Band-In-A-Box - or alternatives?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by stu42, Dec 5, 2005.


  1. stu42

    stu42 Member

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    I found an ad near the back of a recent guitar mag I was reading about this software called Band In A Box. I checked out the website (http://www.band-in-a-box.com/) and it looks like it would be a great resource for, among other things, learning and practicing new ideas and techniques as well as acting as a music writing aide. I figure it could also be handy for helping in the recording process to some extent.

    Has anyone used this and how do you find it? The website and demos look great but I suspect there are some downsides that they're not advertising. Then again, for the price it still looks like a good tool.

    Are there other alternatives that are similar/better?

    Thanks.
     
  2. azgolfer

    azgolfer Member

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    It is an awesome program. The only downside is that it doesn't have as much standard rock and blues stuff as it should. The jazz stuff is great, though and the addons for blues are good. If you want to hear some of the cheesiest blues bass lines you've ever heard, just check out the blues in the basic package. On the other hand, type in the ||Em9 | A13|| Fmaj7 | G13|| ||Ebmaj7| F#13 B7#9|Em9|Em9|| and Popball3 for the style and you've got a great backing for Riviera Paradise, where you can change the key and tempo at will.
     
  3. rotren

    rotren Member

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    I certainly recommend it as a practice tool. It's great for practicing playing over key changes and stuff like that. I must say I don't like the interface much though, but it does the job.
     
  4. stu42

    stu42 Member

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    Cool. Thanks guys. I went ahead and bought the latest version for Windows (2006) and upgraded their offer to a 16-pack so I'm hoping that will work out well for a start. I'm looking forward to typing in some cool chord changes and practicing soloing over them.

    I'm also looking forward to trying to apply some of the info I've read about chord substitutions in my chord chemistry book. That will be cool.
     
  5. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    It bugs me that they don't support odd times. 2005 still didn't have anything higher than 4/4 from what I recall. But like others have said, for working out over standards, it's a pretty handy tool (that's simple to use).

    Good luck with it.
     
  6. Strung Up

    Strung Up Member

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    Good buy. It's an almost indispensable tool for applying theory (without driving bandmates insane), and learning to blow/comp over different changes. Very easy to quickly 'key in' chord names, but the downside is that it is much more oriented to 'standard' harmonic rhythms. Great also to isolate sections of songs and loop ad infinitum while you practice stuff.

    If you're into jazz standards, there are several folks out on the net who've compiled several fakebooks into compressed .sg* and .mg* BIAB files for easy download.
     
  7. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    I use ACID Music. It's got a few more options than Band-in-a-Box and has more add-ons but it is a bit more difficult to use. It also is oriented more toward electronica although you can get good rock, country, a blues samples (for a price). Check out my Jam Tracks sig link for what I've done with it.
     
  8. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    BIAB 2004 and later supports odd time signatures.

    Plus you can chain meters together.

    It's an ok practicing tool but sounds a bit like a lame '70s wedding band to me.

    Jammer sounds better for rock styles but sucks for jazz.
     
  9. UnderTheGroove

    UnderTheGroove Supporting Member

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    I've got an old version of Jammer that I haven't been using much recently. The version I have allows odd times, but doesn't create parts that make sense in those times. Have they improved that with newer versions? I'm wondering if I would be better off switching over to BIAB, expecially for the jazz stuff.
     
  10. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I haven't tried to do odd time sigs in Jammer but it's jazz feel and note choices, chord voicings, etc., are really poor.

    BIAB has limited support for odd time sigs but it's better than nothing. If you want compound time sigs such as 4/4 + 3/8 (11/8) you're out of luck unless you like doing drum programming...At that point you're better off with a sequencing package.
     
  11. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Well I'll be! I hadn't even noticed.
     
  12. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Guitar Pro isn't bad for chaining compound meters. The sound pre GP5 sucks really bad, but GP5 has made a huge leap in native sounds. It's also got a nice tuplet feature that supports up to 13 over anything, though it's not quite as evolved as the one in Finale. I hear you can program weird nested polyrhythms into Finale, but I have yet to spend the time learning how to do it.
     
  13. stu42

    stu42 Member

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    Holy Crow! Thanks for the info about Guitar Pro and Jammer. I may have to look into them as well. As some of you have mentioned, BIAB, from what I've seen and heard from their website, doesn't sound very good for rock stuff but does sound pretty good for jazz.

    Definitely, experimenting with jazz stuff is a big part of what I want to do but I also play rock and blues so I'll have to check out the other applications as well.
     
  14. gearo999

    gearo999 Member

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    I have BIAB. Great tool but it sounds lame.

    Looking at a DR 880. Sounds great!
     
  15. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    Keep in mind a feature of BIAB is the ability to save as a midi file so you can re-edit and assign sounds via midi if you have a sequencing program to accompany it.


    That being said the stuctures are pretty limited and it takes a LOT of editing to reconstruct a song to my liking. OTOH it beats midi programming a whole tune if the style sheet is already close. Nuttin's perfect.
     
  16. azgolfer

    azgolfer Member

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    You can read in a midi file and then pull stuff out into styles. For instance, what I did for a friend learning bass, I downloaded "Hey Joe" from www.midi-tab.com and he can slow it down for learning. Also he can selectively turn the bass off, so he can play along with the rest. The interface, as usual with BIAB, is a little strange, but it works.
     

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