Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Collaboration #1: Will The Circle Be Unbroken

Will the Circle be Unbroken
Key of G
100 bpm
Rhythm Track #1-Will The Circle Be Unbroken

I think Mike R. is going to do a demo break so everyone can see how this works. After that, we need bass added to the track. I think fiddlewood said he would be available.

I’m going out of town for over a week starting tomorrow and I won’t have access to my DAW, so Mike R. is gonna help me compile the tracks.

If we do the song as Kickoff-Verse-Chorus-Break-Verse-Chorus-Break-Verse-Chorus-Break-Verse-Chorus-Break-Chorus-Turnaround we have room for 5 breaks. If we end up needing more, we can just loop the track.

The rhythm track is intentionally basic. If someone wants to play a fuller rhythm once we start assembling the tracks, it might be a good thing.


I made a demo to show how we get things lined up remotely. Unfortunately, my dropBox is having issues, so I’ll just attach an mp3 instead of putting a WAV on dropbox.


  1. Download the base track Larry provided
  2. Bring it into your software. The method to do this will vary with software, but most I have used, you can drag and drop.
  3. Record your part. Note… you want to let the last note ring (and don’t make extra noise) for much longer than you would think. We have had tracks where we had to slide out the end because they quit too quick. Give it time for the next player to slide in over you.
  4. Render the recording. Here is the trick for allowing us to line up the tracks remotely… we will include the synch tone in each recording. In order to do this in my software (Reaper) I put a volume slider on the rhythm track. The volume for the it was up for the synch tone and as soon as it is done, I had the volume on that track go to 0.
  5. Send your track back in.

That’s it! It is that simple. The synch tone will allow shoever is mixing to line up the tracks.

Notes and comments:
-There was a question about using an SM58. For the above track I used an SM7b (single mic, pointed at roughly the 12th fret) which is fairly similar. It should work fine.
-There was a question about WAV versus MP3. WAV is “better”, but MP3 will work just fine. We have received MP3s in projects and I doubt anyone could tell.
-Don’t add any effects (reverb, delay, compressor, octaver). If you have a particular issue and you want to do a little EQ, maybe, but tell Larry if you do anything. The best thing is if in doubt, send it raw.
-if you know where your break is, play with the rhythm track at that point. So, if you were doing a break that started 2 minutes in, your track would have the synch tone followed by two minutes of silence, followed by your awesome break.
-Yes… I did come up with that break on my own! I can make tabs if anyone wants it.

If there are any questions, don’t be bashful.


Stand by… mp3 is not working correctly… :hushed:

That was weird. It worked once then quit. I re-rendered and uploaded. I tried from another system and it worked. Seems to be working now.

I’m a little fuzzy on the whole “sync tone” thing. Are you saying that for our break, we need to find out where in the song our break lands, and then record the sync tone, then silence until that point where we play our break?

If I have that right, you think someone could outline where each person’s break will fall and post those times here?

BTW, that’s a rockin’ break you recorded there!

Yep, you got it. The synch tone is the marker for lining up all the tracks. Let’s say that each verse or break takes 30 seconds (this example has nothing to do with our project). I already did the first (rockin’) break. So my break track has the synch tone, about 10 seconds of silence for the count in and then my break. If you were doing the second break, you would just play your break with the rhythm track for the second time it plays the progression. You don’t have to really wait X seconds… you just play with the rhythm track where your break would go. In fact, if my track were already mixed in, you could just play with that mix and wait for my break to end. The end result would be you would have a synch tone, 10 seconds of silence for the count in, 30 seconds of silence for my (rockin’) break and then your break. Your track will not include anything except the synch tone and your instrument.

With all that said, whoever is mixing can move the breaks, but it is much easier to have them where they are supposed to be. That way, by simply lining up the synch tone (which makes a distinct visual wave image with a decided edge), everything magically lines up (and we are playing in synch). We hopefully won’t be playing “NSync”

Mark, yes

You start at the beginning of the rhythm track provided…the sync tone is included at the beginning…you must listen through the song until your break comes up, then start playing.

I usually listen through first to find out where on the counter my part starts…then start over to record keeping in mind where I should start playing.

ha mike beat me to it

OK, cool!

So, who gets to tell us the order of our breaks?

sound off and we’ll make a list…I’ll

fiddle the intro

who’s next?

If this Bass track works out I’ll move on to the fiddle…if it needs changed just let me know

Circle Bass Track

Ben mentioned that since there are so many of us, and since the verse and chorus are practically the same, some of us might should keep it to 1 break (verse or chorus.) Since I’m contributing 2 different instruments, I’ll take 1 banjo break and 1 mandola break.

That’s the normal way to go. It’s the same progression all the way through. I’ll play once through the prog. for the intro, Would you like to play one after the first chorus? If so which instrument?

We’ll still need a mando chop and banjo backup through the entire song too

Excellent! I’ll try to get this mixed and re-post the mix tomorrow.

I think we already had volunteers for both of those. If not, I’m happy to do either. It’d be a great excuse to get Ben’s latest D to G bag-o-licks lesson under my belt.

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0:07 kickoff
0:26 verse 1
0:46 chorus 1
1:05 break 1
1:24 verse 2
1:42 chorus 2
2:02 break 2
2:21 verse 3
2:40 chorus 3
3:00 break 3
3:18 verse 4
3:38 chorus 4
3:57 break 4
4:16 chorus 5
4:35 turnaround

Sweet! Thanks!

So, David is handling the intro and first verse and chorus. That leaves 11 spots. I have banjo and mandola (# of slots permitting) breaks. That leaves 9 more slots. Do we have 9 more people?

Since my breaks tend to stray from the melody quite a bit, I’m thinking maybe they should go toward the end… maybe on chorus and break 3 or 4.

Ben mentioned doing a dobro break. I think it’d be cool to give him chorus 5 to bring us all home.

How did you guys envision the turnaround sounding? Just a single instrument? All of us playing it? Or maybe if Ben gets chorus 5, he could take us out on the turnaround, but the rest of us jump back in on just basic melody at lower volumes?

This is excellent! Yes, I’ll do a dobro break. One of y’all grab the mando chop or I will as well.

Honestly, I think the best thing to do is declare someone the executive producer who tells everyone else where and what to play. @Mike_R or @ldpayton1?

It will have to be after Thanksgiving before I get to mine. Looking forward to it!

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Please note, this was written earlier, but I couldn’t post it for a while:

I guess I’ll be the EP until Larry returns. With the layout that we have, if we don’t fill out all the breaks, we can shorten it up once things start getting filled in.

I might be wrong, but did not think we were doing vocals. Let’s nail that down… what’s the vote? Vocals or no?

Without vocals, is there any significant difference between verse and chorus (or break)? In other words FiddleWood was planning to take intro, verse, chorus. Without the word reference, how is a listener to know where we are in the song? Does it matter? If there is no difference musically between verse chorus and break, does a “break” or “intro” really mean anything? Where I am going, in an instrumental should we be thinking simply “verse, chorus, repeat”. Follow up question. If we do think verse/chorus/repeat, should we put a couple bonus measures to hang on G after every chorus to kind of reset the listener’s ear? My apologies if I am just not on the right page. I’ll get there eventually :slight_smile:

I vote no vox. We determine how many times to go through it by how may soloists we have, then we leave one at the end for everyone to play the melody together. Just my vote :slight_smile:

Well, it is your website :laughing:

Sounds good to me.

haha…guess I’m the one out of sync…When Larry wrote “verse” and “chorus” I took it he intended there was singing.

Makes no difference to me. I’m good with however the majority wants to have it.

I was only planning on playing once through the progression at the beginning…that should leave the other five all as double breaks if I’m counting correctly and we go all instrumental…or, as suggested, we can shorten it.

Mike, the thought of “tag measures” crossed my mind also when I was cutting the bass track. I think it would only make much of a difference if the same instrument followed the previous break…otherwise it’s more of a taste thing. .

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