As previously noted, I started building tube amps shortly after deciding to pickup the guitar mid-life and focus on the Blues. I had never played with a band before and electric blues soloing definitely suits a band environment… so backing tracks have become an essential part of my guitar practice. I’ve taken to setting up my main amp in the living room with the stereo and using a wireless music streamer remote control to select backing tracks that can be streamed through the stereo from my PC. Occasionally I’ll drop original backing track CDs into the player directly as well. A documented set of high quality backing tracks with different tempos and keys has become another thing to collect!
There are quite a few sources of backing tracks on the Internet, at many different price points, including free. Quality varies considerably… buyer beware & sometimes you get what you pay for! Often the tracks aren’t documented at all, which may be o.k. for an experienced player but a PITA for a beginner. In the free camp, I’ve found some nice tracks from the Guitar Center King of the Blues Contest still kicking around online.
While browsing through the ClickBank marketplace I stumbled upon a nicely packaged backing track offering from 50blues.com by Zack Roberts… it is a documented set of 50 blues backing tracks produced with a real band and bundled with a number of interesting bonus items. A bonus for me was that the five free backing tracks you get to download by opting in to the email list includes a Shuffle in A which aligns nicely with my current guitar lessons and progressions. You can check out the descriptive sales letter and get access to the five free tracks… Click Here!
Another place you can find backing tracks is bundled into a book. One of my favorite finds was the backing tracks contained in the book Blues by the Bar: Cool Riffs That Sound Great over Each Portion of the Blues Progression . I initially bought this book because it seems to align well with my teacher’s approach, with riffs for each portion of the blues progression in an assortment of keys. Although I haven’t delved into the riffs in the book, yet, I was able to take advantage of the enclosed backing tracks right away… I found these simpler, slower tracks really useful to help me get a new progression ‘under my fingers’.
Now I just need to spend more time practicing than soldering!