Backing Tracks: Band O’ Bytes

Part of the reason most of us play is because we adore guitar music and we want to play the songs we love. We spend hours learning a song note-for-note for the pleasure of sounding like the bands we listen to. But now that we’ve learned the song, you probably want to play it without that pesky rock star guitar hero getting in the way. Wouldn’t it be nice to play the song along with the entire band minus the guitarist so that you can take center stage as the axeman (or axewoman)? That’s what backing tracks are for. Think of them as karaoke for guitar. A byte-sized band made up of ones and zeroes. They’re always on time and they never argue about who wears the tightest jeans.

Here’s my favorite site for backing tracks and they’re all free to use and download!

Free Guitar Backing Tracks

The site is a little blah, but there is a lot of content on it. Most of the songs are midi reproductions making them sound kinda fake and sterile. But some of them are nice live audio reproductions that even include the vocals.

There’s nothing quite like learning a song and being able to play it completely with a backing track. It’s like playing with real band.

Here is Raven, one of my students, playing “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett. The guitar you hear is Raven, the rest is a backing track! She sounds fantastic. And that was like the 5th take. Not bad!!

Here are few quick links to backing tracks of songs some of you have been learning:

Sunshine of Your Love – Cream
Fly By Night – Rush
Know Your Enemy – Rage Against The Machine
Iron Man – Black Sabbath

Playing with backing tracks will give you lots of feedback about your ability level. Since you are standing alone as the guitarist, any mistakes will be apparent. But when you get it right, it’s a great feeling.  They’re a blast and they really help you learn the song. So go on, rock out and see what you can do with these backing tracks.

For more information about me and the guitar lessons that I give, visit

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