One Person Band!

Create Your Own Band Write Your Own Songs Use Music Backing Tracks Create Your Own Backing Tracks

Be The One Person Underground Band!

A Lot of Fun Can Be Had By Creating Your Very Own Underground Band. As Well, There Are Numerous Advantages:

  • You Decide The Style of Music To Be Played

  • You Can Sculpture The Sound To Your Taste

  • You Can Practice & Play At Your Leisure, No Start Times, No End Times!

  • Experiment With Different Musical Ideas Is Easy

  • You Can Learn & Develop At Your Own Pace

  • You Are Not Reliant On Others or Maybe, There Are No Others To Rely On!

  • You Can Record, Mix & Release Songs In Your Time Frame & Style!

  • This Does Not Diminish The Value of Playing With Others

    • Rather, Provides A Different Avenue For You To Explore

  • Listen To My Attempts At Being The One-Person Band

One-Person Band!

Start Simple & Develop Your Sound

In This Article We'll Look At:

  • Getting Started

  • The Gear Required

  • Doing A Recording Session

Where To Start?

Being A One-Person Underground Band Has It's Challenges

  • You're The Only Musician!

    • You Need To Learn More About Other Instruments

  • Nobody To Bounce Ideas Off

  • You Need To Arrange Your Song or Loop

    • Work Out Where Other Instruments Best Fit

    • Get An Understanding of Mixing Principles

Because You're The Only Musician You Need To Record A Backing Track or Loop. That Way, You Can Improvise Either Solos or Vocals, Just As a Band Might Do. From This You Gain A Ton of Experience, The Same As a Band, And Generate New Ideas.

It's Best To Start Simple,

  • First, You'll Learn More About Your Gear

  • Learn About Best Volume Levels For Different Parts

  • Use of Effects & Settings For Best Recording

  • Work Out Your Procedures Before Recording A Big Song!

By Start Simple I Mean, Record One Track of Say, Drums To Accompany Guitar or, Synth To Accompany Drums. This Can Be Done On A Loop Pedal or Recorded On The PC, Using A DAW or, Even On Your Mobile Device Using An App. "Loopy HD" For iPhone, As An Example, Has A Multi Track Recording Feature.

This Will Give You Some Recording Experience & In Particular, Getting Volume Levels Right, Called Gain Staging.

The Gear Required

To Begin With, You Probably Already Have Much of The Gear. The Following Will Get You Started:

  • Your Main Instrument, Whether Guitar, Percussion, Wind etc.

  • A Keyboard, Start Simple. Many Have Drum & Bass Sounds

  • A Bass Guitar or Keyboard For Your Bass Lines

  • A Drum Pad or Keyboard For Percussion

  • A Way of Recording Your Sounds, Either A Loop Pedal or DAW (My Recommendation)

    • If Using A Looper, Then Use One That Can Save Your Creation

    • If Using A DAW, Then Obviously A PC

    • An Audio Interface To Connect Your Sound Source To Your PC

  • Microphone of Reasonable Quality

  • An Amplifier, To Listen To Your Creations & Jam Along

  • Good Quality Speakers On Your PC or Headphones For Studio Monitoring

  • Various Cables

All This Gear Will Allow You To Record, Mix & Layer Sounds. You Can Create Your Own Backing Tracks or Complete Songs To Jam Along With.

A Recording Session

Before Commencing A Recording Session, Decide The Beat, Tempo, Number of Bars & Chord Format.

Here's An Example of A Blues Loop:

  • Beat - Straight Beat of Even 1/8ths (dit dit dit dit dit dit dit dit)

  • Tempo - Moderate Tempo Say 112 bpm

  • Number of Bars - 12 Bars

  • Chord Format - E A B (Typical 12 Bar Blues Progression)

First Step

Connect Your Sound Source To The PC Via The Audio Interface or, To Your Loop Pedal.

In The Following Example I Use Various Instruments But, You Don't Have To:

  • For Drums - Tap Your Guitar Body

    • Finger Nails For Hi Hats

    • Hand Slap For Snare

    • Also Raking Muted Strings

  • For Bass - Muted Guitar Strings

  • For Effects - Vocal Popping or Sounds

  • Also, Record via Your Mic, Various Sounds Like Shakers etc.

I Usually Begin By Recording The Drums As Follows:

  • Record The Hi Hats. If Using A Loop Pedal You May Have The "Free" Track Setting So You Only Need 1 Bar of Hi Hats. The "Free" Setting Will Play The Hi Hats Over & Over. If Using A DAW, Record A Few Bars And Select The Best Ones Then, Copy & Paste For The 12 Bars. Do The Same For Snare And Kick Drum

  • Record The Snare, Let's Say On The Backbeat, That Is, On The Beat of 2 & 4

  • Now Record The Kick, Say On Beat 1 & 3

  • If You Are Using A Loop Pedal I Suggest Copying The Hi Hat To Another Memory Slot And Layer The Snare On This. That Way, If You Make a Mistake You Can Go Back One Step And Restart. I Know, Most Pedals Have An Undo Function But There Is Nothing Worse Than Losing The Lot Due To A Dumb Mistake!! Do The Same With Your Next Layer. Using A DAW Is Simple, Record On Separate Tracks Then Use Copy & Paste

  • Don't Forget To Get Your Recording Levels Right, Between -12dB to -6 dB. Avoid Clipping!

  • On A Loop Pedal, Find The Best Volume For Your Instrument When Recording That Gives Consistent Results When Played Back Through Your Amp

Second Step

I Now Record The Bass Line As Follows:

  • Record The Bass Riff or Bass Line. Be Careful With Recording Levels. The Bass Notes Have A Lot of Energy So It Is Easy To Get Distortion On Some of The Notes. If You Use A Bass Guitar Consider Using A Compressor To Tame The Beast. Keyboards Are Not As Bad Compared To The Bass Guitar For This

  • If Using Your Acoustic or Electric Guitar, Mute The Strings Slightly To Give A "Thud" Sound

  • You Can Use An Octave Pedal To Get Bass Sounds From Your Guitar, Especially In Live Situations But, For Recording, I Prefer A Real Bass Guitar. I Use The Boss GT-1B Bass Effects Pedal With In Built Audio Interface

  • Keep Recording Levels Between -12dB to -6 dB

  • The Bass Can Follow The Kick On Beats 1 & 3 Plus One or Two Notes To Give The Bass Lines Some "Swagger"!

Third Step

Rhythm Guitar or Keyboard Is Next:

  • Record Your Rhythm Guitar For The 12 Bars. Try And Capture The Guitar Sound As You Would Like To Hear It In The Recording

  • You Can Mic Your Amp For An Electric Guitar, Plug Direct In (DI) To Your Audio Interface Via Pedals If You Like, Mic Your Acoustic or, Plug The Electro Acoustic Into The Audio Interface. Experiment To Find The Best Sound With Your Setup. I Use The Boss AD-10 Acoustic Preamp Which Has A Built In Audio Interface & Plenty of Effects Although, I Usually Only Use The Compressor & Slight EQ Effects For Recording.

  • Recording Direct From A Microphone Will Sound Quite Different Compared To Recording Direct Into Your Audio Interface. Similarly, If You Plug Into A Loop Pedal. Once You Have A Nice Sound Write Down All Your Settings For Later Recall or Use Some Tape On Your Pedals etc. And Mark The Settings

  • An Electro Acoustic Guitar, Plugged Into A Looper, Will Need Some Juggling of The Guitar Tone Control To Get The Sound Right Compared To Recording Into A DAW, Where You Can Play With An EQ Plugin To Sculpture The Desired Sound

  • Consider A Double Take of The Acoustic Guitar To Get A Fuller, More Even Sound, Depending On The Song of Course. You Don't Have To Play Perfectly To The First Take, So "Don't Sweat On It", The Result Will Still Sound Good!

  • If Using An Electric Guitar Don't Overdo Using Effect Pedals! You Can't Undo These If Used In The Live Recording. If Using A DAW, You Can Add Effects As You Go But, "Less Is More" So Don't Overdo It!

  • Try To Get An Even Volume & Tone. If Using A Loop Pedal Consider A Compressor/Sustain Pedal or, If Using A DAW Use A Compressor Plugin. Don't Overdo Compression, Ratio's Around 2 - 4 :1 & Threshold So That The Compressor Is Just Working On The Louder Signals. This Will Keep The Dynamics of The Signal And Not Sound Flat or Squashed.

  • Recording The Keyboard Is Generally A Bit Simpler. One Problem Thou Is The Multitude of Sounds Available! Experiment Before Recording. Jam Along To Your Creation And Change Sound Patches Until You Find The Right One.

Fourth Step

Add Some Ear Candy: (An Expression Used By Warren Huart From Produce Like A Pro - See Links)

  • Your Band Is Taking Shape. You Now Have Drums, A Bass Line, Rhythm Guitar, Keys or Wind. It's Time To Consider Some "Ear Candy"

  • Adding A Few Notes Here & There Can Lift The Sound To The Next Level & Introduce Life Into An Otherwise Repetitious Performance

  • Perhaps Some Rhythm Fill Via Guitar or Keys. Just Short Notes or, Maybe A Short Solo On Another Track That Can Be Start/Stopped On The Looper Pedal or, Included As An Extra Track In Your DAW. What About Adding A Tamborine or Woodblock Beat. The Choices Are Endless. Again, Don't Overdo It!

  • Use Panning, Especially Automated Right/Left Panning If Appropriate

Creating Your Final Mix:

  • If Using a DAW You Can Now Mix Your Creation. Read This Article On Mixing Song Parts For Ideas.

  • If Using A Loop Pedal It Is Important To Balance Your Recording Volumes As You Go. Using A Multi Track Looper Has The Advantage of Adjustable Track Volumes To Balance Tracks But Make Sure You Adjust The Track Volume In "Track Edit" Mode, If Available, Not On The Front Panel. That Way, The Volumes Will Be Saved For That Loop Otherwise, Each Time You Call Up A New Memory Slot You Have To Readjust All The Levels!! Not An Easy Task, And Who Remembers All That Detail Anyway!

  • Experience Is A Real Asset When Using A Looper. You Will Find The Best Settings So, Experiment & Note Settings

  • You Now Have A Finished Backing Track That You Can Play On The PC or Loop Pedal, Upload To Your USB Enabled Loop Pedal If You Used A DAW or, Transfer To Your Mobile Device

  • My Tip For Exporting Your Creation Is To Use Wav Files (A Must For Uploading To A Loop Pedal) or, For Streaming, You Could Convert Your Wav File To mp3 Via "Audacity", If Your DAW Doesn't Have That Export Option

  • As For The Export Volume Level, A Loop Pedal Will Require About -27 LUFS, Depending On How You Setup Your Gain Chain & Amp Volume. For A Wav File Player -14 LUFS Is The Standard.

  • If You Have A USB Enabled Loop Pedal You Can Copy Your Loop To A PC For Further Processing, Upload To The Cloud, Share With Others, Store As A Backup To Upload Back To Your Pedal & So On.


Jam Along To Your Very Own One Person Band! What Will You Call Yourself?

Checkout The Freebies Section In The Song Pack Store To Get Enthused And Started As, A One - Person Underground Band!

Read More About Music Backing Tracks & Backing Tracks For Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboard, Drums. Also Read More About Looper Pedal Backing Tracks & Busking Music Backing Tracks. Listen To Busking Music & Busking Loops or Try The Free Learn Guitar-Bass-Drums Lessons! Checkout Musician Resources.

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Learn Guitar-Bass-Drums By Busk'n Servant

Mixing Song Parts - Tips

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Playing In A Band - Tips

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