Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Guitar Practice: More Benefits of Backing Tracks

In a recent post I described how I create backing tracks using my favorite CDs and a TASCAM Guitar Trainer. Here are some more benefits/options I forgot to list.

Playing against backing tracks really helps develop your chops, especially if you play a “set” during your practice routine of several songs.

Another option is to record yourself while playing along with the backing track. You can then mix it with your recording software and critique how well you accompany your favorite band both technically as well as qualitatively.

Playing along with the backing tracks gives you good practice at handling the guitar adjustments such as volume or pickup selector that may be needed depending on the song.

If you have effects pedals that you use to duplicate your favorite tones playing along gives you good practice at hitting the pedals smoothly. One track I like to play along with is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man”. In this song you go between clean electric with the guitar volume turned down for the intro and verse, overdrive for the chorus, and overdrive plus chorus for the solo to duplicate the doubling of the guitar in the original recording. When you are first starting out this is a lot to manage and playing against the backing tracks helps you get comfortable with it.

By definition, wannabe rockers starting the guitar in midlife want maximum results in minimum time. Playing along with backing tracks in dress rehearsal mode fits well into that paradigm because it means you need to exercise 5 or 6 fundamental skills in parallel rather than one or two in serial.