Posts Tagged ‘jam track’

Jazzy Jam Track

I was bored sitting around the house yesterday, and since I always have a guitar on hand, I just started messing around with some chord changes. Before I knew it, I had strung together a cool, jazzy chord progression with a bit of a latin flair. So, IK Multimedia StealthPlug in hand (I always carry one in my computer bag), I plugged it in, opened GarageBand, then laid down the track. Here are the chords first:

[Bm7] [E7] [Amaj7] [Bbdim]
[Bm7] [E7] [F#m] [F#m7]
[Dmaj7] [Fdim] [F#m7] [E] [Dmaj7]
[Bm7] [C#7b9] [F#m]

[Dmaj7] [Gmaj7] [Amaj7]
[Dmaj7] [Gmaj7] [Amaj7]
[Dmaj7] [Fdim] [F#m7] [E] [D]
[Bm7] [E7] [Amaj7] [Bbdim]

Now here’s the track (you’ll have to loop it if you want to jam to it):

As you can see from the chart, the track is in two parts. I always like having a verse-chorus type of arrangement with my jam tracks so improvising doesn’t become monotonous.

In any case, When I improvise over it, I found that starting with an E Lydian for the first few notes works great for me, but starting on the A on the 7th fret. After that, I just let my fingers do the talking. 🙂 That’s how I’ve been improvising lately. I start with a mode to get a groove going, then I just feel it afterwards. What I’ve found is that the mode provides a theme or a backdrop to the picture I want to paint, then what follows after I let the mode go follows that basic theme. It’s a way for me to think about what I’m playing without over-analyzing it. 🙂

About the IK Multimedia StealthPlug

This wasn’t meant to be a review of the StealthPlug, but I thought I’d give it some props just the same. This little $99 gadget has been a traveling companion now for the past few years, since IK sent me one that was packaged with some AmpliTube software. Since then, I’ve always kept it in my computer bag. The reason is that it provides a very convenient guitar to computer interface that works great with most recording software. I use it with GarageBand to knock out ideas when I’m on the road or, incapacitated as I am right now, not able to get into my garage/studio without assistance.

And the new GarageBand, with all it’s great plug-ins makes recording guitar so very nice because you can easily shape the tones to fit your needs. For instance, the bass part was recorded using my acoustic guitar, but brought down a full octave with the pitch shift plug-in. Isn’t technology cool?

Anyway, enjoy and ROCK  ON!

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JamVOX Front View

JamVOX Front View

JamVOX User Interface

JamVOX User Interface

Even though I have some patterns and scales that I practice, I usually end up jamming to jam tracks that I either write myself or download. But I also like to jam to music from popular bands. The only problem with this is that the guitar parts are already printed, and it’s tough to jam over recorded stuff.

But VOX has just come out with the JamVOX, a jam and practice tool consisting of softare and a mini practice amp to play along with any MP3. The software apparently extracts the guitar part from any MP3, and you can rip away! I don’t think this is the first of its kind, but compared to the solutions I’ve seen in the past, this looks like it is the most well-integrated software/hardware solution to date. I’m definitely going to check it out as soon as I can! Here are the features from the VOX site!

  • Revolutionary new GXT (Guitar XTracktion) function lets you cancel or extract the guitar part of an existing song.
  • 19 famous guitar amps and 54 effect units ranging from vintage to modern are provided as software.
  • Easy-to-use “drag and drop” interface enables guitarists to create their “dream guitar rig” without any advanced knowledge of amps or effects. Sound famous fast!
  • A music player feature with convenient functions for jam sessions or practice.
  • Import music files to jam along with from your favorite CDs, music library or MP3 player.
  • A dedicated USB monitor speaker is included, and there’s no need for complex wiring or specialized knowledge of computer music.
  • Two guitar play-along CDs containing 28 famous rock classics.

Check out a few videos:

After watching the videos, I’m REALLY stoked about JamVOX!!! And at $249.00, it’s a great deal!!! Can’t wait to give it a whirl!

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When my son Bennie was tested and diagnosed with a form of Attention Deficit Disorder – the attention kind, not the hyperactivity kind – I realized that I had grown up with the same problem. Parents and teachers used to just call it “getting easily distracted.” I’d be doing something then someone or something would distract me, and I’d point my attention on the new thing. It was difficult, but I was able to compensate for it, and my attention deficit hasn’t really affected me too much. In fact, it has probably helped because my over-active mind switches gears – a lot – probably a huge reason I keep this blog up to date with new stuff at least five or six times a week. I’ll be doing some coding, then I’ll take a break to sniff around the web for new gear, and voila! A new article appears on the site! 🙂

Such was the case with this new Jam Track. I got the inspiration for a new song this morning, and laid down the main riff to a metronome. While experimenting with different rhythm parts, I ran across a really funky bassline, and it turned out to be perfect. Then I added some funky drums, layered on a walking double-stop run, pulled out the Goldtop and started to JAM!!! So here it is. You have about 6 and a half minutes to play! As with all my Jam Tracks, it’s best to loop the song so you can play ad infinitum.

Gear Used

Aracom 22 Watt Prototype  with 6V6’s – freakin’ awesome amp! (Sorry, can’t say any more at this time.)

Strat for both rhythm parts.

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I just dig it when I find a great guitar and amp combo! Featured in this Jam Track are the Saint Guitar Company Messenger Baritone and the Aracom Amps Custom 45R, both of which I’ve reviewed previously. (Messenger Review | Custom 45R Review). The Custom 45 has a really beefy low-end and a slight scooped tone, and the Messenger, while a baritone, has this incredibly bright-sounding voice. The two complement each other particularly well! Here’s the Jam Track:

You have just over 6 minutes to play around with this one. For the rhythm part, I used a fairly basic rock beat, but I also added some Latin drums underneath to take the edge off the heavy downbeat. And by the way, there’s no bass in this track at all. All of that is provided by the Messenger!

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I got so inspired by the Greg Howe video I posted here the other day, that I recorded a Jam Track to Sunny that I could jam to… I had A LOT of fun with this one… Check it out!


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