Pleez Help Me Clarify What Software I Need

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by littlegreendots, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. I am a guitar teacher and want to get some software I can use to make some 'jam tracks' with which students can explore soloing. I'm not looking for anything fancy, just a simple background, a little rock group or blues combo.

    Though I have an lexicon Alpha whatever you call this unit for inputting music into my computer, and a modest EV mike (I paid about $110 for it), I am not so interested in recording as I am in patching something together. Years ago I owned a Boss DR-770 Drum machine and that really had the features I wanted, with built in patches of sound in a variety of styles, and all the elements could be modified to my liking.

    I've been looking at programs like Sony Acid, Cakewalk Music Creator and they seem more geared to recording than patching. I don't have a lot of money to sink into this project and can't afford to buy extra sound loops.

    Can anybody suggest a modestly priced program that will do what I want? I'm really unfamiliar with music software other than notation software.

  2. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Not sure you want to absolutely create your own, or just have some tracks...but you may consider searching "free jam tracks", "free backing tracks", etc. to see if there is anything you could use. They'll probably just be MP3s with maybe simple bass, drums and possibly keyboard sounds, but may work for backing tracks.

    If you download the free Audacity multi-track audio recording program, and install an MP3 codec (it tells you what and how on the Audacity website), you can open MP3 backing tracks in it, and even change keys, to a point. (Too far sounds bad).

    Otherwise, you'll need to get something that you can use loops in easily. There may be free loops available for the searching.

    Maybe even a combo of both?

  3. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
    Home Page:
    When I had need for what you're asking about I used a Digitech pedal called the RP3 which was loaded with like 30 drum patterns. You select the drum pattern, then just turn a knob until you find the right BPM (Beats Per Minute). I've also seen small groups with no drummer play live with those things and do some interesting stuff.

    Anyway, even the cheapest Digitech floor pedals have like 60 drum patterns to chose from now or you can create your own loops...pedals like the RP155 for around $99. You can take them anywhere, change the drum pattern on the fly, blah blah blah. Here's an example at Sweetwater.

    YouTube - Digitech RP155 Modeling Guitar Processor - Videoinstructional (drum feature at 6:36)
    YouTube - Digitech rp155 (looper) improvisation
    YouTube - free style loops - Jugando con mi digitech rp-155
    YouTube - having fun with my new digitech rp155
  4. rohr

    rohr Guest

    Sounds like you want something like Band-in-a-Box. Try a demo of it at the link.

    You just need to try things and see what is right for you.

    PG Music Inc. - Band-in-a-Box
  5. Thanks for the input. As for the first suggestion to just find tracks online, I am a professional teacher and need to create my own materials. Drums are not enough. Yeah, I'm thinking Band-in-a-Box would be the answer. I tried a few programs (Sony Acid Studio, a few others) and none seemed what I want. However, I looked at Band-in-a-Box and it looks good. I couldn't find a demo version. Thanks for the link (assuming it works.)

    The only thing I'm worried about with BIAB is that I'll have to buy more software samples. I hope not.

    A friend told me about a free program called REAPER. I haven't checked it out yet.

    Anybody know this one?

    OOPZ...that's the same site where I couldn't locate a demo version. They have lists of features and videos showing what it does, but no hand's-on offers. If I missed it, please tell me where it is on that site.
  6. dave_p

    dave_p Active Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    maudio session. 50 dollars, will do what you want fast and easy. has a bunch of audio and midi loops that come with it. will you be the next timbaland? no. will you be able to cobble together some tracks, hell yes.
  7. Wanna here my noisy sob story with trying to get audio software doing something on my computer?

    I bought a KeyStudio M-Audio keyboard a while back, and it came with Sessions software. When I tried to install the software, I got this error message:

    OpenGL Error
    wglGetProcAddress(\"wglGetExtensionsStringARB\") failed with error 127: The specified procedure
    could not be found. Updating your video card driver, with the latest driver from the manufacturer
    of your video card, may solve this issue.

    It was a brand new computer and while I didn't have a fancy soundcard, it was at least minimally functional. I use slow down music software all the time and it works just ducky. So...that issue was never resolved, even though I sent numerous emails to M Audio. I use Windows XP, and that is listed on the software as compatable with Sessions.

    I also have a Lexicon Alpha, so I can input electric guitar into my computer. I got the hardware going, but I had a bugger of a time registering the CuBase LE 4. The registration process was strange. I never did get into the forum to get help. And recently I tried to register for the Lexicon forum and I get an error message back that says for no explained reason my email address won't be accepted. It's a Gmail account, which I would think is pretty common. I called Lexicon and they had no explanation and thought I shouldn't have trouble, but that is still unresolved and Ican't get into the group.

    I also have Cakewalk Music Creator 3. And Finale 2009. And Audacity. (I discovered that Reaper is not freeware. I had mentioned it earlier.)

    This is all legal stuff, all registered.

    Can I create 'jam tracks' with any of this soft/hard-ware without sinking more money into the project? I'm looking to make simple generic background sounds which will be used by students to practice soloing. I suspect most of what I already have is geared more to recording than taking samples and creating a thin wall of sound. Could part of my problem here be that I need a more efficient sound card, and if so, what do I look for? I have a Dell Precision T3400 business computer.
  8. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    lgd wrote"I also have a Lexicon Alpha, so I can input electric guitar into my computer. I got the hardware going, but I had a bugger of a time registering the CuBase LE 4."

    While you seem to have a plethora of software these two items should be completely sufficient to create some "jam tracks" providing you get some drum loops to use as backing. I would suggest you get something in the way of a drum track that is fairly complete as you seem to be a little daunted by the more technical aspects of recording and I don't mean that badly. There are many places to download tracks here is one
    Buy drum beats, download drum loops and drum tracks played by real drummers. Throw the beats down.
    which I have no personal experience with. The reason I chose this site is that the files are already in .wav format which is what Cubase uses, this will avoid you having to convert files which is not really complicated I am just trying to streamline the steps. You will need to set up your project with a similar bit and and sample rate as the drum tracks and then simply record your guitar and or bass line onto another track over the drums, mix, export to .wma file in XP and then convert to whatever format your students use, though most likely that is MP3.

    Using the Lexicon and Cubase you are not utilizing the soundcard at all so no reason to worry about it. When recording you should be using a second hard drive but with only one track at time you may be able to record with one. Try it and if you are having problems ask some specific questions and someone here can probably help it is nigh impossible to bring someone step by step through this entire process without them doing the homework. What you are doing is extremely simple so don't feel overwhelmed and good luck.
  9. Oopzz...I gave you the wrong impression listing what I have. I bought this gear for various projects, but not necessarily for the project on hand, my reason for posting this thread. What I really want to do is not build a sound file from the ground up, but with pre-made sounds. I literally want to cut/paste/copy music. I have no idea what programs do this. I used to own a Boss Drum Machine (I forget which model, but it was priced around $400) that was basically a four track and I could program individual music tracks (253 built-in instrument sounds), plus it was loaded with pre-made samples, patches of sound. I could take these samples and use as is, or go in and change any element of it, mute tracks, change the key, even change the melodic structure. Then I took these and pasted together a standard song structure. That is exactly what I'm looking to do. I don't want to 'compose' jam tracks, just kick out something simple for my students to use while practicing. In fact, I specifically want a generic, non-descript background, nothing to distract them from trying out scales over chords.

    If there was a program that did all that the Boss drum machine did, I'd be really happy. But I get the feeling that with programs like Band in a Box, you have the patches of sound you drop in, but you really can't modify them, customize them, I mean. I'm still thinking, even with inferior sounds, that BIAB might be closest to what I want.
  10. dave_p

    dave_p Active Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    session wil let you do exactly what you want, cut paste copy stretch etc music loops. it comes with lierally thousands of decent sounding loops. they are sorted by genre and related in ways that allows you to mix and match. you can create unique things with pre made loops.

    i have the session keystudio as well, and an alpha with cubase. i have had no issues with either. registering cubase is not hard as long as you follow the instructions to the letter, in the right order. once installed, cubase is powerful software. has a bit of a learning curve. session on the other hand is extremely intuitive. i would try again.

    between the two as jg49 stated, you have plenty of stuff to achieve what you want. throwing more software at the problem is not your solution i think. a little patience and perseverance is all you need.

    session does have steep system requirements for what it is, i will give you that.
  11. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    I don't know anything 'bout bandaids in a box. You really want to spend time putting together bland midi tracks for students? Here just download them from over 3000 including popular songs for the teenage through thirty heavy metal wannabees Free Guitar Backing Tracks @
  12. thealexbaron

    thealexbaron Active Member

    Sep 7, 2008
    Provo, UT
    Home Page:
    Garageband may be the right thing for you!

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