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Filling the "gaps" in a 3 piece - during guitar solo etc


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1 hour ago, Naigewron said:

I agree that single coils can definitely work for a three-piece, but these three pics are all of humbucker-equipped guitars.

LOL - OK, poor choice of pics!

A bit of digging and I see Billie Joe Armstrong was definitely a P90/humbucker guy!

But almost all Kurt Cobain's guitars had single coils (mostly Jaguars).

Matt Bellamy's signature Mansons have a humbucker but he sometimes uses a straight Strat.

 

I'm not knocking P90s or humbuckers (I've got an Ibanez Artcore with a DiMarzio bridge and Gretsch neck pups and a Tokai SG with three humbuckers hanging above my monitor... even my tele has a DiMarzio stacked humbucker at the bridge) but the idea single coil pickups don't cut it is risible.

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I'm not so worried about which guitar is being played, but the thought that the bass needs to change his sound or playing style when the solo starts is just plain wrong. You never hear "your heroes" doing that.

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I think it’s one of those comparison things, if the solo was written & recorded with humbuckers then moving to single coils will inevitably make it sound thinner. As such when single coil players write solos they write them to suit their instruments and make sure the song keeps going. I’ve heard some fantastic solos from Strat players in 3 piece original bands but when those bands do an occasional cover the solos (that were invariably done on Les Paul’s) sound weedy.

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Thin weedy sound...

 

2 hours ago, chris_b said:

I'm not so worried about which guitar is being played, but the thought that the bass needs to change his sound or playing style when the solo starts is just plain wrong. You never hear "your heroes" doing that.

This. During any solo other instruments should step back, not forwards.

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On 31/05/2021 at 08:54, Nail Soup said:

Starting this thread as a dedicated thread for the topic raised in the "three piece' thread.

So you're in a 3 piece, and when the guitarist switches from rhythm to lead you feel that the song goes 'empty'.

What can you do?

Opinions welcome from "Embrace the Space" comments to tech tips etc.

Double-neck bass/guitar, Moog Taurus pedals

 

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1 hour ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Thin weedy sound...

 

This. During any solo other instruments should step back, not forwards.

DG is just a a genius, in fact I’m sure that DG actually stands for Dat Genius and not David Gilmour.

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We're 4 w/2 guitars...they like twinning so when they do, I hit the octave pedal, fretting relatively high up so it doesn't get too bottom heavy. Still figuring out how to optimize the pedal. Without pedals, I play a few more notes, doublestop here and there, sort of a repressed solo but staying locked in with the drummer. And, some tunes sound better with pedal, others without.

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On 02/06/2021 at 15:13, Stub Mandrel said:

This. During any solo other instruments should step back, not forwards.

I think what people are talking about is when the solitary guitarist stops playing rhythm to pull out a solo. The bassist (and also the drummer) has to make sure the bottom doesn't fall out of the whole song. If they step back instead of filling the sonic gap up a little it can all sound empty.

It also isn't 'changing style' as someone else suggested above about 'our heroes'. They will also often move to complement the solo, either by changing the bass sound or riffs and / or drum pattern. Whatever they do is 'their style'.

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9 hours ago, 12stringbassist said:

I think what people are talking about is when the solitary guitarist stops playing rhythm to pull out a solo. The bassist (and also the drummer) has to make sure the bottom doesn't fall out of the whole song. If they step back instead of filling the sonic gap up a little it can all sound empty.

It also isn't 'changing style' as someone else suggested above about 'our heroes'. They will also often move to complement the solo, either by changing the bass sound or riffs and / or drum pattern. Whatever they do is 'their style'.

Perhaps if I elaborate a bit.

I think it's usually wrong to introduce additional complexity behind a solo.

What is needed is to retain a solid rhythm without creating a distraction. After all its 'rhythm guitar' that's dropping out.

Some double stopping to thicken up the sound is fine, but swapping from straight eights to arpeggios behind a solo seems counterproductive to me. I've recently learned some songs (admittedly for a four-piece) and the bass line generally simplifies behind the solos.

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13 minutes ago, MacDaddy said:

The space can be used rather than filled. Listen to the early Van Halen records. No-one ever said they needed another guitarist.

Absolutely true, but most bands don't have a guitar player capable of taking up *that* much space, both sonically and musically. Or a bass player as good as Michael Anthony, for that matter.

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Just now, Naigewron said:

Absolutely true, but most bands don't have a guitar player capable of taking up *that* much space, both sonically and musically. Or a bass player as good as Michael Anthony, for that matter.

Practice.

;)

 

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1 hour ago, Naigewron said:

Absolutely true, but most bands don't have a guitar player capable of taking up *that* much space, both sonically and musically. Or a bass player as good as Michael Anthony, for that matter.

A lot of Anthonys bass work in VH  was just douga douga douga douga throughout solos and it never felt empty.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, ubit said:

A lot of Anthonys bass work in VH  was just douga douga douga douga throughout solos and it never felt empty.

Not as much as you might think.

He obviously did a lot of different things through the songs and years, but Eddie often recorded rhythm guitars that would play behind his solos on the albums. So for the purpose of this thread (guitar solos without rhythm guitar) far from all Van Halen tracks are relevant.

Have a listen to "Ain't Talking About Love", for example. In the solo about 2:40 into the track, Michael Anthony actually plays a version of the guitar riff behind Eddie's solo.

In "Hot For Teacher", he plays straight 8ths (well, swinging 8ths), but it's a very busy, almost walking bass line, with a lot of fills, in order to keep the momentum and drive up behind the frantic solo.

 

Edited by Naigewron
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OK so none of us are playing behind a Stevie Ray Vaughn, Stevie Vai or Robben Ford, but in the bands we are in,  the right bass part should be good enough for the both rhythm and solo sections of the song.

This idea of "filling in" and "covering up" holes or "beefing up" the sound when the rhythm guitar stops, is not the right way to approach any trio song. If you think this is what is required, you are hearing problems that don't exist. Listen to anyone from Jimi Hendrix to John Mayer and while the bassist might throw in a few extra licks, the level, pace and rhythm parts of the songs don't change. The guitar changes but the point is that the bass and drums don't. You don't need double stops or pedals, the layers of the song should remain the same even when the top layers, the guitar and vocals, do change. If the rhythm section alters the level of what they play during every solo the songs will sound very lumpy, uneven and patchy, and that really isn't the right way to do it.

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12 minutes ago, chris_b said:

This idea of "filling in" and "covering up" holes or "beefing up" the sound when the rhythm guitar stops, is not the right way to approach any trio song. If you think this is what is required, you are hearing problems that don't exist.

Surely that depends entirely on context, song, band, style and a hundred other factors? There's no way you can make up a rule like that and definitively say that this is how all music works, every time?

 

13 minutes ago, chris_b said:

Listen to anyone from Jimi Hendrix to John Mayer

In terms of music style, those aren't exactly polar opposites. But let's go with another blues-based artist, and then you can tell Billy Sheehan that he obviously has no idea how to approach a bass part :D 

 

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20 minutes ago, Naigewron said:

Surely that depends entirely on context, song, band, style and a hundred other factors? There's no way you can make up a rule like that and definitively say that this is how all music works, every time?

In the context of this thread and based on thoughts put forward here, I'd say it's a rule that stands up. As always, rules can be broken, but you have to know what you are doing and how to break the rules while keeping everything right.

The Winery Dogs are doing exactly what I said. While the playing is full on, the levels between solo and song sections are at the same level.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, ubit said:

A lot of Anthonys bass work in VH  was just douga douga douga douga throughout solos and it never felt empty.

And a lot of time he doesn't...! 

As someone who has always played in a lot of three piece bands, I would say that it is knowing when to fill space or when to embrace it, let notes ring out more,  when to play more or lay back. You just learn how to feel what will work! 

Edited by peteb
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26 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

I quite like the Dinosaur Jr way of dealing with this where the bassist switches to using power chords to thicker up his shound

In this video, in the first song the guitarist doesn't play in the verses. The bass and drums just carry on. There's no dip, or hole and nothing's missing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apAKU_sXQJQ

 

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Just embrace it! The space is one of the characteristics of a 3 piece and isn't necessarily a negative! Nice bit of dynamics and actually it sometimes helps the tightness of  bass and drums  punch through which in itself adds a new layer to the sound! Especially in pubs where the sound isn't necessarily great! 

 

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I perform mostly in three piece bands. If the solo isn't good enough to grab the audience attention and not leave an apparent 'hole' in the sound, then that's not on me. 

I do my job, the lead instrument does theirs. Or doesn't. It's kind of out of my hands. One thing I know for sure, the three piece with the keyboard player is way better than those with guitarists. 

The person who makes the difference under the solo is the drummer, they can open their sound with greater ease than us! 

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This isn’t a 3 piece - but believe me having seen him live his bass tone is huge - to me this is a great example of space in a bassline and appropriate noodling when required as well as being an awesome rock song.

Its not till you see him play it you realise the extras, odd ghost/mute notes Glenn puts in.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CPiB9XRBK8O/?utm_medium=copy_link

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