Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

JD Crowe Hidden Backup Revealed

If your ears are like mine, (and for your sake, I hope they’re not) you may have difficulty hearing what the banjo is doing in the background of whatever album you are listening to. JD Crowe hides quite bit of backup gold under the vocals, and it’s not always easy for me to hear precisely what he’s doing.

I use an app called “Anytune Pro+” (it’s like $15/one time) to help bend the odds in my favor of being able to hear what’s going on. Don’t be afraid — the interface looks complicated, but it’s really not!

In this video you’ll see that I have looped a segment of Down The Road, slowed it down, and the second time through I reframed the playback to highlight the banjo and push everything else to the back.
Neato, right!?

Some songs work better than others depending on how they were recorded :wink:


Wow, that’s pretty cool!
I am pondering how it might work. I am thinking the algorithm might target sounds that are panned to a certain position.

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I think it has to do with eliminating frequencies. If vocals and banjo are not of a similar pitch, it helps in separating them out. It also works for blocking out the banjo frequencies which would give you a pretty nice backing track. Listen to this entire 45 second clip for an example of what you could do with it:


Hi @Mike_R if it’s a multi track recording each instrument may be assigned it’s own channel - The app could then simply play back the isolated instrument channel.

I have seen this done before with CDs. Jack Hatfield used this on some of his CDs that accompanied his instructional books. By adjusting the pan on your speaker/headphones you could tune out the banjo or pan the other way tune out the band to focus on the banjo.

Just thinking aloud - @BanjoBen might consider doing this when recording future multi instrument backing tracks. Being able to hear his banjo backup in isolation would be great.


That sounds like a bargain and worth checking out!

@PFCBeetleBailey I’ve had this app for a while. Never had much luck isolating what I was trying to hear. I know it might be a little too much to put on here, but can you explain your process?

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Do you have the full fledged “Anytune Pro+”? If so, you will need to click on this icon (I’ll attach a picture) and select “reframe”

From there a box will appear in your sound wave viewer and you can manipulate that to cut what you want.

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Thanks. Is it just trial and error or are there some guidelines to isolate the banjo? I played around a little with it after seeing your post, but I’m not pulling the banjo out quite the same… Of course I haven’t tried many songs. I really only worked with one song and it may not give the same results you are getting. You did say some songs work better than others. Edit… Almost forgot to mention, I do have the full version.

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You have to hunt for the right spot, and the quality of the recording has a ton of impact on your results.

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Thanks again. I’ll play with it some more and see what I come up with. I have pretty much just been using it to slow things down up to now. This will definitely come in handy, though.