Tag: ballad

Intense Rock Ballad Backing Track in A minor

Dark, intense ballad rock guitar backing track in A minor. Play along with this melancholic guitar jam track on a rainy day. Tempo: 66 bpm. Download the chord chart that lays out the basis harmony below.

Improvisation Tips

On this backing track you can play:

  • A minor pentatonic
  • A minor blues
  • A natural minor (A Aeolian scale)
  • E Phrygian dominant (or A harmonic minor) on the E7 
About the track:

After a short acoustic intro, the A-section (verse) follows a dreamy, ambient chord progression in the key of A minor. In this section, you can use A minor pentatonic, A minor blues, or E Aeolian. 

In the denser B-section of the jam track, heavy distortion guitars and hard rock drums enter to amplify the dramatic mood. You can continue improvising with the A minor pentatonic, but watch out for the E7 chord (that has a G#). This chord comes from A harmonic minor. 

To write this track, I felt inspired by the work of God Is An Astronaut, Porcupine Tree, and even Anathema. This was another fun exercise in songwriting for me. I hope this jam track will inspire you to play screaming guitar solos, 

Thank you for watching and playing along, Check out some other backing tracks (jam tracks) on my channel. 

Twin backing track (Sunset Jam) here 

Keep on playing,


Buy The Track
Cover Art
Sad Rock Ballad Backing Track
Dark Intense Rock Ballad Backing Track Cover Art

P.S.: I’m quite happy with the way the cover art (video thumbnail) turned out. Featured is my Martin HD-16 R Adirondack and an AKG C3000B mic I lended from a friend (thank you Bart!). 

Emotional Ballad Guitar Solo in E

Emotional ballad guitar solo (with guitar tabs) for the original jam track (‘Sunset Jam’) I posted earlier. Enjoy!

Play Video
About the track

After a short acoustic intro, the A-section (verse) follows a gorgeous chord progression in the key of E major. I play in the split coil position of the Suhr Modern. The bluesy guitar licks follow the groove of the emotional ballad backing track and leave room for the other instruments.

The B-section opens with a distant slide guitar, warm piano sounds, and acoustic guitar harmonics. The lead guitar switches to the bridge humbucker, and starts building up the melody into a higher register.

After an alternate picking riff, the C-section (chorus) presents itself with long, high notes. Here I’m thinking about the D major pentatonic. The D-chord in the chorus (bVII) implies a modulation to A major, thus bringing some Lydian flavor into the game. Mixing this part turned out the be a challenge because of the high pitch of the lead guitar. With extra delay (Soundtoys Echoboy) reverb (Exponential Audio Nimbus) and a hint of extra compression (Waves CLA Guitars), the guitar notes sustain longer to carry the melody over the chords.

Featured Lick (Bar 25)
Ascending Shred Lick
Ascending Shred Lick (B Mixolydian + Chromatic)

Ascending shred licks are a great way of connecting melodies between verses and choruses. In the emotional ballad guitar solo video, I use this technique in bar 25 to lead the listener’s ear from the bride (B-section) to the chorus (C-section). The lick starts on B and ends on E in the first beat of the next bar. In between is a B Mixolydian permutation (pattern of 3 sextuplets), followed by two triplets of sixteenth chromatic notes. Pro Tip: use the chromatic scale sparsely in your playing and save it until the very end of a bar.

Featured Plug-In

I highly recommend the Flux Stereo Tool v3 Plugin (freeware). I use it on summing tracks, the mix-bus, and FX-bus to build, check, and (if necessary) correct the stereo image. This plugin proves that the most straightforward tools sometimes turn out to be the most useful. One of my most used plugins. And did I tell you it was free?

Flux Stereo Tool v3
Flux Stereo Tool v3 On My Sunset Solo
Backing Track
Check out the SUNSET JAM Emotional Ballad backing track here.

Suhr Modern HH with Floyd Rose (all solos)
Martin HD-16R Acoustic (intro)
All guitars played by Maarten
Bass: Spectrasonics Trilian
Drums: Steven Slate 5.5
Recorded with Logic Pro X

Check out some of my other ballad solo's