So, let’s say you’re just starting out and you don’t have a band to jam with – or you’re studying scales, improvisation & famous guitar covers on your own and you need to get into the groove. That’s exactly what a backing track offers you.
A backing track is just like karaoke for guitar players: your favorite songs with the lead guitar removed and all the other instruments sounding great and inspiring you to play along! Also, particular backing tracks (also called jam tracks) are simply cool instrumental pieces of music you can play over, experimenting with new guitar techniques, riffs, tones & so on.
That only leaves us with one question: how can you get your hands on some great backing tracks and, more than this, how do you download them freely? Well, most of the legendary guitar songs we’ve all grown up with are all over the place (like “Hotel California” or “Sweet Child O’Mine”) so a simple Google search will be enough to get you jamming. Specialized repertoire like blues, jazz classics or funk anthems will be sometimes hard to find – not to mention contemporary like John Mayer’s songs or guitar jewels like the rare tracks of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani.
I’ve gathered a few of my favorite links where you can get free backing tracks / guitar jam tracks, to get you playing along right away, without having to pay:
Jamtrackcentral.com – I absolutely love this one because, besides tons of free stuff, it offers actual studio backing tracks from amazing players like Paul Gilbert, Zakk Wylde, Guthrie Govan and even Joe Satriani. Click here for the completely free jam tracks section and also check out the official “Erotic Cakes” special package, featuring full length mp3 backing tracks from Guthrie Govan’s debut album, a 76 page PDF booklet with tab transcriptions of all composed parts, plus scale tips to develop your improvisational skills – all written by Guthrie himself.
Guitarbackingtrack.com is very useful for evergreen lovers and young guitarists who want to polish their skills on truly legendary songs like “Canon Rock”, “Still Got The Blues”, ”Back In Black” or “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. New backing tracks are added on a regular basics, even though classics never die :)
Guitarvoice.com will surely ease the pain of going through numerous search results while your fingers are burning to jam. From inspiring instrumental tracks to improvise to (organized by genre, key and tempo) to all-time best covers selection, this little site has all the goodies needed to get you groovin’. All you have to do is plug in your electric guitar, turn on your practice amp and roooooock!
Guitarlessons.com/jam-tracks I’ve always advised my students (especially beginners) to play with a metronome – it is essential to get to “feel” the groove and get used to always playing in time, but the tick-tock sound can get really annoying after a while :) You can use this selection of practice backing tracks to improve not only your connection to the groove, but also your stylistic guitar playing.