Need Help With Equipping My One Man Band. Sequencer? MIDI? Something Else?


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I am a guitarist from the old school who plays 40'-60's country and pop. Gigs are paying so little these days I am stripping down to a one-man-band. I have never understood keyboard technology, but I think the time has come. I'll try and explain what I want to do and hopefully some knowledgeable people on this Forum can steer me in the right direction.

I want to play to recorded tracks with live vocals and guitar.
I want to start songs with a footswitch
I want to have a variety of backing tracks including backup vocals, strings, horns, etc. I don't care about effects or the ability to tweak them.

Here's a tricky part: Ideally, I would use a drummer to make my drum tracks using V-drums. I have used drum machines, but I can't get them to sound natural at all and I would rather have a live drummer's tracks. Would we use the MIDI out from the V-drums and import the MIDI files into a sequencer?

Am I going to be playing everything back from a sequencer, which will be like a tape machine playing the backing tracks? Will I record backing vocals straight into the sequencer?

Do I need a keyboard for a sequencer? I would only need the keys to play the horn/string parts so ideally it will be small. I want to keep my setup to a minimum. Do I need some kind of software to record to, or will a keyboard sequencer work for that?

Do I have to record to a click track?

Thanks for the help if you read this far!!!!
 
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What a question!

Probably the first place to start is to ask you questions.

How PC literate are you?

Can you use a DAW?

You can use a dedicated drum machine but then for backing rytham section that is another matter.

Then there is the question if what you want to transport around with you?

What is your maximum budget?

Meanwhile can I suggest that you visit Youtube and type in Korg Video Manual PA700, you will then get about 7 short videos to watch, do watch them in sequence a couple of times.

This will give you an idea of what a Keyboard Arranger will do.

Now do the same thing but type in Korg Kross 2 and again watch the videos a couple of times.

This will then give you an idea of what a workstation/synth will do for you.

I am not suggesting that either of these will be the solution for your needs its just that these series if video tutorials are far better than Yamaha or Roland ones in their presentation and learning workflow.

To give an example I can create a series of up to 14 second backing loops on my Kross and call them up on my sequencer pads whenever I want, I can also create a drum track or just call up a preset one, or simply play a WAV file backing track.
 
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What a question!

Probably the first place to start is to ask you questions.

How PC literate are you?

I have formerly used Pro Tools, but not in a bunch of years. I am somewhat Mac literate. I could figure out a program like Garage Band or something similar, but I wasn't thinking that was the direction I'd go.

Can you use a DAW?

My 11yr old son has a Roland Juno that I have played with. I tried creating a drum track and it sounded fake and mechanical for the stuff I am doing. I think I could figure one out, but I don't want to get something that has way more features than I need.

You can use a dedicated drum machine but then for backing rytham section that is another matter.

When you say I can use a dedicated drum machine do you mean I could create MIDI drum files on a V-drumset and load them into a dedicated drum machine? I know my Alesis SR-16 has a MIDI in. But I want a full drum part, not just a couple patterns as well as synced rhythm section, etc.

Then there is the question if what you want to transport around with you?

I want it as compact as possible and it's really critical because I lug around a little PA as well as my guitar and an amp.



What is your maximum budget?

Probably 1500

Thanks for the youtube video suggestions. I will give them a watch!

Meanwhile can I suggest that you visit Youtube and type in Korg Video Manual PA700, you will then get about 7 short videos to watch, do watch them in sequence a couple of times.

This will give you an idea of what a Keyboard Arranger will do.

Now do the same thing but type in Korg Kross 2 and again watch the videos a couple of times.

This will then give you an idea of what a workstation/synth will do for you.

I am not suggesting that either of these will be the solution for your needs its just that these series if video tutorials are far better than Yamaha or Roland ones in their presentation and learning workflow.

To give an example I can create a series of up to 14 second backing loops on my Kross and call them up on my sequencer pads whenever I want, I can also create a drum track or just call up a preset one, or simply play a WAV file backing track.
 
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Appologies for the typos, I either need new glasses or a larger iPad
 
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Appologies for the typos, I either need new glasses or a larger iPad
Thanks for those links Biggles. A lot of it didn't seem to address what I am trying to do, though. In my reading there seems to be a stigma attached to someone performing as a one-man-band with backing tracks. I don't really see any products aimed at what I am want to do, although it seems like there are probably many different ways I can achieve what I want to do. It's just finding the simplest that is difficult.

All of the searches I do talk about backing tracks with a live band-as a supplement to the whole band's live instruments where the drummer has a click and everything is synched to the click. Arranging keyboards seem geared to composers who want a lot of pre-recorded rhythm tracks and chord progressions to write to. I want to write my own everything. I don't want anything pre-recorded. I need something I can record tracks to like backups and acoustic guitar.

DAW's seem like they can almost do anything but I can't see where I can start the track with a footswitch and they seem overly complicated. Plus, I didn't enjoy trying to write a drum track on my kid's Roland Juno at all! Zillions of menus and options I had to scroll through that had no relevance to me.

And the majority of what I am finding when I search one-man-band are people doing EDM or some type of progressive music using loops. I don't need to loop anything I don't think.
 
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You mentioned the all important J word.

I believe that the Juno will do what you want.

If you are not into using said keyboard then I beleive the expression is that you are screwed.

You can also do it with a whole raft of standalone kit but that then becomes very messy and very complex to set up with all your songs.

Creae your own backing tracks, even if you have to give your drummer mate a few crates of beer, get him to do the rythm as you want and record them.

Then you can spend hours on a DAW putting it all together.

There is no easy way.

Finally an Arranger keyboard, before you dismiss these out of hand are you aware that you can create your own Style, save that Style to a single Song, then create Setlist's. Once done all your repotoire is there ready to call up and to use as you want, then performing will be far easier. My own Arranger even has a stereo 25W amp and speakers inbuilt and the ability to feed a guitar into the keyboard.
 
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happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
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Perhaps you should take a look at the Native Instruments Maschine. I think it can handle everything you ask for including swing and shuffle timing.


Gary ;)
 
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Why not check out karaoke-version.com Custom Backing Tracks? You can custom mix your tracks and most of them sound great. AND you can use them immediately, they play just like any other MP3.
 
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I want to play to recorded tracks with live vocals and guitar.
I want to start songs with a footswitch
I want to have a variety of backing tracks including backup vocals, strings, horns, etc. I don't care about effects or the ability to tweak them.
https://www.karaoke-version.com/

I wouldn't even bother with a keyboard.

EDIT: Didn't see Doug's post immediately above before I typed this. Clearly we agree.
 
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