20 February 2009

Beginner Guide to Guitar Jam Tracks

If you are a beginner guitar player you might not know what jam tracks are, nor why they are so useful. This post aims to correct that by giving you the lowdown on what they are, how to use them, and gives you a few personal recommendations.

Now, let's get jamming...

What Are Jam Tracks?

A jam track is a song that has been recorded with only a rhythm section. The simplest can consist of only drums and bass, but many include other guitars or piano.

You play a jam track on your CD, portable music player or PC and add your guitar parts over the backing. It's much more fun and creates a better sound than just you and your guitar - assuming you don't play too many false notes, of course :-)

Playing with a jam track has four major benefits:

1. You can hear what the music should sound like.

2. You learn to play in time with the backing band.

3. It's fun and helps your motivation.

4. You learn to listen to the rest of the band as you play.

You can find excellent quality jam track recordings in numerous styles. Not only will they cost you a lot less than hiring a real backing band, they will also play for as long as you like without demanding beer.

How To Use Jam Tracks

Jam tracks are often used to practice solos, after all everyone dreams of being a guitar hero. But there is no reason to limit yourself to solo practice.

You will get most benefit when you use jam tracks as a backing for all kinds of practice. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.

1. Listen to them to learn and study your chosen style.

2. Practice chord changes. Get used to the chord sounds in context.

3. Play scales to hear how they sound over the backing chords.

4. Play rhythm guitar along with the band. Try out different chord positions to see how they sound.

Jam Track Recommendations

There are many high quality jam tracks available. Here are a few recommendations based on my experience.

Play Guitar With... from Wise Publications. This series of jam tracks covers many popular rock and pop bands from the 60s through to present day.

Jamorama guitar learning system includes 26 high quality jam tracks.

Play blues? Then 50 Blues is just what you need. You get 50 realistic blues backing tracks recorded by professional musicians. In mp3 download format complete with chord grids, scale suggestions and some free blues video lessons.

Rhythm Licks is a useful collection of rock, pop and blues rhythm licks in tab notation. Each lick is accompanied by a jam track you can practice with.

The list is by no means exhaustive, just some stuff I'm familiar with, so don't be afraid to try out some others too.

Now you know that jam tracks are an excellent tool to learn guitar. Don't try to learn without them. Good jam tracks are inexpensive and you can use them for years. So what are you waiting for? Get jamming today...

Recommended: Learn to play guitar with 153 step by step video lessons, jam tracks, ear training and music reading software. Try it today with Jamorama complete guitar learning system.

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2 comments:

Brandon said...

I use a free website: jamstudio.com . In just a couple of minutes I can create a jam track that includes a drum track, bass track, guitar if I want, or many other instruments. There are lots of styles to choose from. I use it a lot without a guitar track to practice my rhythm timing.

Gary Fletcher said...

Hi Brandon, Looks like a great tool. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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