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Can anyone recommend a site or source that has good backing tracks with guitar? I find myself playing with guitarists a lot- I jam with a guitar duo doing a friendly garage thing and am also in a band that covers rock and country that actively does gigs. I feel I need to get better at recognizing the key these guys are playing in and thought I could improve if I practiced more with recorded guitar. I am struggling with recognizing the "auxiliary" notes I can play beyond root and how to expand beyond unison with the strings- second guessing myself when I try to venture out in my fills or solos. Maybe some other advice on how to get better there...
 

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Many of the backing tracks on Youtube are guitar-based. Just get comfortable in those sharp keys, the neighborhood of B,E,A, and you'll do fine with guitarists. And don't be surprised if they take a song that's in Eb and quietly move it to E for their convenience!
 

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Many of the backing tracks on Youtube are guitar-based. Just get comfortable in those sharp keys, the neighborhood of B,E,A, and you'll do fine with guitarists. And don't be surprised if they take a song that's in Eb and quietly move it to E for their convenience!
All the time, Take Five: 4#s
 

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I feel I need to get better at recognizing the key these guys are playing in...
You could start by asking them what key the tune is in. Eventually you'll be able to figure out the key by hearing the tonal center. I usually have to play a few notes to do this. It's always best to know the key prior to the downbeat, though.

This isn't limited to playing with a guitarist. You'll have to know the key regardless of the instrumentation.
 

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Seems rare to find anything but guitar players to play with any more. You can learn to recognize guitar chords which is easier than it sounds as most guitar players use a pretty limited number of chord forms. Starting in pentatonic then filling out may let you back in while still sounding good. And yea.. learn to play with lots of sharps. Keys on a tenor of F#, B, A are common. I've gotten to where any number of sharps is fine but a few flats will take concentration. In many tools like iRealB you can set the key to whatever you want. Just pick something common for guitar.
 

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I think you folks are playing with some pretty new and inexperienced guitar players, or maybe really lazy ones. A half-way decent guitarist can play in any key. It's a C-instrument, same as piano.
 

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You could start by asking them what key the tune is in. Eventually you'll be able to figure out the key by hearing the tonal center..snip....
Yup...Even with a stage full of players who've never met, you can play some surprisingly good blues with some simple instructions...

I've worked with several band leaders who would turn to the band and say something like, "Jump in Bb", or "Backwards shuffle in G".

That's enough to have the right players cooking from note one...
 

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I think you folks are playing with some pretty new and inexperienced guitar players, or maybe really lazy ones. A half-way decent guitarist can play in any key. It's a C-instrument, same as piano.

You may find some rockers or blues players locked into their limitations, playing everything in single note like B.B.King, or with simple bar chords (which King never even bothered to learn while playing for around 70 years). Or, worse yet, the country types playing everything in C, G, and D, and then playing no more than four chords, strapping on a capo to change key for a singer.

But once a guitarist learns 20 simple movable chord forms, which ain't rocket science, they're good to comp in any tune's original key. I don't think Gray Sargent was telling Tony Bennett he had to sing in E.

There are work-arounds for a poor guitar player. Tell him that it's you who is limited and ask him to tune down 1/2 step; that'll put his E-A-B in your more comfortable flat keys. Or he can tune down a whole step and play in the same key as your tenor sax, even using the same music or lead sheet.
Or you could just get your sharp keys together.

Personally I don't necessarily confuse "limited range of applications" with "poor player". But I would rather be able to adapt to whatever's thrown at me, than make the other guy deal with my limitations. Anyway, like I noted above, just play tenor in a rock and roll band for a year or two and you will never blanch at sharp keys again.

It's the same as people who insist that there is one true and correct key for a popular tune that was written 90 years ago and has been recorded by dozens of people. No, just play it in a key that works for the singer and make it sound good. Or as Led the uke player says "Jus' Press!"
 

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OP, it sounds like you need to spend some time improvising in sharp keys. May I suggest Band in a Box. The canned accompaniments that come with it sound decent; it will loop over and over again; and you can transpose a tune to any key with a few keystrokes. It's easy peasy to take any tune you want, enter the chords, and select a background that is mostly guitar. Set to the key of F#, and repeat till comfortable.
 

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Or you could just get your sharp keys together.

Personally I don't necessarily confuse "limited range of applications" with "poor player". But I would rather be able to adapt to whatever's thrown at me, than make the other guy deal with my limitations. Anyway, like I noted above, just play tenor in a rock and roll band for a year or two and you will never blanch at sharp keys again.

It's the same as people who insist that there is one true and correct key for a popular tune that was written 90 years ago and has been recorded by dozens of people. No, just play it in a key that works for the singer and make it sound good. Or as Led the uke player says "Jus' Press!"
Ledward Kaapana, for those that don't know him, is a revered ki ho'alu master (slack key guitar player). Thanks, turf3, for dropping his name, and firing some dormant synapses in my head.
 
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