Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Hearing the Backing Track

This could have gone in to “Banjo,” but others may have the same trouble.

I have a hard time hearing the backing tracks because I’m too conscious about loud noise.

I loved the tip (Mark R’s I think) about recording the track on Audacity and looping it, so I tried it today. But I was still too hesitant to crank it up.

So I thought I could simply listen to the headphones and play along. Rats! My computer, for some odd reason, refuses to recognize Audacity as the source for the headphones,yet it plays thru the speakers without a problem. This is annoying & I will try to cipher it out, but I’m afraid I’m up against the entire Microsoft operation. They hate things that don’t belong to them.

How loud to you have to crank the backing tracks in order to play along comfortably?


I have a very hard time following along with anything but a real human band, but sometimes if I put earphones in and turn a track up to the highest level I can comfortably tolerate, it helps.


I have to have the backing tracks at least as loud as my banjo, so pretty dang loud. I mean, if you think about it, it just makes sense. You’re trying to duplicate a real band environment. Those other instruments aren’t going to be quiet.

Don’t be scared to turn it up. You want to create a good mix of you and the backing track. If the track is too quiet, you won’t be able to hear it over the banjo, so you won’t know if you’re on the beat.


That is exactly right, I couldn’t agree more and that’s the heart of my troubles. Much of it is a holdover from my working days in radio. You never listen to the music, you’re listening for sounds that do not belong there. It’s crazy, but no matter how soft or loud the sounds get, I have a hard time noticing them, but can pick out a sound that doesn’t belong no matter how quiet it is. It drives my wife nuts, and I’m trying to shake it, but old habits die hard. When I play the backing tracks the only sound that doesn’t belong is my banjo! Eeek!
I’ll try to resolve the headphone issue and I’ll work on cranking it up.
Man, that’s gonna be loud!


This is funny because it’s my truth, too. :smiley:

I have been forced to play with my banjo mute a LOT. I have a Mike’s Mute, which cuts the volume by about 2/3rds.


Problem solved! A bit of experimentation tonight yielded interesting results.
First, my wife said, “Crank it up. I’ll go outside and find out how loud it is.” Apparently, it isn’t, so one point of potential embarrassment taken care of.
Second, while she was outside, I moved away from my computer speakers. 8’8" to be precise.
This made a huge difference! Now the backing track sounded more natural and not like some nasty technique for forcing Manuel Noriega out of hiding.
Finally, it forced me to do something I do not do a lot (and probably should.) Stand up while playing. I know I should sit up straight when I play, but isn’t this supposed to be relaxing, too?
Seriously, I had started to practice bad habits as I slouched in my chair. Standing was a little awkward at first. I kept missing strings that I normally picked effortlessly.
So I will definitely be adding more backing tracks and more vertical picking to my practice sessions.
I don’t know nothing about mutes and don’t want to. I’ll wait for other to tell me to consider getting one. :roll_eyes:
The moral of the story is - “Get a second pair of ears to listen for you, because sometimes you don’t always hear so good.”
And that reminds me of the importance of postng some videos here at Banjo Ben’s. There are times you get some really valuable insights!


That’s awesome Joe! Looking forward to some loud videos! :grin:

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