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Picture yourself in a three piece .... what's the guitarist playing?


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9 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

Depends on style of music, given that 3 pieces can sound empty especially in solos I’d prefer a humbucker equipped guitar rather than one with single coils. 
 

And yes, the answer to what are they playing is in general “too loud”.

That’s an arrangement / composition problem not an instrument problem.

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31 minutes ago, fretmeister said:

That’s an arrangement / composition problem not an instrument problem.

Agree, we were a 3 piece and that was something we were very conscious of avoiding, and did, but many 3 pieces don’t.

Instrument choice does help though, easier to get away with it with a Les Paul than a Strat (from my experience anyway, as a not that good guitarist).

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Going back a very long time, post punk era.. a three piece I was part of actually worked very well.... the guitarist had a Hofner semi acoustic thru a smallish combo, can't remember what it make was ( he also had a Les Paul but pretty much never used it). The bass did most of the riffs / structure / whatever,  and the guitar was (mostly) fairly sparse, the guitarist was also the main singer and the guitar would virtually drop out completely for some sections of songs. ( there was a drummer of course, mustn't forget him, bless him!)

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Surely it’s about the player, not what instrument they are playing? I’d rather be in a three piece with my mate Sid, who doesn’t own a guitar or an amp at the moment than some gear-obsessed fool with no ideas.

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Last time I was playing guitar in a 3-piece band it was an acoustic fitted with a piezo under the bridge and a Schaller pickup screwed to the soundboard in front of the bridge. This was later replaced with an electric guitar in made myself in the woodwork shop at school while I should have been studying for my A levels.

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4 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

Last time I was playing guitar in a 3-piece band it was an acoustic fitted with a piezo under the bridge and a Schaller pickup screwed to the soundboard in front of the bridge. This was later replaced with an electric guitar in made myself in the woodwork shop at school while I should have been studying for my A levels.

You're not Brian May are you ?  :)

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1 hour ago, Frank Blank said:

Surely it’s about the player, not what instrument they are playing? I’d rather be in a three piece with my mate Sid, who doesn’t own a guitar or an amp at the moment than some gear-obsessed fool with no ideas.

The question wasn't asking for a pragmatic answer, it was asking, in a generalised way, what kind of music would be coming from the guitarist when you picture your ideal three piece, using the different styles of guitar as the frame of reference. Theres a degree of stereotyping, but then plenty of the bassists posting on BC use similar stereotypes as a shorthand for their self identity, cf the I've Never Had a P-bass thread. 

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OK, I've thought about and I think that the guitar player in my trio would be playing an ES335 or similar. They're playing it as it is super versatile, without being overly flashy, which suits their personality. They have a smallish pedal board with a Fulldrive 2, some sort of tremolo, a delay, a swell and a compressor which they only use sparingly as an effect when required. Amp-wise that have a Brunetti or a Suhr combo. In case of string breakage/guitar failure, they have a bound body Tele Custom on a stand, ready.

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10 minutes ago, Ricky Rioli said:

The question wasn't asking for a pragmatic answer, it was asking, in a generalised way, what kind of music would be coming from the guitarist when you picture your ideal three piece, using the different styles of guitar as the frame of reference.

Ah, .I see thanks for putting me right and forgive my misinterpretation. In that case is an impractical answer what’s required? If so, South Mulukan nose flute music would be my preference but obviously transcribed so it can be played on the spoons.

 

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20 minutes ago, Ricky Rioli said:

The question wasn't asking for a pragmatic answer, it was asking, in a generalised way, what kind of music would be coming from the guitarist when you picture your ideal three piece, using the different styles of guitar as the frame of reference. Theres a degree of stereotyping, but then plenty of the bassists posting on BC use similar stereotypes as a shorthand for their self identity, cf the I've Never Had a P-bass thread. 

Slightly off topic Ricky, but as you’re from the York area - there’s a band from there called The Blueflies who you may have seen. Fantastic 3 piece, doing a mix of funk/rock originals and covers. The guitar player Miles is wonderful, and ‘gets it’ completely,  knowing how much to play and when not to. Uses a variety of guitars, mainly Strat and PRS IIRC. Worth catching them if you get the chance. 

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3 minutes ago, casapete said:

Slightly off topic Ricky, but as you’re from the York area - there’s a band from there called The Blueflies who you may have seen. Fantastic 3 piece, doing a mix of funk/rock originals and covers. The guitar player Miles is wonderful, and ‘gets it’ completely,  knowing how much to play and when not to. Uses a variety of guitars, mainly Strat and PRS IIRC. Worth catching them if you get the chance. 

I had only just arrived here when the lockdown started, so I've seen nothing but two guys singing with acoustic guitars at the open mic at the Golden Ball! But I'll look out for the Blueflies, that sounds good.

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This might be a bit controversial but personally I think the tonal differences between single coils and humbuckers have been greatly exaggerated.

There is definitely a slightly 'thicker' tone to humbuckers and back in the day the higher output from the twin coil design might have made a significant difference to the amount of distortion you could get out of an amp.

But these days most amps are designed for much higher gain at much lower volumes.

I can get close enough to  the maxed out marshall tone + Les Paul of the 'Sweet Child O'Mine intro' using the neck pickup of a telecaster through my Boss Katana that most punters wouldn't notice I'm using the 'wrong' guitar and I can do it with the master volume set to 1.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Cato said:

This might be a bit controversial but personally I think the tonal differences between single coils and humbuckers have been greatly exaggerated.

There is definitely a slightly 'thicker' tone to humbuckers and back in the day the higher output from the twin coil design might have made a significant difference to the amount of distortion you could get out of an amp.

But these days most amps are designed for much higher gain at much lower volumes.

I can get close enough to  the maxed out marshall tone + Les Paul of the 'Sweet Child O'Mine intro' using the neck pickup of a telecaster through my Boss Katana that most punters wouldn't notice I'm using the 'wrong' guitar and I can do it with the master volume set to 1.

Although I’d agree, historically it’s always been easier to get a thicker higher output pseudo humbucker sound from single coil Fender style instruments than the other way round. Coil tapping twin coil pickups goes some way to achieve this, but not convincingly IMHO. I think PRS get fairly close with some of their guitars maybe? A 335 with both pickups on and the volume controls set just right can also get quite Fender-ish, but the differences in construction ( bolt on / set neck and scale lengths etc) mean it will always be something of a compromise. 

Edited by casapete
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I always wanted a three piece but my guitarist mate always insisted in bringing in others. Years ago he had carpal tunnel syndrome and couldn't play for a year. I went and found a guitarist and drummer and it was the best we have ever sounded. Unfortunately the guitarist was always drunk and turning up late, so I went back to my mate when he recovered. Then the band grew again.

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I'm not in a band, but whenever I see a pub gig the guitar players tend to fiddle with their pedalboards more than with guitar neck. I noticed the same with bass players too.

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Posted (edited)

For the last ten years, I was the guitarist in a three piece. Mostly playing a Fender Marauder, cheapo 335 copy and a squier Jag. All through a pair of bandits with a multi effects board. Worked well, but back to bass now. 

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Edited by gafbass02
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I play(ed - pre-Covid) in two different three piece bands. One has a guitarist on a 50s hollowbody style guitar and the other has the guitarist on a Les Paul.

If I learnt one thing from this experience, it is just as important to think about what the bass player is playing. My Jazz sits great in the mix of a 4 piece but sounds terrible in a 3 piece. The Hofner, a Precision, a Ric or a T-bird sound fine. Have confidence in the musical spaces but remember if you make a mistake it jumps out a lot more where there is less room to hide i.e. a bigger band.

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28 minutes ago, Cat Burrito said:

I play(ed - pre-Covid) in two different three piece bands. One has a guitarist on a 50s hollowbody style guitar and the other has the guitarist on a Les Paul.

If I learnt one thing from this experience, it is just as important to think about what the bass player is playing. My Jazz sits great in the mix of a 4 piece but sounds terrible in a 3 piece. The Hofner, a Precision, a Ric or a T-bird sound fine. Have confidence in the musical spaces but remember if you make a mistake it jumps out a lot more where there is less room to hide i.e. a bigger band.

I hadn't really thought about what the bass player was using in all this.. In my 3 piece malarkey I was using a Rickenbacker or a P bass at different times. I was using a fairly randomly acquired Orange guitar head and anonymous 4x12 cab at this time as I recall

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Personally for me, I like the way Fender Jazz bass and Gibson Les Paul work together in a 3 piece. If the Fender Jazz is made to make good use of its twangy mids/highs, possibly with a little bit of mild overdrive, then the thump of a Les Paul with its humbuckers can sit really well - so long as it is subdued when vocals are also sung. Rush is obviously a good example of this.

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Boring answer: So long as it sounds good and appropriate to the music, it's neither here nor there to me.

More fun: I often play with a guitarist with a rather lovely collection of vintage and custom instruments. The ones I get most excited about are in a jazz duo, when he uses an old Gibson ES-175, and in various 3-pieces (usually as backing for singers) when he brings the 60's SG with vibrola. That thing looks and sounds so good, no matter the musical style. Of course the main things are that he's a consummate rhythm section player, knock-out soloist, has a ridiculous sense of humour, and a laugh like a hyena.

He just got the all-clear from cancer, and I can't wait to back to it with him.

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I've played in quite a few trios and a few trio + vocalists as bassist but also on guitar, too. In my experience, if the derrière drops out of it when the guitarist plays lead or stops, the bass is the problem. The bass needs to be full and carry the song whether the guitar is there or not. The bass needs to be the derrière. The guitar is the fluff which works on top of the derrière but the guitar cannot, under any circumstances, be the derrière.

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Posted (edited)

I'm glad I'm the arse, rather the fluff on the arse. Definitely the preferable of the two!

Good points about the guitar/bass blend. Thick guitars set against a cutting bass sound is a good combo. I also do the opposite in a jump blues/swing band. I tend towards the EB-0, Rivoli, or Rumblekat for a soft, smooth bass sound, while the guitarist tends towards a thinner Telecaster voice. It makes for some nice separation between the counterpoint of the two, and makes plenty of room for vocals and harmonica. While the rest of us play very simply it allows a bit of loose-cannon 40's swing drumming to add extra sparkle! 

Edited by Jus Lukin
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