Join us as we examine the many benefits of using guitar backing tracks to play live gigs. You’ll learn how using guitar backing tracks can improve your skills and ability as well as making practice time more enjoyable, along with the many perks of using them to play live.
One of the most beneficial learning tools for a guitarist looking to fully master the guitar is to play a lot of live gigs. Playing live shows is great for honing and perfecting your skills and abilities under the pressure of playing in front of an audience. Performing in front of an audience will help you to gauge how far you’ve come and give you a chance to entertain people and put all of that practice time to good use.
One reason why some guitarists may not do live gigs is because they aren’t in a band and have no one to back them up on stage. Others may be in a band with members who aren’t as dedicated, or don’t show up to practices, so playing a live gig would be a disaster. Whatever the reason may be, these individuals are missing out on a great teaching experience that could really help them to master their instrument by not playing live.
This is where playing live gigs with guitar backing tracks can be extremely useful. Guitar backing tracks are the serious guitar student’s most effective secret weapon for improving their playing style and perfecting their instrument. These backing tracks sound great, like a professional band playing behind you to back you up. Do ensure that you do play along to professional guitar backing tracks and not “midi” based tracks. Professional tracks are available from online shops such as Planet of Rock.
Guitar backing tracks are great for private practice sessions as well. They increase your skill
by allowing you to practice chords and scales as well as improvising solos to a live backing band. This practice experience also helps you to develop the timing skills necessary to play along with other musicians. They improve practice time by making it less dull and helping you to use the knowledge you have gained to create awesome lead work as well as perfecting rhythm techniques. By perfecting your skills with guitar backing tracks, you can also work on perfecting your tone. All great tone comes from the player’s abilities and how well they actually play; it’s not all about the fancy equipment.
Once you’ve gotten comfortable with your skills and abilities, you’re ready to put them to the ultimate test! Using guitar backing tracks for a live performance will allow you to express your creativity by using your knowledge to improvise great lead work and to thoroughly rock the crowd without worrying about your back up band messing up or missing the show.
Archive for April, 2010
A lot of people out there dream of being a professional musician, but where do you start? It’s not the easiest of tasks. With that in mind, here is a brief guide to the basics of starting a band for those of you out there in need of the broad strokes.
The first step is to get some band members! You can’t have a band without those. These might be people you already know, or if you don’t know anybody interested in being in a band. You can always check your local music magazines – people are always advertising either for band members, or are single musicians looking for bands. Another great way of finding your band members is to go to some local gigs and do some networking.
Once you have your band is assembled, the best nothing to do is arrange a meet. This will give you all the opportunity to actually get to know each other, chat, share ideas and generally connect. This is a hugely important and overlooked factor in creating a successful band. During this time, you should generally talk about you favourite bands, your influences, and most importantly what kind of music you want to play / what kind of genre you want to cater for. The music you play should ideally cater to the area you’ll be doing gigs… otherwise it is a lot harder to get people to your gigs, and then you won’t get paid or get a fan base. In short, make sure you know who your target audience is. Make sure they exist in the area you intend to play!!
Now you have got to know each other personally, you need to get to know each other musically. So, the next step is to book a venue to practise! Pubs, clubs, village halls and even scout huts will let you rent them for a few hours. We currently have a deal where the pub lets us practice there for free, provided we do one free gig a month for them… Perfect!
Once you have a practice venue, meet up and play some songs that you all are ALREADY familiar with… yes, songs you already know, even if you want to be an original band playing their own songs. The reason for this is that you can then start to connect as a band and get a feel for how you all play together and what people’s individual styles are. This is a great thing to do before you actually start to write and play your own songs and will help you in the writing process.
Next, write some songs. There are no hard and fast rules here. Sometimes one member will show up with a few ideas and everyone else pitches in and helps finish it off, and other times someone will have a whole song completed and ready to go. Sometimes 2 or 3 members might come up with something. Some members may have stronger points than others when it comes to writing, so don’t get too protective over who does what as it may hamper the process and how good the eventual outcome of the song is. Your goal is to come out with great music, so approach the writing process with a relaxed attitude and all will be fine.
Time for band practise. Go over it again and again and again until you’re totally confident you know all the parts, the starts, the stops and the endings. (Please don’t end all your songs with a ‘dunnnnnnnnnnnnnn……………dun’ band name generator.
Once you have a band name that works for you, you also want a band logo – something people will come to recognise you by. If you think of all the big bands, you’ll probably be able to recall some aspect of what their name looks like i.e. the font it used or maybe some kind of picture. This helps identify you quicker. Do not overlook it – and put it on the bass drum, once you have a good one.
Your first gig may not be paid. Sometimes you have to give to get something back. Here are a few ideas to getting gigs… Throw a party and showcase your own band. Rent out a hall somewhere and host your own band night, inviting some other local groups to play. Also, go to gigs and put the word around that your band is ready for hire. Speak to promoters, pub and club owners and have your demo tape handy. Don’t forget to put your name and contact details ON THE DEMO CD… a lot of people loose the case and then the band looses a potential gig. Invite all of your friends to your gigs. They’ll cheer a lot which does wonders for your PR.