Using samples live - is it 'cheating' ?

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Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 11084
Just getting my act together for the start of gigging with the new covers band and I've been working out ways to use my new JamMan Stereo sampler / looper.  I originally got it so it could play the (prerecorded) rhythm part in one of the songs whilst I did the solo live.  I'm the only guitarist and there would have been a big sonic hole when I switched to the solo otherwise.

Since then, I've been having all manner of ideas of how to use it to enhance our sound.
The most extreme of these being to prerecord an entire guitar track, therefore providing the missing guitarist for numbers that clearly have two guitars in them.

On a scale of 1(Sam Smith ranting about mimers) to 10(A Milli Vanilli Karaoke Tribute act), how 'cheating' would this be?

It would be me playing on the recording, just not live because I already had my hands full.

Does it even matter, and if so, where's the line between acceptable use of pre-rec and taking the piss ?


Question everything - with the exception of the Earth being a spheroid and the moon landings.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 7590
    Using it as a complete backing track is cheating, and a bit naff. 

    Using it to play pads or guitar chords to fill an 8-bar solo is ok, though I'd personally prefer not to

    Using it to play synth/sequencer lines that are literally impossible without hiring an extra player, absolutely fine.
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  • StrangefanStrangefan Frets: 1899
    Absolutely not, we use our own samples drums live, I would never work with a live drummer again, so much easier to make your own and pop em in the sampler. 
    www.deadhappyband.com
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  • aord43aord43 Frets: 241
    OMD used to put the tape player centre stage as I understand it.  As long as you are up front and not pretending it's all live, I don't see a problem.
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3285
    Absolutely not. The trick to avoid it being cheesy is just not to use it to make things easier for you, or replace a part that a band could reasonably be expected to perform. So pretending you're a two guitar band when you're not would be lame, as would be massed vocal harmonies so your asthmatic singer only needs to sing one word in three. OTOH, synthy sounds, noise collages, percussion loops etc that are obviously supposed to be robotic/ drum machines, I'd say are fair game.
    Captain Horizon (my band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6049
    edited October 23
    It’s live entertainment, if an act need it and people find it entertaining then that’s what matters. 

    Agree with @Cirrus points also, but it does depend on what kind of act you want to portray yourself as
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3285
    @guitarfishbay ; a good one.  =)
    Captain Horizon (my band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • not_the_djnot_the_dj Frets: 5069
    Will the drummer be able to keep locked in the tempo of the samples....if they're for whole sections or even whole songs? 

    That's the bit that's always worried me about using a looper or samples, especially if you're pre-recorded a section of the song.

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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1361
    Emp_Fab said:
    Just getting my act together for the start of gigging with the new ** covers band ** 

    I've used samples a couple of times before, in a previous covers band, and in my current band I use a looper in a couple of places.

    It's totally fine. Your primary aim in a covers band is to entertain the audience.

    R.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 2955
    edited October 23
    I use a Roland SPD sample pad but I hit it with my feet while playing guitar. I basically use it for putting organs or string bits under guitar solos or use it for adding ambience. I don't tend to record anything "time" based into it as that means the drummer has to lock in with it and that requires click track etc. 

    I don't attempt this live, the parts I hit are a lot simpler but this gives you the idea .... and how easy it is to feck up when your brains trying to do 2 things at once 




    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • As long as your not selling the song as genuine fake away
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 3048
    Certainly not. and if they're samples of yourself doubly so !
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • If it is, Royal Blood are the biggest cheats. I don't think they do anything live from what Ive seen.
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 12055
    Using samples isn't cheating - a guitarist friend of mine did a UK tour with a Roland sampler providing some drums, bass and keys. These weren't backing tracks - he'd played/programmed them. People came to see him play guitar which he he did very well. The gigs were in small intimate places so a band wasn't appropriate.


    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 8519
    I'm not sure that 'cheating' is the right word. It's just entertainment. If you claimed you were a live band but then everybody mimed to a soundtrack then that would be false advertising.
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  • BigMonkaBigMonka Frets: 1400
    I definitely wouldn’t say it was cheating, it could well enhance the audience’s experience.
    BUT to get it to work properly you’ll probably need the drummer playing to a click track to get the timing spot on - it can be surprisingly hard for a band to play along with a guitar backing track, especially if there’s a bit of gig-induced adrenaline running round.
    Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman, in which case always be Batman.
    My boss told me "dress for the job you want, not the job you have"... now I'm sat in a disciplinary meeting dressed as Batman.
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  • vizviz Frets: 4295
    Definitely not cheating - if you're live, it's live. 
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  • From about 1990 onwards Cardiacs had all their keyboard parts prerecorded and they never seemed like cheats. That said, they obviously had to be fantastically co-ordinated to get away with it, and the drummer played to a click all the way through the gig. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 26303
    BigMonka said:
    I definitely wouldn’t say it was cheating, it could well enhance the audience’s experience.
    BUT to get it to work properly you’ll probably need the drummer playing to a click track to get the timing spot on - it can be surprisingly hard for a band to play along with a guitar backing track, especially if there’s a bit of gig-induced adrenaline running round.
    It's even quite difficult during the length of one song if you use a loop that you actually recorded early in the song and then want to use in the later part of it. Tempos drummers have a habit of speeding up a bit going into an energetic chorus and then not slowing down as much coming back out. With a good drummer it isn't a problem, especially if they can clearly hear the loop in their monitor, but with others it can be…
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 2955
    This is why I don't tend to use samples which have any timing to them and generally stick to keyboard pad sounds. Imagine your doing The Black Crows version of Hard to Handle and it sounds fine with one guitar until you get to the solo, then when you stop playing the riff and solo it all goes a bit thin. What I do is hit the pad that contains a dirty organ sound playing an A chord so when I solo over the top it doesn't go all thin
    Purple Rain is another one, when it gets to the solo have a Bb in one pad, Gm in another etc and just hit these chords with your foot. Likewise Long Train Running, Where the Streets have no name and loads of other songs
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 11084
    edited October 23
    The timing issue I am aware of and - whilst I haven't tried it out yet - the JamMan Stereo has tap-tempo time-stretching on the fly, so, in theory, when I know a bit is coming up where I want to play a sample, all I need to do is tap along with the drummer's chosen tempo shortly before and (assuming the bugger doesn't go mental in the space of a few bars !), the sample will be at the correct speed when I trigger it.

    Likewise if I went down the 'whole track, second guitar part' sample route.  In theory, I should be able to tap in the current tempo if the drummer speeds up and it should match.  That said, as I'm typing this, I've just realised that in this scenario, all that means is that the sample and the drummer will be playing at the same tempo - but not necessarily in sync.  So - full length tracks might be an unsurmountable hurdle.  However - as the unit has monstrous capacity and 198 memory locations, I can easily afford to break up a whole song into shorter sections where the opportunity for drift and loss of sync is minimised.

    As for the morals of using samples, I think the replies here have assuaged my concerns.  It's not like we'd be playing every song with a backing track underneath us.  Plenty of big bands have 'hidden' keyboard players for example.

    It's just a shame I have to manually trigger them....  though the unit does have MIDI, I haven't worked out a way to get that to make things any easier !
    Question everything - with the exception of the Earth being a spheroid and the moon landings.
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  • VeganicVeganic Frets: 245
    5.
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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 11084
    Five huh ?

    Okaaaaay.....
    Question everything - with the exception of the Earth being a spheroid and the moon landings.
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  • VeganicVeganic Frets: 245
    To be honest I didn't really understand the scale so I played it safe.
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 10979
    edited October 24
    Using samples isn't cheating.

    Using other people's songs is.

    But cheating is OK anyway.

    Never forget that you are wearing your invisible tiara.
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  • oldfoxyoldfoxy Frets: 10
    10cc used backing tracks live all the time, you couldn't do something like the Original Soundtrack live as a 4 piece without it. They used to have a big simulated reel-to-reel at the back of the stage and the reels would start to turn when there was a "supplement" playing,  As long as you don't conceal it, nothing wrong with it.  As Danny1969 suggests, whether you can pull it off is an entirely different question................
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  • trolleytrolley Frets: 22
    oldfoxy said:
    10cc used backing tracks live all the time, you couldn't do something like the Original Soundtrack live as a 4 piece without it. They used to have a big simulated reel-to-reel at the back of the stage and the reels would start to turn when there was a "supplement" playing,  As long as you don't conceal it, nothing wrong with it.  As Danny1969 suggests, whether you can pull it off is an entirely different question................

    Surely pulling it off onstage is likely to alienate at least part of your audience?
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  • trolley said:

    Surely pulling it off onstage is likely to alienate at least part of your audience?
    "What is this masturbatory nonsense? G.G. Allin has sold out, man!"
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