Thursday, January 31, 2008

How to Make a Backing Track for Whole Lotta Love

I have written several posts on the value of backing tracks and how to make your own. I just finished making one for Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and thought I would list the settings.

Making your own backing tracks is simply a matter of using guitar cancelling software to deemphasize the lead guitar on your favorite songs and recording the result. I use the guitar cancellation features in the TASCAM Guitar Trainer, a must have unit for anyone wanting to make maximum progress in minimal time. I have depicted the connection path above; line out from the CD-GT1MKII to the line in of the M-Audio soundcard to the recording software (Ableton Live in this case). The links included in this post will provide background for more details.

I’m using Led Zeppelin II Atlantic 82633-2 produced in 1994 for this example and Jimmy Page’s lead guitar work is panned left for the intro and verse sections of the piece and panned right for the solo. The cancellation settings on the CD-GT1MKII are as follows:

-Intro and Verse – CNCL:ON, PART:L 9, RNGE:ALL, MONO:OFF, SPLT:OFF.
-Solo – CNCL:ON, PART:R 9, RNGE:ALL, MONO:OFF, SPLT:OFF
-I turn cancellation off altogether for the Theremin section.

Keep in mind that while good, the cancellation software is not great and this is also a digital to analog conversion. This will not be a professional sounding backing track but it will be a great practice aid. It would be great and likely profitable if the recording industry issued backing tracks from their back catalogs.

The reason this is such a great practice aid is that if you do not cancel out the guitar parts you are trying to emulate, you can delude yourself into thinking your prowess is greater than it really is. For example, on "Whole Lotta Love", Jimmy will never miss a lick, no matter how many times you play along with him. But, your mileage may vary. It is a whole lot better if the guitar part is cancelled so you can hear all of your clams in their glory so you can continue to improve. Also, don't forget to record yourself when playing against the backing track you've made.

In my example I record backing tracks in Ableton Live. If I want to record myself along with the backing track it is simply a matter of arming another track for recording and playing along. Later on, I can apply some critical listening to the mix of my recorded track and the backing track. While not always pleasant it will always be illuminating for you.

>>Related Articles
Backing Tracks: How to Make Your Own
How to Make Your Own Backing Tracks and Transfer LPs to MP3 Format
Learn to Play Guitar: Secret Shortcuts for Baby Boomers

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