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Unread 07-17-2014, 06:13 PM   #1
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Backing Tracks

Anyone have experience with playing in a praise band with backing tracks? I am fairly new on our team and the leadership has been playing with this new toy. I'm a pretty "whatever works" kinda guy, but this seems like one step from just playing a youtube video on the screen and worship with that. Is this common practice?

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Unread 07-18-2014, 07:23 AM   #2
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So would it be like loops or like playing the Super Bowl? Where you are up there playing instruments, but nothing is plugged in?
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Unread 07-18-2014, 07:52 AM   #3
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I'd be hesitant to do so, personally. They're by definition unresponsive and unable to change on the fly. Plus, if your setup isn't really spectacular (instrumentation and microphones), the polished backtrack will sound off clashing with your rig.

What's your setup right now that has you considering backtracks?
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Unread 07-18-2014, 09:59 AM   #4
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I'm not the worship leader, and don't really have any input. I play acoustic guitar, so it doesn't double my instrument. It's mostly drums, bass, and lead electric on the track. Everybody is playing, but it's like playing along with a track. I guess the thought is that it fattens some of the sound, especially the electric lead. It is as odd as it sounds. I was wondering if this was common. I've never heard of it before.
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Unread 08-04-2014, 01:37 PM   #5
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We used one yesterday for the first time on "God's Great Dance Floor" to help flesh it out a bit. I think it sounded fairly seamless - just filling in the gaps that our keyboardist couldn't cover on his own. He may have made it himself, actually, I'm not sure. I can't see us using them on a regular basis, though. We have a hard enough time sticking with just the click...ha.
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Unread 08-04-2014, 02:45 PM   #6
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"God's Great Dance Floor"
Worship music is getting strange.
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Unread 08-04-2014, 03:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Worship music is getting strange.
You have no idea.
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Unread 08-04-2014, 06:39 PM   #8
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...God's great what?

Anyway, I think like someone else said, tracks have a potential to be both cool and also bad/gimmicky. The more folk/soul oriented music that we play at my church doesn't lend itself to tracks, but if you've got a huge church and you're playing songs with electronic/programming elements it could be cool. Now...just playing along with a track of drums, bass, guitar, etc. seems flat-out weird to me.
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Unread 08-04-2014, 07:35 PM   #9
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Several large churches in my area do this. I'm disappointed when I see three guitarists playing barre chords and hear a killer solo that noone is playing live. Also, the drummer from my band was at one of the services and asked, "why do I hear more percussion than the drummer is playing?" I told him they used backing tracks. He couldn't believe it.

To me it does seem a little like lip synching. As a member of a small band with just me on guitar a bass player another vocalist and a drummer I find it difficult to get that full sound so we just do our thing and it sounds how it sounds. If we were trying to sound like the record then we (and I'm sure just about all bands even larger ones) would have to play the record.

Seeing what goes on behind the scenes is at times a let down.
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Unread 08-04-2014, 07:40 PM   #10
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Several large churches in my area do this. I'm disappointed when I see three guitarists playing barre chords and hear a killer solo that noone is playing live. Also, the drummer from my band was at one of the services and asked, "why do I hear more percussion than the drummer is playing?" I told him they used backing tracks. He couldn't believe it.

To me it does seem a little like lip synching. As a member of a small band with just me on guitar a bass player another vocalist and a drummer I find it difficult to get that full sound so we just do our thing and it sounds how it sounds. If we were trying to sound like the record then we (and I'm sure just about all bands even larger ones) would have to play the record.

Seeing what goes on behind the scenes is at times a let down.
If I was paying to see a rock band...I might feel cheated.

However...if I am at a service that is supposed to be worship...I am less concerned if there are backing tracks.

I pastor a very small rural church...we do hymns with a piano and then two newer songs every Sunday. We don't have a band so we sing along with the original tracks.
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Unread 08-04-2014, 08:50 PM   #11
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Different strokes, different folks. I personally like Martin Smith's lyrics in that song...but that's just me.
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Unread 08-04-2014, 08:52 PM   #12
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I'm okay with the idea of backing tracks when they're used as effects or in place of synthy type stuff.

At the same time I think many churches need to be more realistic about their music, musicians and capabilities. There's nothing wrong with tracks, but there's also nothing wrong with maximizing your available talent and just letting whatever is available be what is used on the stage.
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Unread 08-04-2014, 08:53 PM   #13
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I'm okay with the idea of backing tracks when they're used as effects or in place of synthy type stuff.

At the same time I think many churches need to be more realistic about their music, musicians and capabilities. There's nothing wrong with tracks, but there's also nothing wrong with maximizing your available talent and just letting whatever is available be what is used on the stage.
Exactly .
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Unread 08-04-2014, 08:53 PM   #14
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I'd find backing tracks distracting if I was in the congregation. I also find it hard to worship with CDs too. I don't know why.

(Worship with CDs is a lot harder when they're 20 minute Jesus Culture songs, too...)
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Unread 08-06-2014, 10:15 AM   #15
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In the past I've played at churches where we'll have backing tracks. The band would be one worship leader on acoustic, electric, drums, and bass. On the tracks they'd take out everything that was onstage so the only thing the tracks were playing would be any keys/pads, some misc. percussion, and some harmonies.

I'm not sure how I felt about it. It definitely made the sound large and consistent from week to week when an instrument was missing, but I didn't like how we were restricted to that layout of the song. Sometimes things need to change on the fly and I really enjoy that, but if we go ahead and add stuff at the end of the song things sound strikingly empty because the tracks have stopped.

I think I prefer using people to actually play the parts when possible, but as a music assistant at a church, I 100% understand that sometimes that is just not possible (and sometimes it's hard to get more than just one person for the week). So I don't know., Do what you gotta do I guess haha.
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