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  #1  
Old 10-30-2017, 01:41 PM
ChapinFan ChapinFan is offline
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Default What's your Workflow for a simple Guitar backing track?

So, I want to make some backing tracks for my band to practice to.

I lay down a simple drum loop using garage band (because I know how to use it) and it is a steady beat -- 120 BPM 4/4 time.

Now I want to lay down a rhythm guitar track to help hear the beat.

And here is where I about lose my mind.

What I would love to do is have a guitar loop creator like I do for the drums. Set up strum pattern, and tell it when to change chords, and let some sound loop do the "stay perfectly in beat" job. But I can't find that. (I see all kinds of ways to play a guitar sound with a keyboard, but that's not what I need. If I want to "play a guitar-like sound", I will just play a guitar and let it make sound.)

But recording my guitar seems tremendously complicated.

My Macbook is sort of low end, so I don't want to use it for recording and playing. I play the drumtrack through the mac, but I want to record on a different computer. (or a different something.)

I have a PreSonus AudioBox 1818VSL. The AudioBox is attached to an Asus Laptop. Pretty good specs though, it is one of their high end gaming systems. The AudioBox's Main out is fed into a Yamaha Analog mixer which is running an EV speaker set.

How do I record the guitar in? I hear it through the speakers fine. But how do I record it?

I try to set up a simple Audacity session on the Asus laptop. I open the audio settings and it seems impossibly complicated now that the AudioBox is in the mix. There are all kinds of options, none of them seem to be what I want.

Frustrated, I decide to run an audio out of the Yamaha mixer to the import jack of another computer (an Alienware R14 -- this thing is a beast.) And I can barely get it to record. The volume seems incredibly low. I can boost the input on my Alienware R14, but now I am picking up noise.

This seems like it should be really easy to do... but things here are complicated. I spend hours unplugging this and putting in that, and click this button on the Yamaha, or try this setting on the AudioBox... and at the end of the day, no dice.

What do you use? Are you recording a simple audiofile in Audacity, or Adobe Audition? Or are you bringing it right into a DAW?
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Old 10-30-2017, 02:12 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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Are you using a mic to record the guitar or a direct feed from the pickup?

Honestly, I'd keep this simple and record into GarageBand. If your Mac is even somewhat recent it's more than powerful enough for this. You may want to record to an external drive...or not. Depends on how much space you have on your boot drive. But that's about as complicated as you should need to get.

Honestly, trying to get things from the Mac into a 2nd computer is just making the process unnecessarily complicated IMO.
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  #3  
Old 10-30-2017, 08:52 PM
ChapinFan ChapinFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DupleMeter View Post
Are you using a mic to record the guitar or a direct feed from the pickup?

Honestly, I'd keep this simple and record into GarageBand. If your Mac is even somewhat recent it's more than powerful enough for this. You may want to record to an external drive...or not. Depends on how much space you have on your boot drive. But that's about as complicated as you should need to get.

Honestly, trying to get things from the Mac into a 2nd computer is just making the process unnecessarily complicated IMO.
Taking it from the pickup to the Aura Pedal as a direct in, and then want to come into the computer.

The things with the Macbook is that about every fifth or sixth time I go to play the garage band track, I get an error message pop up to the effect of: "Could not handle all of the audio." or something like that, and everything stops. I reset it and try again. Sometimes it runs. Sometimes it doesn't. So, if I can't always play reliably, it seems that trying to record and play is just asking for trouble... But IDK.
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Old 10-31-2017, 07:14 AM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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Perhaps best to start over . You might want to list your actual system/s specs and signal flow

Also try to talk and post in specific technical adjective terms and specifications rather than casual adjectives (low end , pretty good, and, a beast ) are far to vague, what are the actual basic specs like bus speed, ram speed and size , and drive size etc. ? The reason I am saying this is the error message on the mac seems very strange, all thing being equal and no other issues or back ground it should be able to play one audio track in GB without any overload issues.
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Old 11-01-2017, 11:12 AM
rdm321 rdm321 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChapinFan View Post
The things with the Macbook is that about every fifth or sixth time I go to play the garage band track, I get an error message pop up to the effect of: "Could not handle all of the audio." or something like that, and everything stops. I reset it and try again. Sometimes it runs. Sometimes it doesn't. So, if I can't always play reliably, it seems that trying to record and play is just asking for trouble... But IDK.
I've had this problem, and there's a simple fix. Garageband has a feature that allows you to "lock" tracks during playback/recording. Locked tracks are played directly from the hard drive, rather than uploaded into RAM and then played. This frees up RAM space.
I normally lock most or all tracks. The only drawback is that locked tracks cannot be modified. If you want to change anything (volume, pan, effects etc) the track must be unlocked first.
I forget the sequence for the locking/unlocking process. Looking in the Help menu should find it.
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  #6  
Old 11-01-2017, 03:41 PM
alohachris alohachris is offline
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Default Aloha Chapin Fan

Aloha Chapinfan,

Excellent suggestions so far.

Yeah, I had that locking track/RAM issue with GB.

Fix: Move up to Logic Pro as soon as you can. To me, the workflows in Logic make sense & are easy. And you'll get so many choices. Logic & Pro Tools are the only professional DAW's found in every pro studio. Only $199. Just do it.

Second: When you can, trade in your MacBook & move up to a 21.5" (or wider) iMac w/ 8-16 gigs of RAM. Only use this computer for your music projects. Do not mix everyday computing with your music projects. This avoids lotsa little hassles. I haven't had a crash or error message in nine years using this approach, DAW & gear.

When you get a new Apple, you should also sign up for the Logic Pro "One on One" program (which you can get when you sign up for new Apple gear). For $99, you get as many free trainings in Logic in a calendar year as you'd like, at the store of your choice, with a certified Logic trainer. Totally demystifies Logic & cuts your learning curve by years. Can't beat it. I signed up for 56 trainings in one year & re-upped for the next year. Have the trainer show you how to easily add a guitar track.

Third: Do not store your projects on your computer. Use high quality external hard drives. Glyph's have the best lost data guarantees.

Adding a guitar track should be easy as pie. It is in Logic.

Good Luck, Chapinfan

alohachris

Last edited by alohachris; 11-01-2017 at 04:17 PM.
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  #7  
Old 11-01-2017, 11:44 PM
Guitar Slim II Guitar Slim II is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChapinFan View Post

How do I record the guitar in? I hear it through the speakers fine. But how do I record it?

I try to set up a simple Audacity session on the Asus laptop. I open the audio settings and it seems impossibly complicated now that the AudioBox is in the mix. There are all kinds of options, none of them seem to be what I want.
The other guys here are the experts, and they're great with the tech advice.

I've got some more general comments for you, though:

As people here are always reminding, ME: get to know your system better. Midi sequences and loops are completely different from audio tracks. You need to understand, first, how the audio is routed through your system; and second, how to properly set up an Audio track in your DAW: How to select the right inputs and outputs, check and set your signal level, etc.

Every DAW is different in this respect, and your audio interface will influence how it works also. Read your manuals and help files, go through some tutorials, maybe watch some YT videos about your specific DAW. The key for you, I think, is going to be understanding recording live audio -- and how it's different from sequencing and creating loops.

As a forum friend of mine used to say, "this ain't no plug and play!"
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  #8  
Old 11-02-2017, 09:12 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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It doesn't sound like you have a desire to create or tweak your own drum patterns and are not picky about your guitar chord voicings or even sounds from what you say. Recording software like Garageband or Logic allow a lot of freedom in that regard, but if you just want to practice or work out rough ideas those extra features may not be needed.

What you're describing wanting to do is something that a computer program called "Band In A Box" has been doing for years. It has lots of present drum patterns in different styles and you if want two bars of G, two bars of C, one bar of D and back to G etc, you can easily enter it into BIAB. I've mostly used an older version which plays MIDI notes, and MIDI guitar sounds aren't generally the best in the world, but the piano sounds are good and let you practice playing over chords. The newer versions of BIAB use actual sampled sounds and loops which sound more real for guitar sounds. The will also generate bass lines for your type in chord progression. MIDI bass sound often are decent, and certainly good enough for practice.

BIAB tech is used in the Digitech Trio and Trio + pedals. This is small stomp box sized pedal that you put between your guitar and amp or amp+PA. In the simplest scenario with the lower cost Trio, you stomp the switch, play your chords (simply! just simple strums work best) and stomp to stop. Stomp again and the unit's automatically generated bass and drums play to your chord progression (as expressed by the bass line, your guitar playing was only used to tell it what the chords were). With the slightly more expensive Trio+ you can also record those actual guitar strums and they loop back in time with the drums and bass that the Trio created for you. I find this a super-simple way to work out ideas, or just get 15 minutes of practice in.

Similarly, lots of "looper pedals" will just to the record a loop of you strumming chords on your guitar thing, some even add drums. The looping feature get added to lots of things these days too, like some amps and multi-effects units.
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