Sometimes it’s hard to get a group of musicians together and play as band. Well, it’s darn near impossible. But if you want to play in a band setting, what do you do? Well, you get some backing tracks. They are like karaoke for guitar
Backing tracks are great for so many reasons. Generic jam tracks are useful for practicing your improvisational skills and backing tracks for real songs help you fine tune your playing over a favorite tune. I use backing tracks every day, and here’s where I get them:
Free Guitar Backing Tracks
This is a great site for finding free, user-created backing tracks for your favorite tunes. There are often several versions of each tune to choose from and the quality ranges from iffy to fantastic. The library of backing tracks covers most of the standards, but don’t expect to find deep cuts or obscure bands here.
Guitar Center’s King of the Blues
I stumbled upon this treasure trove of blues backing tracks a few years ago. Guitar Center hosts a contest to find the next blues guitar hero and they provide links to a few dozen free backing tracks so contestants can practice before the competition. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to be a contestant to download them.
Jam Track Central
The backing tracks you find here aren’t free, but you get a lot of mileage out of your dollar. You get a high quality backing track, another mp3 of a pro player — like Guthrie Govan — improvising over the backing track, and a transcription of that solo. Often times you also get a video of the pro player’s performance so you can really get a good look. Jam Track Central is a very good site.
Justin Sandercoe of justinguitar.com not only delivers quality guitar lessons from across the pond in England, he makes some damn good backing tracks too. His backing tracks are often titled in a very descriptive way, including key and genre. You can buy his backing tracks on iTunes.
If ownership of the backing track isn’t important to you, just access to it, you can use YouTube. There are lots of backing tracks for a variety of keys and genres.
For more information about me and the guitar lessons that I give in and around Baltimore, visit www.ewguitar.com.