Visit Our Catalog at for Steel Guitars, Strings, Instruction, Music and Accessories 
Forum Index
where steel players meet online
The Steel Guitar Forum

Post new topic Band in a box, Realband, ChordPulse, or something else?
Reply to topic
Author Topic:  Band in a box, Realband, ChordPulse, or something else?
Tim Russell

Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 26 Apr 2017 2:08 am     Reply with quote

Looking for accompaniment software, not really sure what I need. I know this type of software can often be overkill with a lot of unnecessary features, and a huge learning curve...which is not what I'm looking for...

It would be nice to have a band to play along with at home, since I do not have "live" musicians available, and be able to record as well. From the limited amount of information I've provided (lol) can anyone give me recommendations.

Feel free to ask any questions if you need clarification, as I'm not even sure what I need, I'm not up to date on all of the alternatives out there, and the features. Also, do the drum tracks/other instruments typically sound "canned"? Some of the youtube vids I hear sound like that...

I cannot stand the sound of those robotic sounding loop tracks, fake sounding drums that sound like a clock ticking, etc.

Thanks in advance for any info./recommendations!
Sierra Crown D-10
View user's profile Send private message
Tony Prior

Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 26 Apr 2017 3:50 am     Reply with quote

BIAB has a very simple learning curve, for simple accompaniment. Should you decide to dive in deeper for more involved arrangements you gotta put some seat time in . But for what it does, bang for the buck, it's pretty darn good and easy to use.

But, remember, it is software and requires some peripheral knowledge to get it installed and working with your PC or MAC. They all do. There will always be a few that buy it and say it doesn't work because they can't get it installed correctly. That goes without saying.

I run mine from the Hard Drive it came installed on , I never bothered to install the executable's on my PC's. I run it on 3 PC's. No issues. But each PC has a different SOUND setup to handshake with BIAB.
<b>Steel Guitar music here >>></b>

Emmons Steels, Fender Telecasters
Pro Tools 8 and Pro Tools 12
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Erv Niehaus

Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 26 Apr 2017 7:16 am     Reply with quote

I've had very good luck with BIAB. Very Happy
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Greg Cutshaw

Corry, PA, USA
Post Posted 26 Apr 2017 7:18 am     Reply with quote

It's hard to answer your question without offering a ton of suggestions based on my experience. It's kind of like wood working. You buy a radial saw then discover you want and need a planer, router, bits, more blades, sander, jigs to do more advanced projects.

Band In A Box is a great place to start and get your feet wet just making tracks. If you want more realistic tracks you will want to upgrade to BIAB RealBand with RealTracks (more money!). The more studying and learning you commit to, the more you will get out of BIAB. For example if you want custom sounding intros, endings, drum and bass parts you might want to learn how to edit midi patterns in BIAB or add your own bass parts recorded live or perhaps just learn how to force BIAB to do certain things.

For shuffle beat type country songs I find it easier and more realistic to record my own bass parts, develop my drums in EZDrummer, piano with EZKeys or BIAB, Fiddle via BIAB or my own playing, Rhythm guitar my own live tracks or BIAB. I use whatever parts BIAB gives me with RealTracks that fills the bill and roll my own to get a more custom and real sound. I actually record my real tracks onto a Zoom R24 recorder then port those to a PC where I join them with the BIAB/EZDrummer/EZKeys tracks inside of Reaper.

Yes, you can start with BIAB and add the other stuff later. Or you can start with a DAW like Reaper and record your own bass, rhythm tracks, drums with EZDrummer (just and example) and voila you have a custom track that is totally real and can end on beat 5 or beat 7 or have real drum accents and come out sounding like a real band.

Any totally easy, no hard learning, low effort, turnkey route is NOT going to give you custom sounding tracks. BIAB with RealBand and RealTracks can come pretty close though.

Here's a link that show's most of my current process before I added BIAB:

Here's a link with a summary recording process where I added in BIAB:
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Tim Russell

Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 26 Apr 2017 10:26 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for weighing in, guys.

I've toyed with this idea for several years. I have a lot of backing tracks from Bobbe, John Hughey and the like, but I've played through all of those a thousands times!

Now I resort to karaoke versions of songs on youtube...but I keep going back to the idea of Band in a box. As I had mentioned, one of my main concerns was that canned/loop sound of the drums...and even the other instruments, I guess.

I played in a band years ago, and the keyboard player had this fancy synth that included all the drum sounds, bass accompaniment, etc., and quite frankly, the canned stuff sounded horrible.

I played with them for a few months and I couldn't take it anymore.
Sierra Crown D-10

Last edited by Tim Russell on 26 Apr 2017 11:58 am; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Erv Niehaus

Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 26 Apr 2017 11:49 am     Reply with quote

The recent editions of BIAB employ "samplings" of the different instruments. If you hear a guitar, somebody actually picked that guitar, if you hear a drum, somebody was actually playing it.
There are some tracks with steel guitar on them and guess who is playing the steel guitar? Paul Franklin!
It can't get more authentic than that. Very Happy
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jim Smerk

Ohio, USA
Post Posted 28 Apr 2017 8:31 pm     Reply with quote

BiaB for realism & TONS of different styles, Chord Pulse for quick, repeating jams with Limited styles, or Jammer Pro which falls in the middle.

I just ran across one called Ludwig that looks like it will be a decent contender when it gets smoothed out.

I have used most all of them at on point or another, and IMHO BiaB is expensive, both in initial cost and updates, AND can get pretty deep into head-scratching land, but it is the best band for home musicians & studios, again IMHO. I use to do both full tracks and to fill in my original tracks of drums-bass-guitar-*cough* lap steel *cough*.

ALL "bands" that home musicians use has a learning curve, no matter WHAT you end up with. Take it slow, set a goal of 6 months to get use to it, and remember to have FUN! Cool
10-String Dom Lapsteel (for sale), Rogue RLS-1, Behringer GM108 w/a Weber CVC8, Roland Micro-Cube, B-52 AT-100 All Tube & Peavey Supreme Heads, Jet City Jetstream ii ISO box, VOX Tonelab SE, Digitech GNX4 & BP200, Peavey Raptor, Epi 400 SG, Fender Bullet Strat, Jaguar & Bronco Bass, Washburn T12 Bass, Yamaha FG450S.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Frederick Krubel

Wisconsin, USA
Post Posted 4 May 2017 2:16 am     Reply with quote

Meh BIAB is a poorly designed program. The keyboard shortcuts don't make any sense. It's overkill if you want to just play along. If you have an iPad, iPhone, or Mac, download the iReal Pro app. It's basically a simpler version of BIAB. You can download chord progressions to hundreds of standards, or quickly make your own without ever reading a manual.
If you want to make your own sounds, get Pro Tools or any DAW and start a home studio, otherwise just use your iPad. BIAB or iReal Pro is going to sound like a MIDI band. One thing that's cool about BIAB is that you can export the MIDI performance to your DAW and use virtual instruments for the rhythm section. I'd spend my time learning how to get to the recording phase instead of learning how to master BIAB. If you are going to use tracks live, use Ableton Live on a laptop. Otherwise just use any of these programs to jam along with your steel, which is worth it no matter which way you go.
The other advantage of using the iReal Pro app with a Fractal Audio Systems AX8 or AxeFX2 (I have both), is connecting my iPad to stereo input 2 and being able to output both the full steel rig and iPad to a speakers (full range flat response) without a separate mixer. I use a dual mono to stereo 1/8" to connect my iPad to the AX8. I can control my jam tracks without leaving my chair. I don't even need the computer and can use headphones. This is useful for also hooking up a cellphone, when playing a song off Youtube or your favorite music app. If you use IEM's, your band will hear the song too! Technology! Shocked
Mullen S-12 E9; Fractal Audio Systems AX8
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Jump to:  

Our Online Catalog
Strings, CDs, instruction,
steel guitars & accessories

Steel Guitar Music
Instrumental steel guitar CDs for your permanent collection

BIAB Styles
Ray Price Shuffles
for Band-in-a-Box

by Jim Baron

Please review our Forum Rules and Policies

The Steel Guitar Forum
148 South Cloverdale Blvd.
Cloverdale, CA 95425 USA

Support This Forum