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Filling out the sound with no rhythm guitar


BillyBass

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1 minute ago, Nail Soup said:

One other thing to consider is the guitarists settings.... could the issue be (partially) resolved the he/she used a boost pedal or echo etc during solo?

Good point .. he needs a full lead sound with some delay and a little boost in volume 

Sounds counter intuitive but he fills out the sound too and maybe put him through the PA as well ? 

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5 hours ago, BillyBass said:

Any tips?. . . .

 

I am biased, because I don't think you have a problem.

 

You have spaces in your music? Great, IMO that's a good thing. One guitarist is also good. Even in Rock, I hate the "filled up" sound of 2 guitarists pounding power chords at each other!! 

 

Embrace the spaces.

 

Filling up the sound with over playing won't sound good (will loose the groove) and hitting a pedal every time there is solo will sound "amateurish" after awhile. If you have locked in with the drummer it doesn't matter what other instruments are playing or if they have stopped. The song carries on riding on the groove that you and the drummer are laying down.

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As others have said here, don't scoop your sound and keep some healthy mids in there. 

Pedal wise, I've got an old sansamp which is great for adding a bit of that Ampeg style tone. Also I use an analogue octaver when I want to fill out in a trio. Not so much to fill in for the lack of a rhythm guitar but more to just thicken the sound. I just kick it in when needed in a song and keep the octave sound very low so it's subtle enough to not be a jump in tone. Also, too much and gets a bit artificial sounding. Also the reason for analogue rather than digital octaver is that it has a more organic and less synthy tone... imho.

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6 hours ago, BillyBass said:

Hi all,

 

I'm an inexperienced bassist, less than 4 years playing and am in my first band.  We (so far) have a setlist of twenty 90s rock covers that we do with drums, bass, vocals and one guitar.  When listening back to our rehearsals I sometimes find it sounds a little empty, particularly where the guitarist is soloing and not strumming chords or where the original song was played with two guitars.

 

I've tried a few things to fill out the sound, such as following the guitar chords with the bass, instead of thumping away on the E string as the original song bassist does and also playing more notes.  These work sometimes and sometimes they don't.

 

I sometimes read about other bassists using pedals to fill out the sound.  This is something I don't know much about.  I have a few pedals and use them for specific songs, e.g. fuzz with 'Song 2' but I don't know much about single pedal use or stacked pedals to fill out the sound on stage.

 

Any tips?

 

The bassist in my brother's band fills the gap with overdrive. I like a song to have dynamics and sometimes leave space and sometimes fill it by getting busier.

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Also, and this is not for every song, you could use the Gwizdala trick of using an echo, rather than a reverb. He has a preset on the Helix stomp which is also on the TC flashback2, where you get 3 short repeats. Use it subtly and it adds loads but isn't ott like some. I got a tc flashback2 s/h quite cheap and there's a Gwizdala toneprint for this... surprisingly useful.

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41 minutes ago, Boodang said:

As others have said here, don't scoop your sound and keep some healthy mids in there. 

Pedal wise, I've got an old sansamp which is great for adding a bit of that Ampeg style tone. Also I use an analogue octaver when I want to fill out in a trio. Not so much to fill in for the lack of a rhythm guitar but more to just thicken the sound. I just kick it in when needed in a song and keep the octave sound very low so it's subtle enough to not be a jump in tone. Also, too much and gets a bit artificial sounding. Also the reason for analogue rather than digital octaver is that it has a more organic and less synthy tone... imho.

 

I think that's true but does depend on the music. Sometimes that wall of sound is what makes the song sound great. 

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I'd suggest using reverb, "slap back" delay or echo.

 

My preference would be reverb, but subtly applied so it's just audible, but you can "feel" the space.

 

Unfortunately, due to the limitations on the POD Go I'm using, I haven't got enough slots free for a reverb, so the work around is to have a high number on the "Early Reflections" on the cab model. Not perfect, but it works.

 

Alternatively, tell the drummer to get busy! :D 

Edited by Skybone
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2 hours ago, Greg Edwards69 said:

 

On Alive, I use judicious drive and chorus to really fatten the bass up.  I also improve a little on the outro underneath the solos around simple pentatonic shapes. The bassline on this song is busier than you might think. Make use of those glissandos, harmonics and vibrato.

I mainly play root and octave for the outro but slip in a few 5ths when playing G and A, and yes I make use of the glissandos, harmonics and vibrato, though I play a fretted bass with rounds.

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42 minutes ago, Skybone said:

I'd suggest using reverb, "slap back" delay or echo.

 

My preference would be reverb, but subtly applied so it's just audible, but you can "feel" the space.

 

Unfortunately, due to the limitations on the POD Go I'm using, I haven't got enough slots free for a reverb, so the work around is to have a high number on the "Early Reflections" on the cab model. Not perfect, but it works.

 

Alternatively, tell the drummer to get busy! :D 

Yep, I run a TC Flashback2 into a HoF2 and that gives me plenty of options. They've both got slots for toneprint presets as well with some great ones to choose from.

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There are so many different approaches to this common problem but I'm inclined to agree with the eminent Mr @chris_b that allowing some space in the arrangement is preferable to stomping on a pedal.

 

I suppose if one must use a pedal I'd wait for the solo then step on an EQ with a boost somewhere in the mids. This will help to mask some of the temporarily empty frequencies without obviously banging up the overall volume or turning one's carefully crafted tone into sludge.

 

If anyone should be using a delay pedal it should be the guitarist. In fact, they should experiment with using two delays, the first in the chain set for a short, single repeat slap-back and the other set to a longer delay with a couple of repeats. Get his second delay as wet as wet can be then dial back from there.

 

Finally, the guitarist could try the TC Mimiq Doubler pedal which seems to combine a sort of fake-stereo Haas (Precedence) effect with pitch shifting to make it sound like more than one guitarist is playing. Which is fine except it will work best with two amps in stereo placed wide on the stage because the Haas effect is all about stereo.

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I used an Akai Unibass pedal for years for this exact purpose. It adds an octave above plus distortion. It will also add a harmony if wanted (4th or 5th). I used it when the guitarist took a solo. Worked a treat. Unfortunately they don’t make them any longer and they have become pricey used, hence I’m considering selling mine

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27 minutes ago, Nickev said:

I used an Akai Unibass pedal for years for this exact purpose. It adds an octave above plus distortion. It will also add a harmony if wanted (4th or 5th). I used it when the guitarist took a solo. Worked a treat. Unfortunately they don’t make them any longer and they have become pricey used, hence I’m considering selling mine

Doesn't do 4th & 5ths, but a cog T65 does an octave down, octave up, plus some overdrive. 

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19 hours ago, chris_b said:

 

I am biased, because I don't think you have a problem.

 

This is a good point, listening to a recording it might sound a bit sparse but at gig with the volume and general "buzz" around a live performance people wont notice the lack of rhythm guitar so much.

 

I recall one occasion where I was in a two guitar rock covers band and we had to do a gig where one guitarist was absent and noone in the audience (judging by the reception) really noticed much difference at the gig, indeed one person who was there who had seen us with a full lineup said it took him half the set to realise were were missing anyone.

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I'm another "embrace the space" fan. It amplifies mistakes so you need to be as rehearsed as you can be (there are less places to hide). I used to fear it but now I welcome it. 

 

Pedals are nice but the fix doesn't have to have a financial answer. Look at building confidence in your playing and just have fun with it. 

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What is this rhythm guitar' thing anyway?

 

What interested me about Chuck Berry was the way he could step out of the rhythm part with such ease, throwing in a nice, simple riff, and then drop straight into the feel of it again. We used to play a lot more rhythm stuff. We'd do away with the differences between lead and rhythm guitar. You can't go into a shop and ask for a "lead guitar". You're a guitar player, and you play a guitar.

Keith Richards

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1 hour ago, casapete said:

What is this rhythm guitar' thing anyway?

 

What interested me about Chuck Berry was the way he could step out of the rhythm part with such ease, throwing in a nice, simple riff, and then drop straight into the feel of it again. We used to play a lot more rhythm stuff. We'd do away with the differences between lead and rhythm guitar. You can't go into a shop and ask for a "lead guitar". You're a guitar player, and you play a guitar.

Keith Richards

 

Uli Jon Roth's Sky guitar 42 frets. Definitely a lead guitar!

 

image.png.d8c14fc5911b69bd1c3f8fb1a3507bbf.png

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@Happy Jack messaged me after seeing I live quite close to him and invited me over to his 'studio'.

 

I spent a couple of hours with him today learning from his experience and knowledge, mainly on the subject of this thread.

 

Many thanks Jack, I learnt a lot today

Edited by BillyBass
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2 hours ago, BillyBass said:

@Happy Jack messaged me after seeing I live quite close to him and invited me over to his 'studio'.

 

I spent a couple of hours with him today learning from his experience and knowledge, mainly on the subject of this thread.

 

Many thanks Jack, I learnt a lot today

.... but what did you learn?

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8 hours ago, Boodang said:

.... but what did you learn?

@BillyBass can tell you what he learned ... what I learned was that his SansAmp Geddy Lee preamp sounds just sublime through a big power amp into a Barefaced cab. 🙂

Edited by Happy Jack
Calling it a SansaAmp made it sound like something from Game Of Thrones ...
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9 hours ago, Boodang said:

.... but what did you learn?

 

1 hour ago, Happy Jack said:

@BillyBass can tell you what he learned ... what I learned was that his SansAmp Geddy Lee preamp sounds just sublime through a big power amp into a Barefaced cab. 🙂

That was one thing!

 

Jack went through a few different pedal options with me, as a means to filling out the sound when the guitarist solos and there is no rhythm guitar.

He (and his other half @Silvia Bluejay ) also gave me lots of advice about gigging, which is something I haven't done yet.

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