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Reduce your costs - why put a 6-piece
band together when you can get
the same sound from a 2 or
3-piece band


 

If you are a singer who is considering working with a live band, there are a few things you may want to bear in mind before you start putting a band together.

Before recruiting musicians for your band, think seriously about the cost! At the moment, you are probably pricing your gigs based on yourself (and maybe a partner) singing plus, say, a lighting technician/sound guy. But, will the venues you are going to work in be prepared to pay extra for a 6 piece band on top of this? Also, will you be able to find musicians to form a band who can actually play the songs you do (and more importantly, play them well)?

If you do decide that you want to put a band together, then here's a way you can do it which will make things easier and less expensive...

Backing Tracks AND a live band
Did you now that we can produce backing tracks with instruments removed? If not, have a look at our Custom Trax section of our website.

Let's say you found, say, two gutarists to form part of your band. We could produce your backing tracks without the guitar parts so there would just be drums, brass, strings, bass, keyboards etc left in. Your guitarists would then play "live" along with the backing track. You'd have a full band sound and it would sound very live because the guitars really are live.

This is an ideal way to get the sound of, say, an eight piece band but with only a couple of musicians.

Here's an example. We have a customer in the USA who are a 1980s music revival band (yes, that's right, glitter suits with rolled up jacket sleeves and mullet hair-dos!). They are a four-piece band (drums, bass, two guitars) and they buy all their backing tracks for their show from us. We produce the tracks specially for them by keeping all the keyboard and synth parts on the tracks but leave out the bass, guitars and drums (which they will be playing themselves).

We put a click-track on the left-hand stereo channel which they route to their drummers headphones (so that he can count the band in and keep time), while the right-hand channel contains all the music (minus the drums, bass and guitars of course). The right-hand channel then gets piped through their PA system.

The result is the drummer, the two guitarists and the bass player sound like a 10 piece band...and it sounds completely live, even though only part of it is.

So, before you start to put a band together, think about how many musicians you need (or can afford). It isn't always necessary to have 6, 8, or 10 musicians in order to a gig "live". Very few modern artists play totally live nowadays anyway.

For example, lights and pyrotechnics etc have to be syncronized (usually via midi) so some sort of click track is usually in place. You don't honestly believe that when your favourite superstar kicks his leg in the air during a concert and a firework explodes exactly in time with the leg kick, that there is some little guy sitting to the side of the stage pushing a button at that precise moment do you? No, that's not how it works - the stage show is completely computerized and sequenced so that these effects "happen" at just the exact time.

Here's how you can usually tell - just look at the drummer at a live concert - you'll probably see him sitting behind his drum kit wearing a pair of headphones. This is so that he can keep time with the click-track and ensure that the effects and light changes happen at the correct time (and any pre-recorded music which is not being played by the band stays in time with everything else.

Using a house band
You may find from time to time when you arrive at a venue, they will not allow pre-recorded music, nor do they let you use your own band (ie you have to work with the "house band").

In situations like this, it is recommended that you always carry a supply of sheet music. There are two ways to obtain sheet music for your act. One is to buy it off-the-shelf (inexpensive) and the other is to have it written by an arranger exactly as you sing it (more expensive).

If you do songs a little bit different from the original then you may have to commission your music to be specially written for you, but for most acts, off-the-shelf sheet music will suffice and a good band should always be able to follow slight deviations from the original (as long as you warn them in advance that is)!

We have recently affiliated with a company in the USA to supply off-the-shelf downloadable sheet music which is excellent, yet very inexpensive (see our music sheets section for more info).

 

Kenny Backing Track Signature

Article Written by Kenny Campbell
(This article cannot be reproduced without express permission)


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