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#2045035 - 03/08/13 12:59 PM In Praise of Band In a Box....  
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RonL Offline
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Got a set list for an audition next Monday, downloaded the tunes in BIAB format (cleaned up progressions as needed) and have been working my way through the tune list and just wanted to say that it has been such a pleasure using BIAB. I can change the tempo, loop difficult measures, use the woodshed feature to work it up the metronome and take turns on each chorus for comping or soloing.

I just can't say enough good things about Band In A Box. My soloing and comping, well that is another story...

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#2045080 - 03/08/13 02:57 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: RonL]  
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newbert Offline
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Originally Posted by RonL
Got a set list for an audition next Monday, downloaded the tunes in BIAB format (cleaned up progressions as needed) and have been working my way through the tune list and just wanted to say that it has been such a pleasure using BIAB. I can change the tempo, loop difficult measures, use the woodshed feature to work it up the metronome and take turns on each chorus for comping or soloing.

I just can't say enough good things about Band In A Box. My soloing and comping, well that is another story...


It's great to hear of someone hear using BIAB. I've owned BIAB2012 for the past year or so, but honestly haven't gotten around to really learning it. It has so many features that I find it quite daunting.

Could you elaborate on your set-up and exactly how you're using it? Where did you find the BIAB-format songs to download?

I generally play from sheet music, and am finding the transition to improvising and/or playing from a lead sheet/fake book difficult. So, I'm curious as to exactly how you're using BIAB.

For example, where do I find the "woodshed" feature that you mentioned, and how do you use it? (The simpler the explanation, the better....) 8-)

Thanks!



Bert
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#2045089 - 03/08/13 03:17 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: RonL]  
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For simple, this works well:
http://www.irealb.com/


Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX
#2045184 - 03/08/13 06:07 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: newbert]  
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Exalted Wombat Offline
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Originally Posted by newbert
For example, where do I find the "woodshed" feature that you mentioned, and how do you use it? (The simpler the explanation, the better....) 8-)


I think he just means the basic function - put in the chords, let BiaB back you as you practice playing the song.

#2045275 - 03/08/13 10:45 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: RonL]  
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RonL, absolutely agree! I practice with BiaB every day, and am constantly amazed at how versatile it is. The RealTracks sound great too!


Schimmel 130T
#2045277 - 03/08/13 11:00 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: Exalted Wombat]  
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Elkayem Offline
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Originally Posted by Exalted Wombat
Originally Posted by newbert
For example, where do I find the "woodshed" feature that you mentioned, and how do you use it? (The simpler the explanation, the better....) 8-)


I think he just means the basic function - put in the chords, let BiaB back you as you practice playing the song.


The woodshed feature was added in 2012. It progressively increases the tempo allowing you to work a tune or lick up to speed.

Here is a link from the PG Music forum which shows how to access this feature: Woodshedding



Schimmel 130T
#2045283 - 03/08/13 11:14 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: newbert]  
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Originally Posted by newbert
It's great to hear of someone hear using BIAB. I've owned BIAB2012 for the past year or so, but honestly haven't gotten around to really learning it. It has so many features that I find it quite daunting.

Spend some time with it and you will get the hang of it. I agree that the interface seems unconventional at first and maybe even a throwback to some of the early Windows software. Grab a fake book and start entering some tunes and you will figure it out in no time. The real challenge is figuring out which styles are your favorite, since there are soooo many to choose from. Also, unless you have imported some decent midi sound fonts from another source, avoid the midi sounds altogether and stick with the RealTracks. Of course this means you'll want one of their "Paks" with lots of RealTracks.


Schimmel 130T
#2045378 - 03/09/13 07:12 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: RonL]  
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Exalted Wombat Offline
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An enormous amount of stuff has got tacked on to BiaB - and the user interface is a nightmare - but the basic function and the original styles (named ZZ.....) are probably all you'll need. And the more complex an accompaniment gets, the less use it is!

Punch in the chords, set up the repeat structure. Choose playback of bass, drums - and that's probably enough. Anything further gets obtrusive, and too specific.

You're in the same quandry with "arranger" keyboards. I have a friend who, although a pretty good pianist, keeps buying the latest model all-singing all-dancing keyboard. He proudly shows me the wonderful complex accompaniment patterns, realises that they are far too specific (to sometimes just ONE song - you don't want an intro to "Hello Dolly" if you're going to play "Lady is a Tramp"!) so we go through editing them down to something more sparse and more useful.

#2045379 - 03/09/13 07:21 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: Elkayem]  
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Exalted Wombat Offline
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Originally Posted by Elkayem
The woodshed feature was added in 2012. It progressively increases the tempo allowing you to work a tune or lick up to speed.


Oh right. I've never found that approach works very well. In any practice session it's better to set a slow tempo for a tricky passage, analyse your fumbles out of it, and practice it to perfection AT THAT SLOW TEMPO. Speeding up too often means "speeding up until mistakes re-appear." In the NEXT practice session, it will probably flow perfectly at the proper speed. It's amazing how things consolidate over a rest period.

Last edited by Exalted Wombat; 03/09/13 07:21 AM.
#2045388 - 03/09/13 08:00 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: RonL]  
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I hate to admit it but I actually like BIAB as well.... The user interface is...um....lets say 'dated' (to be polite but I could use other words) and not very well organized...but it's an easy way for me to practice at all hours of the day. I've been using it on and off for years so I'm sort of familiar with the bizarre way some things are organized on the program. They do keep improving the sounds each edition though and I like that.


It's a bit pricey too which is a shame....


#2045404 - 03/09/13 09:26 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: Steve Nixon]  
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Each time I see BIAB mentioned, the outdated user interface is brought up. Is there a better software for the functions of creating a backing track from a lead sheet or chord progression and playing it back under a variety of tempos and rhythms? I have used BIAB to a limited extent. I do find that it gives me a useful track in the end.


Mike Hegedus
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#2045406 - 03/09/13 09:30 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: hegedusmj]  
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Exalted Wombat Offline
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Originally Posted by hegedusmj
Each time I see BIAB mentioned, the outdated user interface is brought up. Is there a better software for the functions of creating a backing track from a lead sheet or chord progression and playing it back under a variety of tempos and rhythms?


Nothing that I've ever found. Which is why we tolerate the ui :-)

#2045418 - 03/09/13 10:12 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: Exalted Wombat]  
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OK -- I get how BIAB allows you to enter a chord progression from a Lead Sheet or Fake Book, and then generates a backing track based upon style and tempo.

My remaining (serious) question is this: A Fake Book provides the melody (for the right hand) and a chord progression (which BIAB takes care of). So, when you play along with the track generated by BIAB, what do you do with the left hand other than playing those same chords? I imagine that it takes some improv skills to add some interest to the left hand.

Assuming I have this right, exactly how do you develop that improv skill, and is it a good idea to develop that while using BIAB? Or is better to develop that skillset first?

Or am I reading too much into this?

Thanks!


Bert
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#2045431 - 03/09/13 10:33 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: RonL]  
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Exalted Wombat Offline
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BiaB can generate drums, bass, piano, guitar, strings... but you don't have to (and generally shouldn't) turn them all on.

If you want to practice improvising melodic lines over a chord structure - tell BiaB to provide bass, drums, maybe guitar. If you want to practice how you'd play piano with a jazz trio - choose just bass and drums (and don't get in the bass player's way with your left hand). If you want to play two-fisted piano - choose just drums, as a more interesting metronome!

BiaB is one of many tools that can help you learn to improvise. Try setting up a song and playing one note to a bar, then two, then a string of eighths... But KEEP GOING! Rhythm is all.

It's an excellent one for helping you PRACTICE improvising.

#2045485 - 03/09/13 12:48 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: newbert]  
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Originally Posted by newbert

My remaining (serious) question is this: A Fake Book provides the melody (for the right hand) and a chord progression (which BIAB takes care of). So, when you play along with the track generated by BIAB, what do you do with the left hand other than playing those same chords? I imagine that it takes some improv skills to add some interest to the left hand.
Thanks!

Newbert, as Wombat says, you can turn off the piano part and have the bass and drums as your backing track. For learning improv, it is nice to have a good band back you while you develop your chops. Also, if you listen to the piano comping part, you can get ideas on how the professionals do it. You can even print out the piano part so you can see the voicings they choose.

Just like you, I am just starting out with improv. Maybe a little bit ahead of you at this point but not much. I bought BiaB in 2011 and have found it to be the best practice tool out there for jazz. A lot of people have used Jamey Aebersold recordings for the same purpose. I have a few of them and think they are great, but BiaB is better because it is infinitely more flexible. Any tempo, any key, a huge variety of styles, and the ability to practice with any set of chord changes you like. As a simple example, if you wanted to practice improv on a 2-5-1 in B, you can get a backing track for just that and play on it all day.


Schimmel 130T
#2046034 - 03/10/13 04:24 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: newbert]  
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dannac Offline
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Originally Posted by newbert
So, when you play along with the track generated by BIAB, what do you do with the left hand other than playing those same chords? I imagine that it takes some improv skills to add some interest to the left hand.

Assuming I have this right, exactly how do you develop that improv skill, and is it a good idea to develop that while using BIAB? Or is better to develop that skillset first?



If I recall .... the Sprunger Pattern Piano is aimed at improving your improv skills ... which I believe you have.

It sounds like you need to learn some left hand patterns.

As for using BIAB, you could listen to some piano styles you like and view the notation. Slow them down and loop also.

BIAB 2013 even shows note names to notation for all instruments. If you have 2012 you can still have it show note names by copying the instrument part to the melody track, and it will show note names. (or is it the solo track, its one or the other)

I still prefer to use Transcribe to learn piano parts and then reuse them in other songs.

#2046442 - 03/11/13 11:30 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: RonL]  
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If you goggle BIAB files you get a lot of hits - the two I have used are:

http://www.cornwallmusicservice.com...es/BIAB%20Jazz%20Standards/Jazz%20Files/

http://sjtunstall.net/music.htm

Once I download I check the changes against the real book or the Sher book and change the style to one of the real styles and off I go.

I love the woodshed function it's very nice.

I know it's been said many times in many books but you have to practise things in the context of tunes and I am finding BIAB is the best way to do that. For example I have been working through the Phil DeGreg voicing book, concentrating on four and five note rootless voicings for comping. I way speed through the 2 5 1 cycles no worries. Put All Of You or Night and Day in BIAB and I freeze. So I slow the tempo way down to 100 or so and say first chorus use voicings that start w 3 in LH bottom note, next chorus 7 in LH.

The other thing it is great for is practising licks. I have been going through the JOI Vol 1 and I pick out phrases I like, transpose them through all the keys then whatever tune I am working on in BIAB I look for where I can insert those phrases and try it.

And finally it is great for working solo lines up the metronome. I set it to three choruses and depending on how much practise time I have set it to 30 or 50 BPM at 5 BMP intervals, choose a starting tempo and play. If I take All of You starting at 120 I play three choruses at 120, then three at 125, then three at 130 and when I reach the maximine tempo of say 170 I start going back down, 170,165, 160 etc.

Great fun. I think BIAB is the ultimate jazz practise tool.

PS - I also have transcribe which is the other jazz tool for figuring out solos and playing along w recordings... a topic for another thread...

#2046879 - 03/12/13 09:32 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: Steve Nixon]  
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Originally Posted by Steve Nixon
I hate to admit it but I actually like BIAB as well.... The user interface is...um....lets say 'dated' (to be polite but I could use other words) and not very well organized...but it's an easy way for me to practice at all hours of the day. I've been using it on and off for years so I'm sort of familiar with the bizarre way some things are organized on the program. They do keep improving the sounds each edition though and I like that.


It's a bit pricey too which is a shame....

This thread (you folks) have got me interested in taking a closer look at this. And of course, I've heard some tremendous results using it from the likes of Kenjazz in the ABF forum.

Working on improv. has been a development area on my radar for some time, but it always seems to get pushed aside in favour of new material. Perhaps this may be a way to motivate me more towards easing in to it.

So far I have not researched BIAB at all, beyond reading this thread. So, hoping you may be able to help with a few basic questions.

1.) It sounds like there are various versions with more (not necessarily good) bells and whistles that are perhaps just complicating matters and not needed. But, better sound is always good. Is there a particular version thus, you would recommend?

2.) How much should I expect to pay? I live in Canada so will typically double whatever it is in USD.

3.) Is there any special external equipment I need to run it? For my recording today I have an acoustic piano, a mics setup to a pre-amp and then to audacity on Windows XP. Would I still use all this for recording?

Thanks in advance and I appreciate any amount of guidance.


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#2046907 - 03/12/13 10:35 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: Greener]  
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Originally Posted by Greener

1.) It sounds like there are various versions with more (not necessarily good) bells and whistles that are perhaps just complicating matters and not needed. But, better sound is always good. Is there a particular version thus, you would recommend?

2.) How much should I expect to pay? I live in Canada so will typically double whatever it is in USD.

3.) Is there any special external equipment I need to run it? For my recording today I have an acoustic piano, a mics setup to a pre-amp and then to audacity on Windows XP. Would I still use all this for recording?

Thanks in advance and I appreciate any amount of guidance.

It is certainly expensive, but I feel I have gotten my money's worth. (I spend a lot on lessons too, and put value on the things I believe are enabling me to improve.) I do recommend the higher priced packages (the UltraPlusPak offers the most value) mostly because I don't like the default midi sounds and do like the RealTracks. The Audiophile Edition is overkill, though. PGMusic does run sales twice a year when they release new versions, so that's a good time to get in. Their price structure is a bit odd though. If you can get your hands on a 2012 Pro version (there are other retailers out there that have the older versions in stock) and then buy the upgrade directly from PGMusic, you can get a good deal. Their Mac software is on sale this month, but if you have a pc, their next sale won't be until late summer. Or just bite the bullet now if you don't care to wait for sales.

It is a very good learning tool for jazz, and I imagine for other styles as well. My first jazz teacher recommended it to me, and said he uses it too (as does Steve Nixon, another professional above).

No special equipment needed other than a computer and a good set of speakers.


Schimmel 130T
#2047036 - 03/12/13 03:05 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: Greener]  
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newbert Offline
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Originally Posted by Greener
Originally Posted by Steve Nixon
I hate to admit it but I actually like BIAB as well.... The user interface is...um....lets say 'dated' (to be polite but I could use other words) and not very well organized...but it's an easy way for me to practice at all hours of the day. I've been using it on and off for years so I'm sort of familiar with the bizarre way some things are organized on the program. They do keep improving the sounds each edition though and I like that.


It's a bit pricey too which is a shame....

This thread (you folks) have got me interested in taking a closer look at this. And of course, I've heard some tremendous results using it from the likes of Kenjazz in the ABF forum.

Working on improv. has been a development area on my radar for some time, but it always seems to get pushed aside in favour of new material. Perhaps this may be a way to motivate me more towards easing in to it.

So far I have not researched BIAB at all, beyond reading this thread. So, hoping you may be able to help with a few basic questions.

1.) It sounds like there are various versions with more (not necessarily good) bells and whistles that are perhaps just complicating matters and not needed. But, better sound is always good. Is there a particular version thus, you would recommend?

2.) How much should I expect to pay? I live in Canada so will typically double whatever it is in USD.

3.) Is there any special external equipment I need to run it? For my recording today I have an acoustic piano, a mics setup to a pre-amp and then to audacity on Windows XP. Would I still use all this for recording?

Thanks in advance and I appreciate any amount of guidance.


Here's a link to their website: http://www.pgmusic.com/ I believe they're a Canadian company, so what you pay may not be much more than USD$.

Here are the various levels of products for Windows: http://www.pgmusic.com/bbwin.packages.htm

I bought the UltraPlusPak on USB Hard Drive in 2012. (The contents of the hard drive can be transferred to your PC's hard drive or you can run the program from the USB hard drive if your storage space is limited.)

I use it with a DP, so I have MIDI hooked up. I'm not familiar with your set-up, but it looks like all you'd need is a laptop or PC (or Mac) with speakers set up near your acoustic piano.


Bert
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#2047065 - 03/12/13 04:11 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: Elkayem]  
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Originally Posted by Elkayem


Their Mac software is on sale this month,


Will this be a new version, or has it been tested by users before ?

Would you know what level of support I could receive for this in Australia ?

#2047076 - 03/12/13 04:32 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: custard apple]  
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newbert Offline
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Originally Posted by custard apple
Originally Posted by Elkayem


Their Mac software is on sale this month,


Will this be a new version, or has it been tested by users before ?

Would you know what level of support I could receive for this in Australia ?


Since I'm a PC user, I'm not sure how new this Mac version is (but per this support forum page, it looks like it's just been released): http://www.pgmusic.com/forums/postlist.php?Cat=0&Board=UBB1MAC

In terms of support for Australia, I'd say you'd get the same level of support as anyone else - namely the support forums (see above link), which are very good, plus there are numerous video tutorials at www.pgmusic.com as well as on Youtube.

I find that the BIAB user community is very supportive of each other. (And that includes PGMusic itself.)


Bert
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#2047264 - 03/12/13 09:32 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: newbert]  
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custard apple Offline
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Originally Posted by newbert
Originally Posted by custard apple
Originally Posted by Elkayem


Their Mac software is on sale this month,


Will this be a new version, or has it been tested by users before ?

Would you know what level of support I could receive for this in Australia ?


Since I'm a PC user, I'm not sure how new this Mac version is (but per this support forum page, it looks like it's just been released): http://www.pgmusic.com/forums/postlist.php?Cat=0&Board=UBB1MAC

In terms of support for Australia, I'd say you'd get the same level of support as anyone else - namely the support forums (see above link), which are very good, plus there are numerous video tutorials at www.pgmusic.com as well as on Youtube.

I find that the BIAB user community is very supportive of each other. (And that includes PGMusic itself.)


Thanks for these great links.

Could I please clarify that the backing tracks for jazz bop style can exclude piano e.g. can you have just
- bass and drums
- bass, drums and tenor sax

#2047301 - 03/12/13 10:20 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: custard apple]  
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newbert Offline
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Originally Posted by custard apple
Originally Posted by newbert
Originally Posted by custard apple
Originally Posted by Elkayem


Their Mac software is on sale this month,


Will this be a new version, or has it been tested by users before ?

Would you know what level of support I could receive for this in Australia ?


Since I'm a PC user, I'm not sure how new this Mac version is (but per this support forum page, it looks like it's just been released): http://www.pgmusic.com/forums/postlist.php?Cat=0&Board=UBB1MAC

In terms of support for Australia, I'd say you'd get the same level of support as anyone else - namely the support forums (see above link), which are very good, plus there are numerous video tutorials at www.pgmusic.com as well as on Youtube.

I find that the BIAB user community is very supportive of each other. (And that includes PGMusic itself.)


Thanks for these great links.

Could I please clarify that the backing tracks for jazz bop style can exclude piano e.g. can you have just
- bass and drums
- bass, drums and tenor sax


In any BIAB file or MIDI file, you can mute (or play solo) whatever is on the following tracks: Bass, Piano, Drums, Guitar, Strings, Melody, Soloist or Combo (or any combination thereof). Please note that you can change the voicing on any of the tracks, as well. So, for example, you could play Tenor Sax on the "Strings" track -- and go from there.

FYI -- While there's no free downloadable demo available, PGMusic offers a 30-day money back guarantee on all of their products.


Bert
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#2047421 - 03/13/13 02:10 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: newbert]  
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custard apple Offline
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custard apple  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 2,313
Sydney
Thank you Bert for the extra info.
I might invest in this in June.
I'm hesitant as to whether the Free Call number will actually work from Australia, but as you pointed out, the user community is very helpful.

#2047575 - 03/13/13 10:38 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: RonL]  
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RonL Offline
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RonL  Offline
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The real styles are very good, I always turn off the piano...BUT take a listen to the piano parts BIAB comes up with once in a while - they are actually very good. A friend has the audio phile version of BIAB - and has played me some recordings he made with BIAB and him on guitar. Scary sounding. In a good way.

I don't find the interface annoying - it is what it is and I know how to get it to do what I want so I don't mind the look. My two cents.

#2047807 - 03/13/13 06:30 PM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: RonL]  
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custard apple Offline
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custard apple  Offline
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Sydney
Originally Posted by RonL
The real styles are very good, I always turn off the piano...BUT take a listen to the piano parts BIAB comes up with once in a while - they are actually very good. A friend has the audio phile version of BIAB - and has played me some recordings he made with BIAB and him on guitar. Scary sounding. In a good way.



Which jazz styles do you use ? Post-bop ?

#2048144 - 03/14/13 11:10 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: RonL]  
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RonL Offline
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Is there a post bop category? I almost always go to the style picker and filter on jazz real styles - I use the jazz swing w pian or el guitar. The Med Jazz swing quartet is nice too.

Last edited by RonL; 03/15/13 11:16 AM.
#2048473 - 03/15/13 12:19 AM Re: In Praise of Band In a Box.... [Re: RonL]  
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custard apple Offline
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custard apple  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 2,313
Sydney
Originally Posted by RonL
Is there a post bop category?


According to the above links, there does not appear to be a post bop category.

Maybe it is an add-on. I read this on Andy LaVerne playing in the style of Chick.

http://www.pgmusic.com/addons.artistsoloists.php?os=mac


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