Sunday, December 9, 2007

Backing Tracks: How to Make Your Own

Guitar Hero III players know how much fun it is to play along with your favorite songs given they are now using the original recordings. Playing Guitar Hero gave me the idea to create similar play along tracks for the real guitar.

Any reader of my blog knows by now that I am a fan of the TASCAM Guitar Trainer; a must have piece of gear if you want to improve rapidly. As an aging wannabe rocker I use any advantage I can get. One great feature of the trainer is its Guitar Cancel feature, which enables you to cancel out the guitar on a CD so you can play along. I use this feature to create backing tracks for myself like in Guitar Hero.

You need the guitar trainer; I have the CD-GT1MKII although there is now a newer model out. You also need recording software for your PC or MAC that will accept a line-in signal. This could be as simple as the line-in on your sound card or a USB sound card you add on. All you need to do is run a cable from the line-out on the trainer to the line-in on your sound card.

The TASCAM Trainer has settings for that portion of the stereo region you wish to cancel out as well as fine tuning for the frequency range to reduce. Next step is to review the track you wish to use as your backing track and experiment on it with the cancellation settings. When you have the result you are looking for, it is time to record.

Use your recording software’s features to activate record mode and hit play on the TASCAM. You may need to experiment a bit here with the output level of the TASCAM and the input levels of your recording software to get a strong level without overdriving the input.

In many cases, the stereo region you want to cancel out changes within a song, it is really dependent on what the artist and the recording engineers were going for. What I do in this case is either change the guitar cancel settings on the fly to get one track on my recording software or record each portion of the original track with the appropriate cancel settings so I can connect them back together in my recording software.

The final step I add is to record a count-in at the correct tempo so I can attach it to the beginning of the track and voila; a backing track! You do not get the clam sound though if you miss a note or lick like in Guitar Hero; working on that next.

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Sydney said...

I accidentally stumbled upon your blog and saw this article about how to create my own backing track with the Tascom Trainer. I had no idea such a thing existed to do such an amazing thing!!!!

I ran out and bought a mp3 version of the trainer and can't wait to try it out. Thanks so much for writing about it!

VintageP said...

One of the best tools ever!

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