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Hi all:

I'm considering start gigging solo w/tracks and I have a few questions I think you might be able to answer:
1-In order to get tracks I found lots of midi tracks on the net. I'm planing in saving them onto Finale and then, re-orchestrate them with better instruments and burn a cd, would that work?
2-I'm mainly a classical player so my intention is to do easy-listening classical pieces, would it be possible or I will need jazz and rock stuff?
3-Which is the smallest power amplifier I'll need? 20,30,40w?

Thanks!
 

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1- Im using Hal Leonard Jazz Playalong cd's. MIDI and Aebersold and Hal Leonard tracks and others are discussed here on SOTW, do some searches and read up on what people say.

2- You can play any music you want. It is all posssible.

3- IF you want to use a power amp that implies you are planning to use a separate mixer, power amp, and speakers. That may not be the most economical, efficient, practical setup. You could use a powered mixer or you could use powered speakers. Or you could use a powered combo amplifer with built in speaker(s), aka a keyboard amplifier.
The required wattage will depend on many factors, but generally it is hard to find a power amplifier sold in as low a wattage as 20,30 or 40 watts today, for PA use. IF you look at carvin.com for example, the lowest wattage power amp they sell I think is about 80 watts per channel (it is stereo) and the lowest power combo amp they sell, the AG100D has 100 watts and the lowest powered mixer they sell has 100 watts.


Bostonsax said:
Hi all:

I'm considering start gigging solo w/tracks and I have a few questions I think you might be able to answer:
1-In order to get tracks I found lots of midi tracks on the net. I'm planing in saving them onto Finale and then, re-orchestrate them with better instruments and burn a cd, would that work?
2-I'm mainly a classical player so my intention is to do easy-listening classical pieces, would it be possible or I will need jazz and rock stuff?
3-Which is the smallest power amplifier I'll need? 20,30,40w?

Thanks!
 

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some wise man once told me to figure one watt per person in the audience.
Use whatever you've got. There are other threads on here about this very discussion, try the search button, solo gigs, playing with tracks, that kind of thing.
 

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I play with backing CDs that come with some sheet music books from various publishers. I started to look at MIDI tracks inported to Sibelius, BIAB etc. but the results are awful. Unless I can figure it out I'll stick to buying Guest Spots and so on. Let's face it, they're better arrangements than many of the available MIDIs. I play all sorts, jazz , pop, light music light classical it all goes down well, so just play whatever you want, really but bear in mind audience requests. Christmas of course, I stick mostly to carols and festive songs but may throw other stuff in. Just have fun with it!

My buskers amp is only a 15 watt one but it's plenty loud enough, I just plug a personal CD player into it. It's an Ashton BSK158 'designed in Australia, made in China' and it's served me well. It has an internal battery that lasts for eight hours on a full charge and can also be run from the mains and from a car cigar lighter socket. I've used it indoors in pubs and peoples' homes and outdoors too.
 

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Don't get too hung up on the wattage. It takes 10 times the watts to equal roughly twice the volume. So a 100w amp is only twice as loud as a 10w for solo and duo gigs I use something like this:

http://www.samash.com/catalog/showitem.asp?ItemPos=0&TempID=1&DepartmentID=5&STRID=161629&CategorySubID=1015&CategoryID=1015&BrandID=1470&CategorySubPriceRangeID=0&pagesize=10&SortMethod=3&Method=3&PriceRangeID=0&SearchPhrase=&Contains=&Search_Type=Department&GroupCode=&categorysubsearch=true


Mine is slightly different and was cheaper, under $300.00 but anything like this would work. Very convenient and portable and works for small gigs. Sometimes I just use my acoustic guitar amp. It has a CD input and reverb and works for very small stuff. I've also seen individual powered full range speakers that would work.

For tracks I use Hal Leonard and Aebersold stuff and some karaoke tracks (adequate at best). I haven't used a lot of downlaodable midi stuff because they cost too much. $6-8.00 a piece on the sites I've looked at. In general I like the feel of the hal leonard stuff better than the abersold stuff.
 

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I've been tweaking free midi files I've found as well as some nice tracks I bought on ebay, but that seller, bettertracks, is no longer an ebay member(don't know what happened there) been using them on CD with a boom box, not perfect but this is just street busking for my own enjoyment. I have looked at a Traynor small battery powered amp and another I cannot think of the name of at the moment.
 

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I haven't a clue how to tweak MIDI files! I find Noteworthy COmposer okay but long winded and can't get to grips with Sibelius. My BIAB I've just ben sitting at home and playing along to a load of BIAB files. Many of them wouldn't be good to busk to and when I transpose for either alto or soprano, the sheet music looks a mess in many cases.

Maybe if I found the time to sit down and really learn all this software I'd get to grips with it.
 

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I don't really either. LOL I just use a software synth to get better sounds in Cakewalk. I have created some in BIAB (blue bossa, This Masquerade etc, bossas seems to work well in BIAB) export as midi, import into Cakewalk, and use the Cakewalk TTS-1 soft synth for better sounds. I haven't had the time to get much further than that. I have too many other projects (my 4 kids) taking up my time, not to mention, mowing thelaw, remodeling the bathroom, work, VO, etc etc...life is full of compromises, so this is one I take. If it sounds pretty good, but nor perfect, its fine.

Oh, I rarely use sheet music, its all by ear, so I hae little experience with that. I do sometimes transpose the lead line in Cakewalk to check the key etc, but rarely if ever read as I play.
 

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I do play tunes from memory but when playing with backing, I have the sheet there because the arrangements vary from backing to backing. I have the same tune in different books/backing tracks and they're all different. So the sheet is there as a guide - that said, I don't stick to the written part exactly, I'll throw in some brief improvisation and endings but it's there as my roadmap if I need to refer to it. My late Dad used to say 'busk it!' busk it!', meaning play by ear but I haven't found the time to improve this area of my playing. I'll get around to it one day...
 

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I play by ear, but there's nothing wrong with reading especially if you're providing background music. I stick with songs that I know fairly well and keep a play list handy with the key of each piece written down. Doesn't sound too good if you start in the wrong key....

I also download free MIDIs off the web, tweak them, play them on my own synths and samplers, then burn them to a CD. The reason I tweak them is because so many free MIDIs are just plain cheesy, don't have proper endings, are too dry and machine-like, and even have wrong notes. After tweaking, the results to my ear are quite pleasing, fun to play to, and generally get people moving. When I get "a round tuit" I'll post some samples of these...

As for amps, it depends on what you need. I suppose you could use a boombox. I don't have one that can play loud enough without distortion. If you want or need to use a mic you'll need a PA type of setup. The Yamaha STAGEPAS 300 is fairly nifty and can handle inputs for up to 4 mics as well as a CD player. The sound is nice but wasn't beefy enough for my tastes or for the other uses I needed a PA for. I went with the overkill solution: Crown 300W amp and 15" Peavey speakers. :twisted: The Crown has zero input flexibility so I use a MOTU doohicky as my front end.
 

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Just got back from a solo gig today. A graduation party. Provided backdrop for a catered lunch. I have a folder with charts 6 CD sets, 45 min a piece from which I choose what to play. I have written charts for each tune with notes concerning the arrangement scratched on them, # of measures for intro, how many choruses, ending tags, that type of stuff. I refer to the charts on tunes I do not have memorized yet (new tunes or ones I don't likeas much/practise as often) My goal is to have them all memorized. I will be moving to MP3 player in the near future and using the CD's just for backup.
 

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I think it is critical to have the sheet music for each tune in order to learn the tune. You have to learn each tune somewhere.
 

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It's not critical just quicker than learning everthing by ear. Coming from a rock and roll background I still find the changes in Jazz harder to hear off the cuff. the music helps.
 

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It's not essential to have the sheet music and I'd love to develop my playing from memory more. One caveat of having sheet music around is if one is playing outdoors and the wind gets up, I end up holding the sheet down with the bell of my sax, unless I can play through some of it by ear (or if it's a suitable section backing-wise, throw in some improvisation).

By the way, if anyone local wants to see me using my bell (or something else - they don't call me clever dick for nothing!) in such a manner, then check out wwww.rivermedway.co.uk and click on 'Full What's On Guide', for 9th June!
 

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My music sight reading ability stinks, mainly because I rarely do it. I learn tunes by ear (R&R background) I will find lead sheets and check myself, but I find it sticks with me more. I have learned tunes by reading, but I don't remember it as well. But whatever works for you.

as for wind, clothes pins (the hinged type) with long slim pieces of plexi attached work well. they are sold commercially, but I like DIY.
 

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Bill Mecca said:
My music sight reading ability stinks, mainly because I rarely do it. I learn tunes by ear (R&R background) I will find lead sheets and check myself, but I find it sticks with me more. I have learned tunes by reading, but I don't remember it as well. But whatever works for you.

as for wind, clothes pins (the hinged type) with long slim pieces of plexi attached work well. they are sold commercially, but I like DIY.
So I'm the opposite - my sight reading is very good but my playing by ear is fair to middling. I've done the clothes pegs and the problem occurs if it is it goes over the page. I should pull my finger out and copy the music and tape it together in a long sheet. Mind you I've got adept at playing with my left hand (unless playing lower than a G1!), unpegging the music, turning over and repegging, all whilst playing the phrase I do remember by ear! It's when it blows over unexpectedly, you have trouble!
 

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Hearing the melodies is no problem its some of the changes. Those 7#9, b9chords and the like. They are just harder for me to distinguish than when a guitar player is banging out an A7 or something. The chord charts help me relate until I have the song under my belt. Just faster for me to get up to speed and if I have a brain fart and can't remember something on a gig I have the chart to reference.
 

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sonnymobleytrane said:
You play actual Gigs Over rcorded Tracks!
You haven't ever seen someone do this??

I mostly see this on charity gigs where they just want someone to provide entertainment prior to a big dinner or other event. Usually the musician donates their services and it's just easier to do it this way than to try to convince several members of a group to donate services.
 
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