General Band in a Box advice

Bill McNeillBill McNeill Seattle, Washington, USANew
I want to be able to play along with backing tracks for a wide range of songs and tempos. The tracks don't have to be complex: just a rhythm guitar would be fine, though it would be nice to get something with a pompe feel. The impression I get from this board is that Band in a Box is the best way to go. Can someone give me specifics of what I should buy?

I have a Mac mini running OS X. According to the website ( there are three different versions: Pro $129, MegaPAK $269, UltraPAK $499. Can I get by with just the $129 version? Are there other gypsy jazz specific things I should buy or download? (I remember seeing other posts on this site that link to band in a box format files for specific songs.)

Do people have general impressions of Band in a Box or other software? Is is a good practice tool?


  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    I personally hate the midi sound of BIAB but it can be useful as a practice tool, there's a couple of modified styles around this forum that are a little better than the stock ones.
    I prefer to record my own backings on Garage Band with a real guitar, is good rhythm practice as well.

    For free playalongs there's these:

    And there are also play along CDs by Colin Cosimini and others by Robin Nolan all available on this site's store.

    Hope this helps.
  • Bill McNeillBill McNeill Seattle, Washington, USANew
    edited June 2008 Posts: 70
    So is BiaB is basically just a sophisticated front end for a MIDI generator/player?

    MIDI can be distractingly cheesy, so if this is the case I might be better off just recording my own rhythm tracks if I want to play along with something slower than what's already out there.
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    Another option is using what's out there in conjunction with one of the many players that can slow the tempo without changing the pitch. Transcribe and SlowDowner come to mind, and while it isn't perfect, it might work well enough for what you want to do. Windows Media Player also has this function built in (Now Playing Options/Enhancements/Play Speed Settings).

    good luck!
  • AdelaarvarenAdelaarvaren Ballard, WA, USANew
    Posts: 172
    Check out "Improvisor"

    It's a free ware version of BIAB. I use it often, and it, while not as sophisticated as BIAB, it will do what you need. It is a little java script, takes up almost no space at all. I've attached a .zip.

    And the price is right!
  • AdelaarvarenAdelaarvaren Ballard, WA, USANew
    Posts: 172
    I see some folks have downloaded this - I should point out that the file "Imaginary Book" is essentially all three versions of the Real Book. It has all kinds of stuff in there, so load it up and select your backing tune! Also, you can change the instruments. I like the acoustic bass better than the default.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
Banner Adverts
Sell Your Guitar
© 2020, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2020 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.045805 Seconds Memory Usage: 3.450798 Megabytes