Using MIDI files as an aide to learn a guitar part

Over the past week or so I’ve been trying to learn to play Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”.

I trawled my usual tab and sheet music sources and didn’t find anything very usable and thought I was stumped. In passing I found an uncredited MIDI file and downloaded it on the off chance it might be useful. It feels like I hit paydirt.

First I loaded the MIDI file into TuxGuitar and was able to produce tab for the piece. I had already confirmed by listening to the MIDI file that it was accurate enough for my needs. The tab that TuxGuitar turns out does need further work. For example it places the melody line down at the bottom of the neck on the higher strings, I prefer to play this melody higher on the neck on lower strings, but crucially, it gives me the right notes and I can sort the rest out myself.

I then loaded the midi file into Reaper and was able to replace the usual ropey MIDI sounds with something a bit more to my taste. Here’s the end result.

And of course, whilst it is playing in Reaper I can speed it up or slow it down, transpose, selectively mute instruments. It is the perfect backing track for my practice sessions.

If you’re interested, the drums are done using EZ Drummer. The flute/melody is Redtron’s excellent free VSTi Mellotron emulator. Bass, piano and organ are using Camel Audio’s free Alchemy VSTi.

One thought on “Using MIDI files as an aide to learn a guitar part

  1. Nicely done. I should really practice more with backing tracks. There are some really good MIDI files out there, but it’s the usual problem of finding them. I know you can pay for ‘professional’ ones, but that still involves some choice.

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