What Is A Guitar Backing Track?


A guitar backing track is a recorded accompaniment played by a musician or band to support a singer or solo performer. Backing tracks are often used in live performances and can be found on albums and online.

In this article, I’ll go over some of the basics of guitar backing tracks and provide links to some great examples.

So without further ado, let’s get started…

What is a Guitar Backing Track?

Backing tracks allow guitarists to include sections to their songs that would be difficult or impossible to perform live, such as string sections or choir parts recorded in the studio.

A backing track can be utilized by a one-person band (for example, a singer-guitarist) to add any amount of bass, drums, and keyboards to their live performances without the expense of hiring additional musicians.

Bands that are small or modest in size (such as a power trio) may use backing tracks to add strings, horns, drumming, or background vocals to their live performances.

It’s also common for bands to use backing tracks to allow the lead vocalist and drummer to have a duet, as in some cases it might be difficult for them to hear each other well enough without those additional instrumentals.

Some bands use backing tracks to allow the lead vocalist or drummer to perform with prerecorded material that isn’t appropriate for their live show.

There are many genres of music where this is common, such as hip-hop and rap groups who often incorporate sampled vocals into their shows.

How Can I Get Guitar Backing Tracks?

The easiest way to find backing tracks is to visit your favorite online retailer.

There are also some great examples of guitarists who have uploaded their own backing tracks that are available for free or purchase.

You can find these examples by googling the phrase “guitar backing tracks” or going onto YouTube or visiting this website.

How Do Guitar Backing Tracks Work?

When using a guitar backing track, the guitarist uses his guitar to reproduce any parts of the track that are not already played by other musicians in the band.

In this way, a guitar backing track is actually a form of fake book or lead sheet transcription, where all non-percussive portions of the recording have been transcribed and simplified for the purposes of supporting the live performance.

The specific guitar parts must be simplified (rather than the entire track), because while some musicians may be able to produce multiple or even all of the non-percussive parts of the recording, few guitarists can do so without outside assistance (for example, an effects pedal that reproduces an orchestral section).

In a live performance, a guitarist may use a backing track on a CD or from an MP3 player.

However, the most common practice is to transmit the signal from the studio recording to an amplifier and speakers as though it were being played by another musician.

In this case, the guitar must be connected to an external input on the amplifier.

If the guitarist has no external input, he or she can use an internal pickup, which allows them to amplify their guitar through the PA system in addition to using it for the backing track.

For an even more accurate rendition of the studio recording, some musicians may use special pickups that capture every nuance of their guitar performance and send it to an amplifier, mixer, and recording device.

How Is Guitar Backing Track Music Notated?

In addition to simply showing the chord name above each note, guitar backing tracks may include chord symbols as well as fretboard diagrams that show where to place one’s fingers on the neck of the guitar.

They can also be notated with a standard guitar tab.

Unlike lead sheets, which are meant to be read by the musicians themselves, backing tracks may also contain extensive annotations about how they should sound.

For example, these notes might remind the guitarist that she wants to use an Am (A minor) chord rather than an A (natural) chord or that he wants to play the riff from the second measure twice as opposed to just once.

What Is The Tone Of Guitar Backing Tracks?

Backing tracks typically consist of a single-instrument accompaniment such as an electronic drum kit or CD accompaniment, which is meant to provide a rhythmic and harmonic foundation for the guitarist.

This means that they are not intended to stand on their own, but instead support another instrument.

The tone of backing tracks is usually heavily modified so that it does not sound like a full ensemble or band.

If the guitarist is using an amplifier with an external input for his guitar, he will need to change the tone of the track through his amplifier in order to achieve the desired tone.

How Do Guitar Backing Tracks Differ From A Musical Score?

The main difference is that guitar backing tracks do not contain all of the different parts of a piece of music.

While this might seem obvious, it needs to be pointed out because some people believe that such accompaniments can replace sheet music.

Additionally, guitar backing tracks are simplified so that they only provide the non-percussive components of a recording.

They are reduced to the essentials so musicians can reproduce what is happening in the studio track.

However, musical scores typically do not include all of these parts either.

The rhythm section part contains only the basic elements of the song, but it is more than just a guitar tablature or chord chart.

Are Guitar Backing Tracks A Viable Substitute For Teachers?

There are many different styles of music for which guitar backing tracks can be used to improve one’s performance skills, but they cannot substitute entirely for lessons with an instructor.

Even though many guitar instructors recommend using backing tracks as a way to improve their students’ timing, phrasing, and dynamics, they are not effective for teaching the basics of improvisation or learning music theory.

Without an instructor, there is no guarantee that any given musician will play all of the parts correctly unless she has some previous experience with the song.

What Does A Guitar Backing Track Not Have?

There are some things that guitar backing tracks do not provide, which is why they cannot be considered a complete substitute for teachers or sheet music.

Backing tracks do not have lyrics, so people who are learning to play songs with vocals will need either another copy of the song or a vocal transcription.

Additionally, they do not have sheet music for the other instruments in the band.

This means that a guitarist who is practicing with a backing track will need to get separate tracks for drums and bass so she can play along with them.


Q: What Is The Purpose Of Guitar Backing Tracks?

A: They are meant to be played in accompaniment with other musicians who have their own parts.

By learning how to play certain guitar parts with a backing track, musicians can train themselves to perform more accurately when playing with others.

Q: What Are Some Different Kinds Of Guitar Backing Tracks?

A: There are three main types of guitar backing tracks. The first is a drummer playing along with a drum kit, which can be used as an accompaniment for other musicians who will play the melody and other parts over it. The second type is called “click track,” which consists of just a metronome. This is often used as a practice tool so musicians can work on their timing and rhythm without having to worry about playing with other people. The third type of guitar backing track is one that has the drumbeat but also contains the bass line and other parts like keyboards or horns.

Q: How Do I Use Guitar Backing Tracks When I’m Playing With Other Musicians?

A: It is important to follow the proper etiquette when using backing tracks. First, make sure that everyone knows you are using a guitar track by saying something like, “I’ll be using a click track.” Then, make sure you actually turn it on and off at the appropriate times so that it does not interfere with the other musicians’ performances.

Q: Where Can I Find Guitar Backing Tracks?

A: There are many places to find free guitar backing tracks on the internet, from sites like YouTube and Wikipedia to social music sharing platforms like SoundCloud. Some websites provide a subscription service for members, who can download full songs as backing tracks with the appropriate software.

Q: Is There Anything That Can’t Be Played With A Guitar Backing Track?

A: Yes, guitar backing tracks are mainly designed for musicians who want to practice parts without an instructor present. They cannot be used for learning new songs or improvisation because there is no way to know if what you are playing is correct. Guitar backing tracks also do not have sheet music for other parts, which means they cannot be used as a substitute for records or sheet music.

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