Guitar Karaoke? Why?


I’d estimate that well over 90% of the time that we see some young person trying to make a name for himself by playing in a performance filmed for YouTube, there’s something very obvious missing - the rest of the band!

Rock music isn’t music designed to be played by a soloist with no accompaniment. Without a rhythm section thee is no “roll” in your rock 'n roll. On some level these “YouTube players” realize this because they all play along to a recording of the song, usually with the guitar in the original song EQ’d so that it’s not prominent in the mix. You can still usually hear it though, it’s just quieter than it otherwise would be because of the EQ settings.

I hate to break it to them but this isn’t exactly a new concept to perform along with a recording of the song with the part you’re performing EQ’d so it’s very low in the mix. People who like to sing do this all the time, often in bars that exist for primarily giving amateur singers the chance to have a few drinks and then do this. It’s called karaoke.

I don’t see anything wrong with people who would never call themselves musicians doing this for the fun of it but with extremely few exceptions it’s not considered art; it’s considered entertainment.

To me rock music artists are people who write their own music and then perform it as part of a band. Playing someone else’s song to what is basically a “guitar karaoke” track is far from the same thing. Even as performers, they usually don;t seem to grasp the concept of what rock music is about. There’s a reasons they call it " a rock show." The guitarist doesn’t sit down in a chair on stage and play their songs while never making eye contact with the audience, never connecting with the audience in any sort of charismatic, energetic way. As performers we put on a show for the audience. We make out shows exciting to watch as well as to listen to. If that weren’t so, rock stars wouldn’t look any different from the people in the audience, they wouldn’t move around on the stage, make eye contact with the audience, speak to them between songs, or do any of the myriad of things that go into a show.

Most of the these so called “youtube players” don’t seem to have grabbed ahold of what it is that rock n roll is all about. Playing the right notes in time is great, but it’s not the whole thing - not by a longshot. Where are the rest of their bands? Why don’t they record their performance playing with a band, the way rock music was meant to be played, the way it was meant to be performed?


Well I am definitely in this category :slight_smile:

In my case I do this as a hobby and I have 1- max 2h of guitar time per day, which includes studying the tunes, recording them, listening & selecting the best takes, mixing the audio, syncing with video etc. Maybe some weekends I’ll have a bit more time, but not that often.

Hence, for purely practical reasons, the only thing I can realistically aim to do is record videos where I play over a backing track - usually made by someone else.

Even so, I can maybe do 1 video every 2/3 months!

Edit: you also have to think that the “youtube musician” is a very different figure compared to the rockstars you probably have in mind. Some people are both (E.g. Kiko Loureiro from Angra / Megadeth), and I definitely think there is value in both ways of making music / playing guitar.

I personally enjoy both, but of course you are free to prefer one over the other!

1 Like

I’m a bedroom warrior! I don’t have a band and I don’t compose my own songs. For me the most fun is learning my favourite Ozzy, Loudness, Megadeth etc songs and playing along with them. For me I don’t need a band - I’m happy enough doing what I’m doing and that’s the main thing, right?

Tell me something, @Acecrusher, what do you think of Buckethead performing entire gigs with backing tracks? He has performed hundreds of concerts this way over the years and there are many YouTube clips of him doing so.

1 Like

It’s a pain in the ass keeping a band going, is one reason.

That you can upload and reach a potential audience of millions without going anywhere rather than cart all your crap about and play for 5 people who won’t remember your name by the time the next band has started is another.


So hard to find others with a schedule and temperament that works for everyone, not to mention similar goals and skillset.
Of course It would be nice to have a live band in my closet but they just keep running away


I’ve never heard any of it so I can’t comment on the music itself. At least he’s an artist and not just a performer in that he does write his own music. And there’s nothing wrong with being a performer; not everybody can write music. If someone is a performer on a professional level like Buckethead, I would hope that he’s at least giving the audience a show, as opposed to sitting in a chair while he plays and not making any eye contact, not moving around, etc like the Guitar Karoake guys on Youtube. They’re called “shows” for a reason. Stage presence and showmanship matter whether you;re a shred guy like Yngwie or a psychedelic hard rocker like Hendrix.

As for Buckethead using backing tracks, again, I’ve never heard him so I don’t know to what extent his band uses backing tracks. I remember he was in Guns 'n Roses for a while and as far as I know they didn’t use backing tracks. Using the cccasional backing track is one thing; using them in place of a band is another matter. From there it’s a slippery slope to Milli Vanilli.


You say you do it as a hobby, a serious hobby, so for you it’s practical and that why I prefaced my OP with: “I’d estimate that well over 90% of the time that we see some young person trying to make a name for himself by playing in a performance filmed for YouTube…” I think that clarifies my post as to its intent.


He gigs extensively with them.

He has played thousands of shows with backing tracks. 99% of it is his own music, so I guess it’s not really karaoke by your standards?

I know you’ve posted about this before so I can tell you have an extremely strong position on it.

1 Like

Anything in life worth having takes work. if it were easy, everybody would be doing it. That said, having a band and keeping the band going is a lot of fun too. So it’s work but it’s fun work. There is a lot of satisfaction involved in collaborating with musicians that together make up a band.

They aren’t mutually exclusive things. it’s not a choice between either upload some guitar karaoke and reach millions of people, or haul you gear to a nightclub and play for 5 people.

Other options come to mind. How about hauling your gear to a nightclub and your band playing for 200 people? How about uploading a video of your band and reaching millions of people that way?

The people in the audience will remember your band’s name by the time the next band ha started. Unless they don’t like your band, but what if they do like it? There is an energy a tight band creates that would be tough or impossible for one guy on stage by himself to match. regarding high energy performances, I’ve seen some of the best. I’ve seen Slayer, Motorhead. Metallica, Judas Priest, and many more. Can you imagine Tom Araya onstage by himself and trying to duplicate the energy and feeling of a Slayer show by singing and playing his bass to a tape of Dave Lombardo, Kerry King, and Jeff Hanneman (R.I.P.)?

I saw Pantera and what a tight, ferocious band! The whole was greater than the sum of the parts. They prove that when they disbanded ad released albums with other people instead of the 4 men who made up Pantera. If Dimebag were alive today, can you seriously imagine him being able to generate the atmosphere and feeling of a Pantera show by appearing onstage alone and playing his guitar along to a tape of Phil, Rex, and Vinnie Paul? That would not happen. He wouldn’t even be able to approach the level of intensity those 4 guys created together and Dime was an amazing guitarist with serious stage presence. Still there’s just no way it would be close to as good as the band performing together like when I saw them on their Great Southern Trendkill Tour.

When you mention “introverted” are you speaking from personal experience or is that just a general statement? The reason I ask is that if you’re talking about yourself, try not to be hard on yourself regarding being introverted. Being introverted is something a man can conquer if he sets his mind to it.

If you want to be in a band that plays shows, and you feel that being at least slightly more extroverted would result in the band putting on a more fun show and the audience being entertained more, you can have that! The mind is incredibly strong, one which I kind of doubt medical science will ever be able to fully understand because it’s just so damn complex! The point I’d like to make is if you set your mind to being more animated on stage, having a stronger stage presence, you can accomplish that. You just need to put in the work. There will be failures from time to time, but do not beat yourself up over, say, trying something different in stage and it not working out the way you’d imagined.

Personal growth is a painful process! There are gong to be times when you;re going to fail and it’s gonna hurt like hell! That’s why so few people are into personal growth. However, if you dedicate yourself to it 100% and if you refuse to beat yourself up over every little mistake, you will notice a positive result. You absolutely, must believe in yourself! I hope this doesn’t sound too trite (it’s actually part of an Ozzy song) but I’m gonna repeat it here because it’s he truth and it’s something you have to know: “You’ve got to believe in yourself, or no one will believe in you.” If you keep telling yourself that you are going to strengthen your stage presence and you’re going to become more at home on stage, more comfortable, that is something you can achieve!

1 Like

I have an actual opinion on this also I guess.
I wish less focus was on show and more on just playing solid music. Don’t get me wrong I like shows but I also love Jim croce sitting however he feels comfortable.

I think there is a place for everyone but if the show was less important you might actually see more people out making live music who are just to introverted to to put on a show.

1 Like

True, true. In the end, the music IS the show. If I like the music, then I like it regardless of “showmanship” or absence thereof. If I don’t like the music, no amount of “showmanship” is going to make me like it.


Wow, this has turned into such a cool discussion! I appreciate everybody contributions no matter what their opinion is on this subject. It’s the sharing of different opinions, the different points of view and the reasons for those different points of view that make it so fascinating.

Good job, everybody who participated in this :wink:

1 Like

It’s funny - take any art form and after a short time some people will show up who claim to be the ‘old guard’ and fiercely defend ‘how it should be’. I read a book on improvisation recently and it talked about this happening first with jazz, then with free jazz. Which is kind of hilarious as the whole point of jazz was to be free in the first place to play what you like.

And the whole point of ‘rock and roll’ was to rebel against the status quo (your parents, the establishment… not the band…).

So to me the guys doing their own thing on youTube are more ‘rock and roll’ than the guys doing the traditional thing…

Each their own but this thread kinda read to me as ‘old man shouts at (video streaming) cloud’.



Hi @Acecrusher, I recall you posted a very similar question a while back here: "YouTube" Stars

I think we covered a lot of similar ground on the topic there, not sure we need a new separate discussion on this. I may close this topic and/or merge into that previous one. Always fine to continue an older conversation if you really feel there’s more to discuss, but this very much feels like a repeat.

I know I may be stating the obvious, but not everyone has the same conception of music, both in terms of how it’s “meant to be played” or “meant to be performed”. We’re fortunate there exists such a huge variety of different ways of making music and I don’t think we can point to one (e.g. playing in a band) as necessarily better / more desirable than another.

Not only do people approach making music in all sorts of ways, people post videos on YouTube for all sorts of reasons. Whether to share things you’re learning, have fun paying homage to your favorite songs, making original art, chasing after fame, random experimentation…all fine, and certainly plenty of scenarios where someone may neither want nor need to play with a band.

There are also entire genres of music (e.g. hip-hop, electronic) where live instrumentation is rare and “backing tracks”, along with vocals, are kind of the whole point! I know you’re talking rock guitar specifically but really for any genre there are all sorts of ways of making / performing music. I’d even say it’s totally valid for someone to want to make music and not care one whit about performing live at all.


Just out of curiosity, why did you post this right after I thanked everyone who has participated in this discussion, which has been a lot of fun and educational as well? To post that you may close this thread directly after I posted how much I’d appreciated everyone;s contributions and points of view comes across as more than a little…mean spirited, don’t ya think so.?

BTW, I rarely discuss personal stuff, but charface brought up how some people may suffer from introversion and it may inhibit their stage presence and ability to put on an entertaining show. I was moved to the point I shared some personal, and frankly quite painfful memories because I believed telling my story could help others. Charface liked my response and clicked the "like"button so apparently not everyone feels this is the useless thread you’re strongly implying it is. That even one person appreciated that personal story of one, to think that it might help somebody is very rewarding. It might not mean much to you, and I guess it doesn’t or you wouldn’t have threatened to close my thread but I’m glad that what I wrote was meaningful to somebody. That’s one thing you can’t take away from me or everyone who got something out of that personal life lesson.

This is far from being a repeat of the thread you mentioned. About the only thing they have in common is that they mention people who are trying to make a name for themselves with YouTube. That’s where the similarities end.

Speaking of similarities, you can’t tell me you don;t see any similarity between the phenomenon which I described in this thread and karaoke. hence the name, “Guitar Karaoke,” I coined that phrase. It’s original. It’s also highly appropriate. Now, do I think people who enjoy karaoke are bad people? NO! Do I think they’re evil? NO! However, do I think that singing along to a karaoke track is very similar to singing in a rock and roll band? NO! That’s the main point i’ve put forth in this thread and I assure you, you won’t find that in the thread you mentioned which you claimed is so similar that you might merge this with that… Please don’t merge them together. They’re different. Can you honestly tell me that there aren;t other threads on this forum which are far more similar, which for some reason, you dn;t threaten to merge, or worse, close? I’m sure I could find some exiles of some incredibly similar threads, threads whose creators you didn’t take to task for having created something which is similar to an already existing thread. You know that too, Brendan

That’s a good thing, isn’t it? The world would be a pretty boring place otherwise, wouldn’t it? I knew hen I started writing my OP that some would agree and some would disagree. Great! I find the various points of view offered here to be fascinating. I’m very glad that everyone doesn’t think exactly the same way regarding music, or even regarding Guitar Karoake. The American people have a long history of enjoying discussing things and sometimes debating things. A wise man one said “I may not agree with what you have to say but I shall fight to the death for your right to say it”! I feel the same way.

I take pride in the fact that whether somebody completely agrees with me or strongly disagrees with me regarding this subject, I have treated all of them with respect and appreciation. I went out of my way to make sure everyone knew their contribution to this thread was appreciated, regardless of whether we agreed regarding Karaoke Guitar. In every reply I’ve been polite, appreciative, and that you just now threatened to close this thread really makes me feel like no matter what I do, you’ll always manage to find a problem with it.

Inclosing, I will not apologize for feeling passionate about the rock music industry. I’ve dedicated my life to this industry, I love this industry, and I want to see good things happen to it! Just don;t mistake my passion for anger. I’m not the least bit angry. Unfortunately the internet, being the primitive tool it is, doesn’t reflect my tone of voice, my facial expression, my body language and a myriad of other non-verbal cues which where they visible here would ensure that there would be absolutely nobody saying I’m liken old man shouting. At clouds no less! Don’t believe someone write that? Well, here it is:

Did I respond to the poster i an impolite manner though? No, I didn’t. “Old man shots at clouds” isn’t something I expect will lead to an intellectually stimulating, thought provoking discussion… I’d rather talk about other things. It’s too bad that because I’m passionate about rock 'n roll and want to see good things happen to the rock 'n roll industry that somebody equated that with shouting at clouds. It doesn’t upset me that someone posted that - that isn’t what’s too bad. What’s too bad is that even though I’ve received several “likes” in this particular thread, all you seem to notice is the negative response I got. There are people in this world who choose to ignore the positive and instead focus on life’s meaner bites. I’d like to think you’re not one of them though, Brendan. I really would.


Bedroom warrior checking in here too - I enjoy writing music, I enjoy playing, and I enjoy performing, but my job doesn’t really allow me the late nights needed to rehearse with a band or gig, and I’m not interested in quitting to pursue music full time. I mostly focus on studio music rather than performing videos on youtube, but if I do do a live performance of one of my songs, playing around with pre-recorded backing tracks, I don’t really see it as “karaoke.” I’d love to gig, but that doesn’t really jive with being at my desk clear eyed and ready to go at 8AM the next morning, you know?

And, when other people do it sometimes with original music and sometimes by performing covers, I don’t really see that as much different. If people are having fun, who cares? About the only time that bothers me is when they’re clearly miming along to a pre-recorded performance rather than actually performing live, or clearly copping a performance together out of so many different takes and camera angles that it’s unclear how much of it was actually live, but that’s about as curmudgeony as I get.

To your second point… I won’t speak for Brandon, but this thread may have evolved in a different direction than your first, but it started off in essentially the same point and there was no way to know at that time where it was going to go. Idunno. Speaking personally, you make a lot of threads knocking “the state of music today” and talking wistfully about “the way things used to be,” and frankly just because this one happened to go in a positive direction doesn’t justify continuing to tread tired ground.

Bare minimum, I’d have just bumped your old thread. :2cents:


Idunno. If you’ll forgive some flippancy and humor, I think this is probably appropriate here. :slight_smile:


Hi Ace! Sorry for the timing; I’d already started writing that reply when you posted thanking people for participating, and I’m not trying to personally attack you here. I think the fact remains the OP on this topic feels very similar to the prior topic I linked to, and I will note that we have merged topics into existing ones many times when something seems a continuation of an existing discussion. That was not meant as a threat, apologies if it came off that way.

But look: both this post, and the previous “YouTube stars” one, come across to me as denigrating players on YouTube who don’t fit the sort of mold you have in mind. If that’s not your intent, fine, but I am telling you it comes across that way. I agree the “old man yells at cloud” thing is uncharitable and doesn’t add anything positive to the conversation. That said, your posts have prompted this reaction on multiple occasions — you might take a moment to consider why that is. I do enjoy a lot of these discussions, and appreciate the diversity of perspectives, but to be honest I think you sometimes frame things in a way that feels more dismissive or argumentative than necessary.

1 Like

There’s nothing to forgive Drew. I have no desire to prevent people from enjoying things. If I did, I wouldn’t be able to do so anyway, would I?

I mentored it before but I think it bears repeating that the internet, at least a forum where our words are strictly in black and white, doesn’t supply us with the majority of a person’s message. When I was in college I was taught that when people speak to each other, about 90% of their message is nonverbal. That’s huge! If I were speaking instead of typing, if people could see my face, hear my tone of voice and see my body language, nobody would think I’m angry.

I love a good discussion. I love a good debate. When I was living in Florida I met a lawyer who was on a local, weekly public access TV show named “First Freedom” and it was about First Amendment Rights. They also spoke a lot about the Founding Fathers of our nation and their principles, the things they stood for. I believe it was Thomas Jefferson (if I remember correctly) who said people should question everything, even the existence of God, because if there isa God, certainly he would approve more of people actively questioning his existence, what he wanted from human beings, and that Jefferson believed God would certainly approve more of men with active questioning minds, than men who just follow along with the crowd complacently, questioning nothing.

The lawyer’s name was Luke Lirot. He was a brilliant man. he loved what I love - something he termed “a robust exchange of ideas.” That’s what I’m all about. The robust exchange of ideas Don’t confuse my passion for anger. I feel strongly about what I love. I love rock 'n roll and I want to see good things happen to it!!! :slight_smile:


I guess I’m saying that that’s kind of the message I’m getting with “kids these days, with their youtube channels and prerecorded backing tracks and amp modelers, back in my day we played in clubs and carried our full stacks upstairs both ways, load-in AND load-out!”

If people are having fun recording covers and sharing them on Youtube, let them. If you want to do something different, then do it. As long as we’re all enjoying ourselves, it’s all good. We’re all here because we love guitar and love the pursuit of technique, and that’s enough for quite a lot of discussion without getting into the relative merits of what we all choose to do WITH that technique.


Also, wanted to address this. While this may be true, that over text you lose a lot of nonverbal cues like tone and body language, I think that’s something that we all have to be aware of coming into a conversation, and it’s on us to account for that and strive to be overly clear. If you post something on the internet, then you can’t rely on your tone or your body language to make sure your message will be understood, so you have to rely on your words, and let your words speak for themselves. If your words alone aren’t enough to prevent your meaning from getting clearly understood, to the degree that your meaning and tone are frequently getting misunderstood, then you’re failing to communicate clearly and that’s a failure on your part and not the part of the audience. You’re aware that a large part of your meaning is probably getting lost on the net, so the logical followup from that awareness is to take steps to make sure your writing is clear enough that people can understand your meaning even without all those nonverbal cues.

Does that make sense? The lack of nonverbal cues doesn’t excuse unclear communication, it should encourage better writing.