About the Author:

A photo of the website author on stage playing the banjo with a band.
Guesting with my old band, Mad Dog Mcrea, with my Nechville Meteor electric banjo, c.2009
My name is Simon Mitchinson. I live in the UK and I've been playing the 5-String banjo and guitar for over 30 years. I've played in a number of bands over the years and have toured extensively in the UK, Ireland, Europe and Scandinavia. Since I stopped full time gigging I have taught banjo and recorded occasional session work. I don't play for a living, just for my own enjoyment. My happy place is in a Bluegrass jam or Irish session, playing great tunes with great people.

About the Site:

I created the FBBTs.com site around 2014 as a way to share my own Bluegrass practice tracks, originally with friends. (hence "Free Bluegrass Backing Tracks"). It quickly became popular and is used daily by musicians all over the world. I added Gypsy Jazz tracks when I was working on Django tunes and Old Time tunes for those old-timey times. More recently I've added Traditional Irish tunes as I work on my own repertoire for my local session.

The original website was written entirely using Microsoft Notepad. This made the site difficult to maintain and update. This newer site should be easier to update and keep running.

It has always been my wish to keep it free to use and without ads. It does however cost to maintain the domain and hosting so I am eternally grateful to all who choose to support the site. It really helps!

About the Backing Tracks:

The tracks are generated initially with RealBand software which uses real musician samples, so the music you're hearing is being played by professional musicians such as Andy Leftwich and Dow Tomlin for Bluegrass, John Jorgenson and Gonzalo Bergara for Gypsy Jazz and Quin Bachand and Trevor Hutchinson for Celtic tunes. I also use Ableton Live software for digital editing and mixing, Bandlab for mastering and Audacity to convert to mp3 for streaming.

Each track is hand whittled and can take from 30 minutes to a couple of hours to complete, depending on arrangement and whether or not I need to learn and transcribe the tune first. There are currently over 800 audio files on this site, as each track has multiple files with or without solos. The final check is to play through the tune with each track, to ensure the key, changes and tempo are all correct. I am human, so if you find any errors, please let me know with the contact button at the bottom of the page! 

Legal Disclaimer:

Disclaimer: All of the backing tracks on this site were generated by myself. I do not own or imply any rights to any of the tracks, however they should not be shared, copied or published beyond use for personal practice and study. All of the rhythm tracks are simple or generic chord progressions. They are not intended to copy or represent original compositions and contain no melody, lyric or particular arrangement. The titles associated with each of the tracks are used only to identify a particular chord progression that could be used to play that song or tune. I do not wish or intend to infringe on the copyright of any persons property. All arrangements are generic and deliberately repetitive. Any similarities in arrangement to other published work is purely coincidental. The melodic practice tracks are created from traditional folk tunes. The material accessed by this site is offered free of charge as an aid to music practice/study at home only. Any copyrighted material found on these pages is used for "fair use" for the purpose of personal study, review or critical analysis only and will be removed at the request of the copyright owner(s).