI triggered events, guitar synth triggered events, foot controller triggered events etc. is that I often play larger rooms which also hire bands regularly and in which people expect to dance, and expect an entertaining presence and show and sound equal to or better than a band.

                No matter how accomplished one is a guitarist-singer, these bigger venues do not want a solo guitarist-singer.

                Local guitarist-singer solo acts are most often relegated to the small venues with low budgets and inconsistent bookings.

                If you wish to be a full time live local professional working musician and not a casual weekender with a day job then your success or failure will be dependant on what skill sets you learn and how well you enable them.

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                • #9
                  keano: I played a solo/acoustic gig for four years at a beach bar here. I did vocals and my Taylor thru a Fender Acoustasonic, Jr.

                  After a while, I added a Boomerang Phrase Sampler, which lets you lay down one or two loops(verse and chorus, maybe), and play them back, while you play and sing over them. After a bit of practice, you can get pretty good. The drawback is that there are no pre-recorded loops. You have to do them live, on-stage.

                  I added a drum machine to my arsenal, and found it difficult, but not impossible, to mesh the looper and the drum machine into a plausible performance.

                  Texas Jim

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                  • #10
                    I use an Electrix Repeater a much more flexible and versatile unit than the Boomerang Phrase Sampler for such purposes, albeit nothing is perfect you won't get that syncing feeling if you do it right.

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                    • #11
                      For myself, though, I love the freedom and openess (and the challenge!) of just me and my guitar. And I would sooner play once a week doing that, than three times a week with backing tracks.


                      Me too for sure. I play guitar, harmonica, sing, play a rhythm with my feet. Sometimes I use a drum machine, and VERY occasionally my "agent friend" will get me a high paying gig where I must use some tracks.
                      I really don't care for tracks but for the dance crowd you will need to have something to make you sound more like a full band. It's the cheese factor I don't care for.

                      Local guitarist-singer solo acts are most often relegated to the small venues with low budgets and inconsistent bookings.


                      Down here in Florida almost everyone uses tracks. Lots of old people down here who just don't care too much about if it's Kareoke sounding or not.
                      BUT---

                      I make a consistant living with very consistant bookings playing at many places where others mostly use tracks. So it can be done.
                      People come up to me each week and tell me how much they enjoy the music w/o all the bells and whistles. Of course you have to make your arrangements and song selection interesting.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by fingerpicker Me too for sure. I play guitar, harmonica, sing, play a rhythm with my feet. Sometimes I use a drum machine, and VERY occasionally my "agent friend" will get me a high paying gig where I must use some tracks. I really don't care for tracks but for the dance crowd you will need to have something to make you sound more like a full band. It's the cheese factor I don't care for.

                        Down here in Florida almost everyone uses tracks. Lots of old people down here who just don't care too much about if it's Kareoke sounding or not.
                        BUT---

                        I make a consistant living with very consistant bookings playing at many places where others mostly use tracks. So it can be done.
                        People come up to me each week and tell me how much they enjoy the music w/o all the bells and whistles. Of course you have to make your arrangements and song selection interesting.
                        Sounds great; just to confirm: are you then playing the same larger sized rooms as the bands play, and you play every week consistently in these larger rooms, and this is your sole source of income, and the patrons fill up the dance floor with just you and the guitar? I am duly impressed indeed!

                        BTW I do stuff with just me and the guitar when the environment is right and it

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                        • #13
                          I dont do a solo guitar act, but I do perform solo with backing tracks.

                          I have it setup so that the backing tracks pretty much plays the whole song. But, depending on the tracks, I take out a part so I can that live or I play something live over the backing tracks. It's kind of hard to sing, play synths, and move around all at the same time....so, its only bit parts I play live during some part of the song.

                          Considering I haven't played in front a real crowd (so far just shows at my college), the reaction from the crowd has been pretty good. I try to have good stage presence...which seems to be key. Cuz, if people enjoy the music and see that youre putting all you have into your performance...theyll like it.

                          Im gonna try and see how it works out this year when I won't be playing anything live and just singing to my backing tracks.

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                          • #14
                            I'm a keyboard player. As all the styles are already on board...I choose eg...a Cha- Cha or Disco style and play it 'live' while singing. Everything comes out from the Keyboard..none is pre -recorded...coz the Keyboard is essentially a one- man band...and all one needed to do is to be able to play it 'live'.

                            There are some backing tracks that I pre- recorded...like my back up vocals and some distorted guitar tracks that I play myself. Eg..'Smoke on the Water' and 'I love ROck and Roll'. Of course the former is now in another key that's for a girl's range.

                            I have no problem so far filling the dance floor with people though I'm alone on stage. There should be another key factor to winning people to the dance floor: Good choice of songs!.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Preacher Will
                              Haven't used backing tracks but I have used a drum machine with solo guitar/vocals. It was clumsy and I quit. Reaction was mixed. Some pieces worked better than others. I still use a drum machine for practice, sort of a fancy metronome.
                              I tried too, but didn't work for me. Too limited, no flexibility and sounded flat and dull. That's what I think whenever I hear a one-man-band (def: soloact w/backing). No matter how much investment in seq, modules, fancy sounds, midi setup they have. It always sound the same song after song.

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