Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Alright, let's get it going

If all goes to plan, I’m going to start recording tomorrow. Anyone care to share what software they are using? I’m going to use Ableton 9.


I’ll either use Garage Band or my very old, but very trusty Cool Edit Pro.

Should we be recording already? I thought we were waiting on some backing tracks from someone first. I know 100 BPM is the universal tempo, but even a 1/4 second variation over the whole song could be problematic.

Yes we normally cut the rhythm and bass first (and maybe a scratch vocal) and play the rest to that.

If someone gets a rhythm part down I’m happy to throw in the Bass unless someone else really wants to do it.

I have Audacity in my computer but use a Tascam DP-008 multi track recorder for recording on these things…much less hassle for me.

theoretically you could cut a break at the same meter, but it would create a lot of hassle for the person doing the engineering to put it in the right place…and then it might not work and would have to be done over again.

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That should work fine! I like it!

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Sorry Mark. I didn’t think about the backing track. I get a bit over zealous at times. :roll_eyes:

I’ll admit it. I’m the guilty party holding up this project. I recorded a track on Monday, then spent two days figuring how to get it shared with Dropbox. I finally managed to start a new thread with the rhythm track uploaded. Get it here:

Collaboration #1-Will The Circle Be Unbroken

that sounded fast. is it in cut time ?

This is the site I use to count BPMs.

It was exactly 100 BPM. I still haven’t gotten my mandola polished at that speed, but I’m getting a little closer every day.

yep, matches right up with the metronome on my recorder. Wish I could get it in sync for a click track though, I can’t adjust it in the recorder…

took me a long time to figure out why I couldn’t get the track to play once I had it in the machine…it’s a stereo track…I can only import mono, so I switched it in audacity then loaded it into the machine…just setting up to put a bass part to it now.


I think Ben might count this as 200 bpm in his lesson, but I assumed this was the speed we were talking about.

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I was just telling my wife this morning I wish I knew how to read music, because note timing has me really confused. I hear Ben talking about 1/8th notes all the time in his banjo lessons. For this project, I wanted to document my break early on in case I forgot it. When I created the tab, in order to make it sound right at 100 BPM, I had to make most of them 1/16th notes.

How do you properly measure BPM? In 4/4 time, would it be the number of times the kick drum plays in a measure? 4/4 is 4 beats per measure, right?

Yes: the first (or top) number in a time signature = beats per measure
The second or bottom number is what note equals a beat…for instance in 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 a quarter note = one beat.
In 6/8 timing an eight note equals a beat.

on a click track you would hear four clicks per measure in 4/4 time…2 per measure in cut-time(2/4), and three or six in a waltz.

Can’t really depend on a kick drum because of all the different styles of percussion…in much music the kick drum is used to mirror and support the bass part, But,. If you set and electric kick in a drum track to straight quarter notes…then it would work as you mentioned.

Yes lots of Bluegrass breaks are in 16th notes.

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OK, so maybe I understood it better than I thought. Thanks!

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if I use Google metronom and set 100 it’s half the speed of the backing track. I don’t get it :smiley:. But nevermind I don’t have any mic or special software. Only my trusty Android phone. I don’t play that good to invest in that kinda stuff yet…

Mark, you need to go watch Mr. G’s theory course and all these questions are answered. That’s exactly why we created it!

Sometimes the message takes a while to sink in. Some just never get it right.

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I’ve watched Mr. G’s theory series twice now, which was part of my confusion. I love that series, and watched it even before you went live with the new site. If I followed his lessons correctly, it seems to say that I’m playing 16th notes on banjo in a 4/4 time song, which is what my tab software says, but I regularly see you referring to them as 8th notes on your banjo lessons. I’m sure there’s a connection somewhere in there that I’m not making, but at the moment I’m not sure what it is.

Maybe I need to go watch the series again. Then again, maybe I just need to play and not worry about it. As long as it sounds right, no one cares if I know how to read music. :stuck_out_tongue:

Just going with getting it t sound right works good at this level.

There are some advanced reasons as to why a particular time signature is chosen in some songs, but other than the length of the notes in the melody I don’t know what they are.

At my level of understanding, I usually look at 2/4 and 4/4 as interchangeable, the only difference being the bpm thing that brought up this conversation…

When teaching or learning banjo, because of the length of the beginning rolls being basically 8 notes it is more convenient to write out and easier for students to understand (less tails on notes and one roll pr measure) when done in 2/4 time signature,even though the actual TS of the song may be in 4/4. .

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Mark, you are right, you just aren’t convinced yet :slight_smile:

You can count what you are playing as sixteenth notes at 100 BPM. You can also count them as eighth notes at 200 BPM (which is how I think of it). Both notation/tempo combination result in exactly the same music being played.

Nobody I have met would want to count like this, but if I wanted, I could even write the same music out at 400 BPM and use quarter notes or 800 BPM using half notes. If I really wanted to test my metronome, I could do 1600 BPM with whole notes! Smoking that little metroGnome’s arm.

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Hey Mark. If I may humbly chime in, 16th notes have 2 connecting lines at the bottom, and 8th notes have one.:musical_note: eg. these are 8th notes because there is only one bar connecting them. 16th notes would have two connecting bars. So, if you had a whole measure of 16th notes, you could count and play along with each note like this.

1-e-and-a-2-e-and-a-3-e-and-a-4-e-and-a…in comparison to 8th notes which would be 1-and-2-and-3-and-4.

With that, and seeing how well you play, I’m totally confident you’ll figure it out by ear if needed.

Hope that helps some. I found Mr. G’s theory lessons an incredible help.


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