Removing brass parts from a backing track

Mark from New Zealand asked me a question about removing brass from a backing track. Here’s his question and my answer:

Hi Kenny
We are putting on the Soul & Blues show in December and need
backing tracks for our show minus backing vocals and brass as
these will be done live on the night.You have quite a few of
the tracks we require already although there are a few
missing. I have current backing tracks for these already but
they have still got the brass and some of the backing vocals.
Can you do anything with these to take them out? I understand
to take the brass out will be about 10 GBPounds per track.
Is that correct? Look forward to hearing from you.
Mark Leuthard
New Plymouth Operatic Society, New Zealand

Hi Mark

You can’t actually take instruments out of a stereo recording, so even if you have stereo backing tracks, it’s not possible to isolate the brass or any other parts and remove them.

Instrument removal can only be successfully done if you have the multi-track arrangement of the song.

Obviously we DO have multi-track master arrangements of all our backing tracks so we can open them up in the studio, and “mute” the brass parts or any other parts, and then remaster the song – that’s no problem and you’re correct, removal of one instrument would be £10 GBPounds per track (£20 GBPounds if you want more than one instrument removed).

Regarding songs that we DON’T have in our backing track catalogue, to create backing tracks from scratch of songs is obviously more expensive, because we can’t just open up the arrangement and mute the brass – we have to play and record all the drums, bass, keyboards etc all from scratch (usually hours of work).

At our studio rate of £20 per hour it could cost around £100 or so to produce each track that we don’t have in our catalogue. Certainly we wouldn’t have to play and record all the brass parts because you don’t want them in the backing track so that would save us an hour or two with each track and therefore reduce the cost a bit.

If you let me know exactly what songs you’re looking for, and how you want them recorded, I’ll give you a quote for the work…