Guitar backing tracks are a resource that every guitar player looks for at some point during their guitar journey. I know I did. They’re extremely useful for anyone who is exploring the exciting world of lead guitar experimentation and improvisation in particular and they’re a very musical way of putting all those techniques and scales into practice.
In this article, we will be looking into some of the places that a guitarist can quickly and easily access guitar backing tracks as well as ways of quickly creating them.
What are guitar backing tracks?
Before we begin, it’s important that we all know exactly what I’m referring to by the phrase guitar backing tracks.
Let’s keep it simple. When I say guitar backing tracks, I’m talking about a recording of rhythmic accompaniment that guitarists can use as a tool primarily for practicing lead guitar.
These backing tracks are virtually limitless. You’ll be able to find them in all the different keys and with a huge range in tempo. You’ll also notice that guitar backing tracks can be found in a multitude of moods and in virtually all genres such as blues, jazz, rock, funk and heavy metal just to name a few.
But where do we find them? Read on and find all the possibilities.
Guitar Backing Tracks on YouTube
YouTube is one of the most popular websites in the world and over the years, it’s become the first place that people head to when they need information and educational resources and for many, this includes guitar backing tracks.
In fact, YouTube was the first place I looked when I decided to experiment with backing tracks and this was back in the day, when YouTube was all buffering and movies split up into nine minute chunks and even back then, I wasn’t short on results.
I was all about the blues at that point in time so I was using search terms like 12 bar blues backing track in A minor and I was never disappointed.
I would always find results either exactly matching or closely matching my query and even the results that were further away from my exact query proved useful as I would find great backing tracks that I wasn’t even looking for.
Then there’s the rabbit hole of related videos. Once you click on a backing track in YouTube, you’re shown a bunch of closely related ones on the same page which often leads to long and varied backing track practice sessions and this is exacerbated by YouTube’s auto play feature which will automatically play a new backing track without you having to do anything.
The only drawback to using YouTube for backing tracks is the quantity of adverts before and after the videos but this is more of an inconvenience and annoyance than anything else.
If you can ignore the ads, you can quite easily use YouTube and YouTube alone for guitar backing tracks. It’s a deep ocean for backing tracks but it’s not the only way to do it.
Guitar Backing Tracks on Websites
YouTube maybe the first place guitarist players tend to go but it isn’t your only option when it comes to guitar backing tracks. There’re plenty of other options out there both inside and outside the box.
The next most obvious way of locating quality guitar backing tracks would be to conduct a search on your search engine of choice and just like with YouTube, you’ll find a big list of results.
Here are just a few of the options that I found when I searched for guitar backing tracks in Google.
Lick Library is an online learning platform for guitarists that boasts a gigantic collection of backing tracks. The service offers both band and artist specific lessons as well as guitar backing tracks for your favourite songs and unfeatured tracks in different genres. The backing track collection over at Lick Library is over 1000 tracks strong so definitely worth checking out.
Guitar Tone Master
Guitar Tone Master is another website with an enormous library rammed full with quality backing tracks. This time, the collection is 3000+ and there’re bass backing tracks and drum backing tracks in addition to the guitar backing tracks. At Guitar Tone Master, you’ll find an incredibly well organised filter system as well as visual aids that tell you about the chords and scales involved with the track you’re using.
Another option is Guitar Maps who offer a wide selection of guitar backing tracks that are sorted into style and key. Each track is accompanied by a video which displays the chords that are used as well as a map of the scale notes that will work over the track. You’ll also find a link that will allow you to download the tracks that you enjoy using. An easy to navigate site and another great choice.
Guitar Voice is an absolutely huge website focused on delivering backing tracks to guitar players. You’ll find tracks in multiple genres and the count of tracks is over 10,000 and they’re all available for download should you wish to do so. The backing tracks found here are perhaps the most unique and they’ll certainly provide you with a lot of variation in sound because these backing tracks are created and uploaded by members of the guitar community.
Backing Tracks Pro
Backing Tracks Pro is another website that offers a large selection of original backing tracks for multiple instruments including guitar. Like other options on this list, you’ll find backing tracks in multiple genres. Backing Tracks Pro is a paid service so it’s up to you to decide whether the tracks here are worth paying for as there are clearly a lot of free alternatives as we’ve already discovered.
As you may be able to tell by the name of this site, Karaoke version offers a service that focuses on backing tracks for real songs. There are miscellaneous backing tracks there too but the focus is definitely on recordings from big artists, and all your favourite tracks are there. If you want to play guitar alongside some amazing guitar classics, Karaoke Version may be the place to go
Guitar Backing Tracks on Spotify
Looking for a backing track solution that’s insanely fast and easy with zero drawbacks? If so, guitar backing tracks on Spotify may be the way forward for you.
I’ve never actually thought of searching Spotify for backing tracks until today but in just a few short minutes, I was able to find a boat load of high quality backing tracks in multiple genres.
Simply typing the words guitar backing tracks into Spitify’s search bar generated an astronomical amount of results and more refined searches didn’t disappoint either when I searched by genres such as blues backing tracks, jazz backing tracks and hard rock backing tracks.
The quality is high and the tracks are in front of you with just a few seconds work. Don’t forget that you can make your own backing track play list too.
Creating mini guitar backing tracks with a phrase loop
So far, I’ve talked only of ways of locating backing tracks online but another option you have is making your own. A very fast, easy and convenient way of creating your own mini backing tracks is by using a phrase loop pedal. This method is something that I personally do quite often because it’s so simple and quick. Just hit the pedal and record a short guitar part and then simply play over the top of it afterwards.
I didn’t have to obtain any new equipment to do this as my Boss multi effects pedal already had the feature (the me80 pedal) but here’s another couple of options should you be interested in this approach.
This is a great way of practicing with accompaniment because you’re in complete control of what’s sitting behind your lead playing. A word of warning about this approach though. It can be very very addictive.
Using a Drum Machine as a Backing Track
then act as your backing track, allowing you to practice your lead guitar to a beat.
The lack of supporting pitched instruments may seem like a drawback and in one way it is. You’re overall sound will sound not very fleshed out and may feel sparse but believe it or not, using just drums as your backing track can be very beneficial.
The lack of bass and backing chords for example means that you can focus solely on locking into the rhythm which is an incredibly important part of your playing and a part of playing that many guitarists don’t get the hang of very quickly. Another benefit is that you can play much more freely as you’re not having to worry about matching up with other pitched instruments.
You can set the tempo to any BPM you desire and you can even choose between genres.
Here are a couple of options that you may wish to consider.
Guitar backing tracks in Apps
Another route we can go down is the exciting world of apps. There are a few different apps that you can find which offer guitar backing tracks. Here are a couple of options.
Backing Tracks Guitar Jam Ultimate Music Playback
Backing Tracks Guitar Jam is a jam packed app with long lists full of backing tracks in different styles and keys. The tracks are all great quality and the range of sounds on offer is impressive. A neat filter system allows you to easily navigate your way around and the handy favourites heart button will prove very useful. I’m also a fan of the shuffle button which is a great way to test your versatility and adaptability. The track key and tempo are listed directly beneath the title too. Overall very clean and easy to use and great fun can be had with that shuffle button.
The Bandtrackit app offers high quality guitar backing tracks in a range of styles. You can watch the chord progressions as you jam along and get guidance on scales too. You can also choose to alter the EQ if you like. The range of tracks is impressive and you can even find backing tracks in the styles of your favourite artists such as a Joe Satriani style backing track or a Good Fighters style backing track. Not all tracks are available on the free version of the app but plenty are and you can even change the key and screw around with the tempo too. Oh and one more thing. The premium version only costs a few tiny £/$. Not monthly. Just a one off payment and you unlock everything.
I haven’t covered every option
This article is now drawing to a neat conclusion and I’m getting the urge to include this little disclaimer for the simpler minded of you out there.
Just like the heading says, I haven’t covered EVERY option. It wouldn’t be possible to do so. For example, there would be no way of finding every independent website that offers backing tracks for guitarists so I simply found a few good examples.
I’ve also talked about YouTube and Spotify but I haven’t touched on other video and music streaming platforms because I’m working on the assumption that those reading don’t need their hand holding and will follow the logic and search similar platforms.
I have to draw the line somewhere because times change. New platforms emerge and some die out and I can’t micromanage a list like this as I have a life. If you notice an option on the article that’s no longer valid or if you know of another option that I’ve missed, feel free to let me know and I’ll try to update with new info.
I have also completely ignored backing tracks on CDs as this approach is pretty much redundant and I’ve also omitted the prospect of creating guitar backing tracks in a DAW. That’s a big subject that needs a dedicated article. Perhaps another day.
I think we’ve come at this from enough angles so this is probably the right time to wrap this one up. I’ve tried to stay true to the subject matter of finding/creating guitar backing tracks so you’ll notice that I’ve avoided general guitar backing track tips and advice but there is one tip that I can’t ignore and it’s a simple one.
DO NOT get stuck in the trap of using the same handful of guitar backing tracks over and over again day in day out. Doing that is a sure fire way if getting good at playing over those specific tracks and not much else. If you use the same backing tracks over and over, you’re gonna have a bad time.
There is a lot of variation out there in key, tempo, mood, vibe and even genre. Use this abundance to your advantage and you’ll become a more rounded guitarist!
If you found this article on guitar backing tracks useful, these others may prove interesting. This one teaches you about the 8, 16 and 24 bar blues structures and this one here teaches you some jazz chord progressions. Also, don’t forget to check out my latest guitar lesson on a Link Wray classic. Here is the Rumble TAB and guitar lesson.
Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.