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Guitar Backing Tracks performing live music

Guitar Backing Tracks Performing Live Music

Many music artists are finding that performing live with guitar backing tracks has many advantages over playing guitar in a large band, having the ability to choose their own set list, plus the ability to play live at smaller venues not only gives a musician full control over what he or she plays, performing as a solo artist will also increase the earnings potential of a solo artist or duo.

In this article I take a look at the advantages and disadvantages a musician faces when deciding if guitar backing tracks are the best option for performing live gigging at music venues.

What Are Guitar Backing Tracks?

Backing tracks for guitarists are music tracks that are created to emulate a full band playing a song, the music will be recorded using multiple tracks one track for each instrument of the band, each track can be modified by removing or muting one of the tracks such as the guitar part of the song allowing a guitarist to play that part of the song when performing live but achieve a full band sound even at a small venue.

Playing to guitar backing tracks allows the guitarist to have freedom and develop the song with his or her style of guitar playing, this allows musicians to develop their own performance creating unique versions of their song choices for their audience.

How To Choose the Best Guitar Backing Tracks for Live Performance

Choosing a guitar backing track

Playing the guitar to a backing track can be a fun experience but also allow a guitarist to be adventurous with technique and style. Choosing the right backing tracks will depend on your own personal preferences with regards to music but also your playing capabilities.

If you are new to playing a guitar to backing tracks choosing a genre of music you like is beneficial such as rock, blues, or country, for example.

To begin with, start with a backing track that is not overly complicated to play as this will enable you to master playing along to a piece of music.

Once you are comfortable with playing to a less complicated guitar backing track try choose something a little more challenging, before you know it you will be able to play a number of songs you like, and add them to a set list for your live performances.

The Songs Key

Knowing what key a backing track is recorded in will not only help you establish where to begin playing the root notes on your guitar, it will also help determine if you are able to sing the song comfortably when playing live.

At Jonesy Gig we include the key of each guitar backing track on the download page, but also include a full video demo of each track to help you with song choices.

Record Your Sessions

As mentioned above playing guitar to backing tracks is fun, when you are comfortable playing along to the track it is always a good idea to record your performance and review the overall sound, use a critical ear and see if improvements can be made, in no time at all you will have some really cool licks that will impress your audience at your next live gig.

The Advantages of Playing Live with Guitar Backing Tracks

guitar backing tracks performing live

Playing to a guitar backing track has many advantages for a guitarist lets take a look at some of the best points a music artist will benefit from playing with guitar backing music.

  • Control over the type of music played in a set list without arguments from other band members.
  • The ability to play at smaller venues where a larger band would not fit.
  • Full volume control especially in small bars or function rooms where the volume would normally have to be set by an acoustic drum kit.
  • Peace of mind that your guitar playing career will not be interrupted with band members leaving, or not turning up to rehearsals.
  • Having the ability to rehearse your music in a smaller room with less equipment.
  • Less gear to transport to a venue.
  • Much less to go wrong as you are not relying on so many different instruments or amplifiers that could fail at a live gig.
  • More earnings potential with your fee going to you and not split amongst a large band.

As you can see there are many advantages playing at a live gig with guitar backing tracks, most of all I believe having full control over what you do is the most important, if you have played in large bands before then I am sure you know that other band members can cause plenty of issues on a weekly basis, having full control and only yourself to worry about eases a lot of pressure helping you to concentrate on simply playing the music that you love without interruption.

The Disadvantages of Playing Live with Guitar Backing Tracks

Ok so we have established the advantages of playing to guitar backing tracks, let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages that a solo artist or duo could face when playing to backing track music.

  • Setting up equipment on your own without the help of other band members can be tiring although many solo acts often have a friend or partner that can help with setting up gear.
  • Sound checks can be difficult in large rooms when performing alone although many musicians who perform as a solo act will use radio transceivers to their guitar and mic allowing them to do a sound check from different parts of the venue.
  • Nerves can be a disadvantage depending on the type of person you are, it is more nerve racking on your own than it is playing with the security of other band members.
  • Security is also an issue if you do not have anybody with you at a gig, after all we all have to go to the little boys or girls room at some point during a gig and leaving valuable equipment unattended can have its disadvantages.
  • Equipment failure can be a problem especially if it is the MP3 player that fails, it is always a good idea to have a backup system to avoid this problem occurring.

Guitar Backing Tracks for Different Instruments

Backing Tracks for Saxophone

It is a misconception that guitar backing tracks can only be used for guitarists, in fact they can be used as backing music for various musicians.

Firstly lets take a look at the backing tracks here on Jonesy Gig, one of the backing tracks we provide are backing music without the lead guitar part, this can be used for a solo act guitarist where the guitar player will strum along during the verse sections with the backing music then play his or her own solo during the lead breaks.

This type of backing track can easily be used by a saxophone player, a violinist, a keyboard player, or any other instrument that can play a lead role to show off their style of playing when it comes to a lead break section of the track.

Another type of backing is the bass guitar backing track, this track has the bass guitar part removed from the track to allow bass guitarists to add their own style of playing to a song and could even perform a solo act as a bassist or as part of a duo with a singer.

The tracks without the bass guitar part could be used by a double bass player or again a keyboard player who can rattle out some cool sounding bass lines on the keys.

Lastly lets take a look at the tracks without the rhythm guitar part, a keyboard player could easily use this type of backing to create some amazing sounding songs by playing the rhythm section in place of a guitar.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best guitar backing tracks are created by a real musician to replicate a real band, each instrument is played in the same way that it would be if playing live which gives a better live performance feel to a song. In most cases this type of guitar backing track is more costly than say a midi track, or a backing track that is pure with no real feeling to the music. Jonesy Gig Backing Tracks is a great source of guitar backing tracks that provide a real band feel when playing music live.

If playing to an audience live with guitar backing tracks a click track would sound unprofessional, a click track is fine for jamming at home with guitar backing tracks. Playing live to backing tracks it is best to have a professional backing track that has a real sounding intro and ending so that a guitar player can follow the pattern of the drums for example.


Overall playing live at a venue using guitar backing tracks is a rewarding and fun way to make a living playing your guitar and singing to some great tunes, their is much less equipment to worry about and having the ability to play your full set list at a smaller venue can provide you with much more work.

The cost of professional guitar backing tracks is much less than buying equipment for a full band plus when you get paid at the end of a great gig all the money is yours and you don’t have to split it with other band members.

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