What equipment is being used

I’ve noticed in past years bands with guitars, bass and drums will, all of a sudden, have strings being played without

anyone playing them. What exactly are they using to accomplish this and still keep everything in tempo and make it

sound as if it is being played in real time. Thanks for the info—just wondering. What equipment is being used?

Last years? This thing have been around for ages.

Many ways to do it: DAT tape, a laptop with some kind of media player, Cubase or any kind of DAW … etc … etc … Just make sure you have a click track going into earphone of the drummer and the music into PA.

Some high-end keyboards have sequencers, and mp3 players, built-in that can be synched to the music (assuming the human players can play in time with the canned stuff).

I’ve been the victim of a click track and drummer at war …

This has been going on for MANY years… it’s not a new thing at all…
I remember seeing Gary Numan in Stoke in 1983 when the foldback engineer off stage, who was also running 1/4" tape with backing tracks on them, got the wrong position on the wrong reel… there was obviously a voice ident at the beginning of the track so he could cue them up, but unfortunately for him it came booming over the PA!
Mr Numan went bright red, nervously laughed and apologised! lol…
You use one channel of 2ch tape for a click which is fed to the drummers’ foldback and the other channel goes to the PA…

Most workstation synths have had onboard sequencers for quite some time also… we used to use my old Korg Trinity for running things such as strings, percussion, synth arpeggios etc with it triggering a click on an alesis SR16 which our drummer used to have on a headphone feed… it’s dead easy!!! The biggest problem is if you forget the arrangement as you can’t busk it as you can with a totally live band if you drop a boll0ck :blush:

Aloha J,
It might be humans making those sounds.

Keeping in mind that I am older than dirt here are two examples:

1-1970 International Hotel Las Vegas Elvis Presley
I watched the show from back stage where I saw three
guys each with their own SM 58 mic held up to their mouths looking into some sort of
lil Sony black and white (monochrome?) monitor waiting (if needed)
for a visual cue from Elvis to start singing.
Why three guys? I was told because up to that point
Elvis had three major music periods in his life and each guy could nail one style.
At that time in 1970 it was the Viva Las Vegas Elvis.

The stress all came to a head when the end of the show came and the high note in "My Way’
might become an issue. But that night Elvis was in fine vox and he nailed it.

2-1977 Toronto David Bowie and the Ziggy/Spiders/Mars show.
I knew the house crew so I got to be backstage.

Four great looking/sounding young musicians out front with david,
four additional musicians (old guys) back stage.

Live is sometimes all about the illusion but you can’t pull this kind sh!t in a bar.
You’ll get a beer thrown at ya!


Drummer listening to a click is the usual thing, keeping it all in sync.

The most extreme one I heard about was the big live WAR OF THE WORLDS shows a couple of years ago.

They ran a full pro tools rig with every part and every musician and every instrument on it.

They then ran the live show to the click and should a mic go down, or a singer fluff, or a guitar string break, the engineer could punch in the recorded part to dep the real part while they sorted the problem.

As someone playing keys for a big A lister tour this summer pointed out to another forum. As long as its a great show and the audience love it… Who cares?

Hi Guys, When I said “recent years” to me it is more than your “ages”. I did use my Korg and Alesis SR16
back in the early 90’s. They became very useful then. I never did master using the laptop at the time. It appears
today it would be much easier with the equipment available. I was just curious as to whether others may have
done this? Evidently you have along the way. Thanks for your input. Very informative.

I think the biggest improvement is monitoring. You can actually hear the click track now. It’s a lot easier to manage the fold back. Plugging a Sequencer into the desk and getting that signal to the players is just easier.

But, I’ve seen groups that you would swear are using a background vocal track, but it’s just someone who is really good at using a harmonizer. Same with controlling keys from a guitar and/or foot pedal.

There’s a 3-piece London band called B Sharp, the guitarist uses a midi guitar system to suddenly conjure up the London Symphony Orchestra out of thin air. Quite a trick :laughing: :sunglasses: :sunglasses:

Yeah, stuff like that. I dig bands that push those boundaries. While keeping the “playing” aspect alive.

Don’t forget the ever present possibility that its just a couple of roadies off stage (like the Elvis example).

And then there is the odd artist who creates his own click and builds on it all live and for the audience to see and hear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDl-oAiLL5U. Enjoy!