Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Ajoten

Fitting 3 guitars into a band

Recommended Posts

A shaggy dog story of a question, apologies.

My old band intends to resurrect itself in a noisier format with Foo Fighters/Pearl Jam/Soundgarden as a template. Despite me being the bass player before, in order to do more sophisticated guitar stuff they want me to move to co-lead 6 string. This requires me to squeeze into a sound featuring the singer knocking out cowboy chords on a Tele and a tasty lead player on his 335.

Now, although I've had various electric guitars around for decades, I haven't played one in a band for 30 years... as all that time I've been Precision bassing, which means my amp/guitar tweaking skills are limited.

My current guitar is a cheapish hollow body jazz. And I can't really hear it properly when we rehearse. This could be[list]
[*]insufficient amp (a 30W 1x12 turned up competing with 100W stacks turned down)
[*]incorrect amp placement wrt where my ears are compared to others
[*]insufficient EQ faffing knowledge
[*]muddy pickups which you only notice when playing with others
[*]simply the fact that your average humbucker might struggle to find sonic space in 3-guitar overload
[*]too much distortion (but I need the sustain and rockiness). Given it feeds back like mad of course, I probably should turn down the gain anyway :( spoiling the fun.
[*]something else I haven't thought about
[*]all the above
[/list]
As said, I'm historically a Precision player, and I keep thinking about swapping my jazz guitar for a nice simple 1 x P90 alternative. This would cut down the relentless and fruitless tone faffing I'm doing, hopefully give me more clarity and a place in the overall sound without loss of grunt (and *with* loss of feedback).

Why I'm dithering: I love having a big bodied guitar to rest my arm on, dead dead comfy; I could just be carried away with the thrill of new guitar shopping and throwing money away on a new instrument when there are alternative solutions; and ultimately the whole enterprise might prove to be a stupid idea and really we should stick to 2x guitar and I return to bass.

Well there you go. All comments welcome!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will there still be a bass player in the band?

Three guitars sounds like a lot going on in the same sonic space to me...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New bass player* is the plan, yes. And I agree re space... but apparently the Foo Fighters manage it (dunno if some doubling up going on there). I'm quite excited at the prospect of playing guitar for a change so need to give the idea a fair crack of the whip tho.

*Hmm. Getting an octave pedal and playing simple and sympathetic monophonic lines might be an option?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='CamdenRob' timestamp='1438078344' post='2831369']
Three guitars sounds like a lot going on in the same sonic space to me...
[/quote]This. One of you is going to have to use a different kind of tone and I reckon clean and cutting (maybe a hint of drive) will do the job. Too much gain sounds like fun soloed, but often turns to mush in an ensemble. Best guitar for cutting through? As much as I love P90s (and I do, a lot!), it has to be a Telecaster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See the good thing about that answer is I could take out the neck pickup from a cheap Tele and install an Esquire scratchplate...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Iron maiden seem to get away with it , but I think it's ridiculous over doing it !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest at least one of you works in an alternative tuning. Also I would probably back off on distortion on certain guitars, with three guitars you don't want all be at 11 all the time.

I play in a guitar trio but we play in a drone tuning that means chords are actually only formed when we play together. OK you're not going down that route but maybe some tuning with open chords. Of course this screws you up for scales and solos if that's what you're into.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what happened to the guitar trio? I wonder how did you manage not to invade each others sonic space? Did you separate each guitar via the Mids EQ control or else?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IIRC from Standing in the Shadows of Motown, The Motown house band had three guitars, playing low, mid and high parts respectively. A lot of the work will be done in the arrangement: leaving space for each other rather than all playing at one then trying to EQ a solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it's all in the arrangement. There are more than many examples of multi-guitar work; sometimes half a dozen on some records. With the line-up you describe, I, too would suggest that the 'cowboy' chords are filling in the back-field, the (typically rounded...) 335 has the 'creamy' side of things; you'd maybe want to complement all of that with a touch of 'jangle', or 'sparkle', with a Tele (thijnline, maybe..?), a Ricky, or even a Gretsch Filtertron-type, or lipsticks. Arpeggios or cross-picking, if the chords are strummed and the lead is soloing with legato lines. Plenty of space in there; even more if you're not all, systematically, playing at the same time. Spots of 'less' can be so much 'more'.
Good luck with the project; it sounds like fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nod - on the one hand Iron Maiden do it and frankly it's quite tricky to hear the difference unless you have stereo speaker stuff going on. They have 3 strats with different tones - but they all solo differently so I guess it works.

On the other hand: Counting Crows usually record/tour thesedays with 3 guitarists - taking turns to be the gnarly lead player, sparkly rhythm jangle and (my favourite) the tremolo-drenched chordal stabs.

Echo the earlier post about alternate turnings. Playing the same chord in different tunings will really emphasis things when you need it to. And stop similar pentatonic-noodling when you're wanting to do some sparkly arpeggios instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if it'd be up your street but maybe load up on effects and take the early Radiohead route of making weird, complementary noises? I'm being asked to switch from bass to be the 3rd guitarist as well so that was my first though as one guitarist is a fairly busy player and the other one does a lot of melodic single note stuff (which was my role in previous bands) and I'm not sure what I can really add apart from textures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If cowboy chords is the extent of your singer's guitar playing contribution, I'd suggest getting him to hold off, play less and save him for dynamic inpact. Using less full and less heavy guitar tones will help leave sonic space for you all too. Dial down the gain and the bottom end etc.

Arrangement is the key - you don't all have to play all the time! Have a listen to some Oceansize, they used three guitars brilliantly, melodic and atmospheric parts darting around each other, and when they do all pile in on a massive riff, it sounds enormous.

If you're looking at the Foos as an influence, worth noting that Pat Smear plays a baritone on a lot of the Wasting Light tunes that were written with the three-guitar line up. Gives a bit of space between what they're all doing and makes the low end extra chunky. Worth having in your arsenal as another option.

Edited by mike257

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't be scared of being pretty minimal. Play two or three note chords. Consider using a capo to give the chords a different voicing.

I don't know what I'm talking about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...