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How useful do you find BiaB?

Hi all,

At the risk of a mundane question, just curious what you guys think about BiaB, specifically 2020, I guess. I hate it years ago from here, along with a bunch of packs, but can remember very little. Do you find it useful for the money? How so? How are the transcriptions?


pas encore, j'erre toujours.


  • Posts: 2,904

    I started working my way through it. I primarily bought it to have bass lines played by the software as I start recording more music. The GJ rhythm tracks sound great, great for backing. I'll let you know as I'm learning.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc // Guitars: Gerome, Musicalia, Bucolo et. al.
    Posts: 370

    I use iReal Pro for putting together backing tracks & play-alongs, etc.

    I re-voice the midi bass, pianos & drums with Garageband sample sounds & then record real guitars & woodwinds.

    It's 1/10 the price of BIAB.

    It might be interesting to compare the two programs, see which one is outputting the best bass lines for gypsy swing, waltzes, bossas, etc.


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  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,411

    Thanks very much guys. I probably should have stated what is probably the ridiculous, that I'm pretty heavily (re)-invested in rhythm and feel I'm probably too long in the tooth in more ways than one to try any serious lead learning. I really don't remember much. Is it (or iReal - thanks Andy) decent at all for a play along for rhythm? I realize the best is probably just joining Nin-Nin or Nous'che on an album, but, well, you know.....!


    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • Posts: 2,904

    The bass tracks sound very realistic, it's impressive. I'll record a chunk and post.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,411

    Awesome, thanks man!


    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited May 25 Posts: 1,468

    I use BIAB a lot, both for practising over and for making backing tracks to play over when i do my solo gig shtick.

    My 2013 version is getting a bit long in the tooth, but then again so am I... and who knows if I will ever be able to play a gig of any kind again due to the pandemic?

    Anyway, the price for BIAB 2020 is pretty shocking...

    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."
  • Posts: 2,904

    Here's that backing track for After You've Gone, I think this one is John Jorgenson style...

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Alves de Puga DR670; Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH600
    Posts: 280

    If you've got the bucks, the Biab and Django in a Box combo is killer. So much Django material with transcriptions to boot. And, you can manipulate time and key signature for each tune.

    Otherwise, I've had BiaB for a long time and always found it to be way too much more than I needed, but I was glad to have it anyway. The later versions add real sample instruments and rhythm styles--though too few for gypsy and not a good gypsy waltz yet. But there's plenty of styles--like Freddie Green style--that can work in GJ well. I've constructed whole tunes and practice samples and use them regularly for practice.

    In truth, for me, it's a Cadillac program, but my needs are Pinto in scope. It can be a full one-man orchestra for a pro if that's your goal. But even though it's somewhat overkill as a home practice aid, it's sweet if you can afford it. It would even work as a rhythm practice tool--just turn off everything except the bass line and maybe the percussion track.

    Before the lockdown, I also picked up a Boss RC-3 looper pedal too use as a practice tool. If you have some sort of pickup on your axe, you can record loops to practice over. But, it's so much more. It actually has room for 3 hours of loops, and you can overdub loops and save them. Some people have been known to do solo gigs with the looper as the backup band!

    BucoPassacagliaBill Da Costa Williamsbillyshakes
  • pmgpmg Atherton, CANew Dupont MD50R, Shelley Park Custom, Super 400, 68 Les Paul Deluxe, Stevie Ray Strat
    edited June 10 Posts: 138

    Another big thumbs up for BIAB. I use it every week to 1) construct backing tracks 2) print lead sheets (I have accumulated over 25,000 songs and am rarely stuck finding a tune - plus it works with midi files) 3) to learn solos from the many available players including traditional jazz, rock, blues, etc plus favorite GJ guys like Gonzalo, Jorgenson, Kliphuis (wish there were more GJ players) - it auto generates fresh real sounding solos (not crappy sounding midi stuff as it did many years ago) which you can see in notation 4) to jam with others - can alternate 4s (or whatever) with many other soloists who have recorded their stuff in real time 5) compose tunes (I would guess that BIAB is the secret weapon of many pop composers) 6) watch their video performances with notation 7) take available lessons on guitar and piano (the jazz guitar comping and chord substitution lessons are outstanding)

    The program has grown so much over the years that I am unable to keep up with all the things it can do - I probably know about 30% of it - but that is plenty and well-worth the value for me.

    Their support team (which is excellent) no longer does live support (which sucks) - but their chat capability is adequate.

    Lot's of videos on how to use it.

    I upgrade every year when the new version comes out around Thanksgiving for around $120 or so.

    Attached is quickie that I just created with John Jorgenson playing a fresh solo over Bei Dir Wer Es Immer So Schoen (Birelli changes). Took less than 30 seconds to generate (I had already built the backing track yesterday in about 5 minutes). I can trade solos with him, see the notation of his solo, etc. Very cool.

    I also have iReal Pro which is great for the lower cost - but the sound and verstility of BIAB suits me better.

    Django in a Box looks like an interesting companion - but I never quit got the hang of making it work the way they show it in the videos.

    BucoBill Da Costa Williams
    I'm always interested in jamming with experienced jazz and gypsy jazz players in the San Francisco - San Jose area. Drop me a line. Bass players welcome!
  • flacoflaco
    Posts: 38

    I have the 2018 edition of Band in a Box, plus I purchased a few of the Real Tracks. I really haven't used it at all, and anytime I have tried to use it I've struggled with it. It's such a bloated/full-featured program, and I really only need 2% of what it can do. My issue is that I don't really have enough Real Tracks purchased to get realistic sounding backing tracks, and I can't find the right settings to get even MIDI-sounding backing tracks for the right style. I think the package I got was around $200 for something that is unusable to me, and I really regret it. For most Gypsy tunes I use the free backing tracks on Denis's DC-Musicschool site. They "just work" and it lets me spend time playing rather than dealing with software. I guess the older I get the less patience I have to try and wade through all the technical issues. I get limited time to pursue guitar, and I want to spend that time playing guitar and not playing computer. 😉

    matthewkanisBill Da Costa WilliamsTwang
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