Only guitarist in a trio

Discussion in 'Tab & Music Forum' started by Cerb, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist

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  2. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

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    That rocks. Now I want to busk. I even have a tiny 16" kick drum. If I had a couple more people I could do that today.
     
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  3. Agtronic

    Agtronic Senior Stratmaster

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    hah! I was preparing to say "learn everything you can about chords", and that will inevitably translate into more interesting lead work as a result.
     
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  4. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    Everything depends on the arrangements and the skills the 3 people bring to the table. With a guitar/bass/drums trio, at least one of you has to do double duty. Somebody's gotta do vocals. But really, everybody's got to do a little more than they would in a bigger band.

    With some of my favorite trios--Jimi Hendrix experience, Cream, and ZZ Top--the bass player occasionally adds some distortion so the bass fills some rhythm guitar territory.


    Tim Commerford (the bass player for Rage Against the Machine & Audioslave--both quartets with usually only 1 guitar playing) does something similar.
    “I started realizing that my role had to do with how I’d play when Tom would solo-which he does quite often-or when he’s making weird noises. The bass was left alone as the only instrument playing melody, and I wanted it to be heard, so I knew I couldn’t just keep one tone happening through every song. I had to have some way of jumping it up and making it more exciting. So my role has been trying to fill the gap that a rhythm guitar player and bass player would normally fill.
    Tim Commerford Breaks Out With Audioslave
    He's using an ABY pedal, turning on a second (distorted) amp when he needs to fill more space.

    So I guess what I'm saying is, one way to make a trio work is to get the bass player to step up.
     
  5. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

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    You sound great, but that looks like a ton of work! :)
     
  6. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Strat-Talker

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    Hey Cerb,
    I hope the gig went great!
     
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  7. briand135

    briand135 Strat-Talk Member

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    I have to disagree. I was in a trio for 28 years and an currently in 2 duos. The trio was keys, guitar and drums. Even though we had keys who played left hand bass I would use a guitar synth to cover parts that he couldn't. Now my main duo is keys and guitar. My partner also plays left hand bass and is really good at it. The drums are programmed for speed, rhythm and fills all triggered by pedals but not for duration. We can play the same song all night if we want. I do 85-90% of the lead vocals and obviously all the back ups and I use (but don't overuse) a vocal harmonizer and we seriously sound like a full band. What I'm saying is that one person can't just step up and make a difference. Everyone needs to. Technology is out there that allows us to do incredible things without much extra effort. If you're the kind of player that just wants to plug in and play that's just fine...not a damn thing wrong with that but I'm interested in how believable the music is and a traditional bass/guitar/drum trio doesn't do it for me. Unless you spice it up a bit I get very bored with that sound. The bottom falls out when the guitar does a solo. It becomes the same old sound every song, again, just my opinion. So for me adding some technology helps in the end. My old band was a high energy dance band and when my keyboard player couldn't make the gig I ran a B3 from my guitar synth in the background just for fill. It helped a lot.
     
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  8. bf1024

    bf1024 Strat-Talk Member

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    I do the same. Trio with a great bass player that has been playing for about 45-50 years. I have played on-and-off since I was about 14 (I'm 65 now) He is experienced enough to know what to play and when to play. He uses an Ampeg SVT...nice amp. I'm the only guitarist and since playing this way I have found it so much better. The key to it is selecting songs that work for a 3 person band and staying within the vocalists range as well. Plus, no 2 guitarists competing against each other.
     
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  9. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Learn to play Rhythm/Lead by combining solid rhythm playing within timely licks. Rhythm guitar is everything and in a trio having super solid dynamic rhythm is the secret to success, then your licks will have more space and dynamics.
     
  10. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist

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    Thanks. I started working something out yesterday for Mustang Sally. It sounded a bit anemic with only the Wilson Picket style guitar and nor horn section.
     
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  11. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

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    I don't think I would enjoy many of the scenarios you outlined, and probably would not enjoy juggling that much tech. But, if I am guitar boy playing along with bass and drums, I would certainly think that it would be worth doing to put a pedal for octave up/down and some fuzz on Mr. Bass guy for times when more girth is needed and I would want to maybe use a 2 amp rig with different tones and effects. That part all sounds fun.
     
  12. Morf2540

    Morf2540 Senior Stratmaster

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    Yes, this exactly. I am the only guitar player in our group. I live mainly in the rhythm section, but embellish with fills and color as much as possible. Often this means figuring out how to voice the chords in a way that the complementary notes for fills are reachable. The movable "D" and "A" shapes are great for this. Dynamics play a big part too. I find it's best to play with a light touch on the rhythm parts, so when you step out for fills the volume is more consistent.

    Some songs - ones with two very distinct guitar parts - might be harder to pull off. But the key is to capture the essence of a song, not try to replicate everything note for note.
     
  13. Esg877

    Esg877 Strat-Talker

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    Trios are boring? Maybe they are, if the musicians are nothing to write home about.

    Out the top of my head, some "boring" trios:

    Jimmy Hendrix Experience, Rush, Cream, Emmerson, Lake & Palmer, Buddy Holly's The Crickets, Genesis, Motorhead, Nirvana, SRV and double trouble, The Police, ZZ top, Green day, Bestie boys, John Mayer trio, Meat puppets, James gang... I could probably find many more.

    Sure, some of them incorporated other instruments at certain times, and during studio, but they were essentially trios. Not to everyone's taste, but you can't call them boring and repetitive, IMHO.
     
  14. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Are you a cover band?

    I think, regarding this discussion, there are two types of Trio bands, original music and cover bands. We aren’t considering jazz trios here, which is a different discussion, I think?

    In a cover band the objective is the fill up the stage with the familiar sounds of the records you are covering and this might require that you have a bunch of extra gadgets to achieve this, such as guitar synths playing organ parts or horn parts or drum machines, etc etc. and your job as the guitarist might be to reinvent parts that weren’t originally recorded with a guitar. I tend to refer to bands like this as “Sally” bands which is a reference to the most covered song in history “Mustang Sally”. This isn’t a criticism as much as an observation, and it takes a good musician to do this type of playing professionally.

    But in an original band that is a trio it’s all about a bombastic performance of mostly original songs. Usually this is a power wall of three guys, drums and amps turned up loud rocking out. The guitar player’s job in this scenario is to unleash a giant guitar and song performance. His sound might not deviate that much through the show other than in the dynamics of his playing technique. This is where the Jimmy Page’s, and Jimi Hendrix’s of the world exist.

    I’ve personally been in both of these kind of bands, I’ve always preferred the original band version for artistic expression and overall fun at gigs, but it was always the Sally bands that paid better money.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
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  15. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist

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    Like I said abovr. I have a ton of stuff to work on... I'll be woodshedin' for a while from now on. No more noodling.
     
  16. rolandson

    rolandson Most Honored Senior Member

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    Just give yourself the authority to play.
     
  17. gazzie

    gazzie Strat-Talk Member

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    Personally I only like playing in bands as the only guitarist - specifically guitar/bass/drums line ups. I also prefer having a separate singer as well, that way everyone just concentrates on what they are best at. But in my current 3 piece band I sing and play the guitar. You just need people who are good at playing in that kind of line up. My advice is go for it and work at it until it sounds good - get your arrangements sorted. Dynamics are your friend, and are easier with a 3 piece. Also remember the guitarist plays rhythm at least 90% of the time in most bands, and every song doesn't need a guitar solo! Good drummers and bassists will help you a lot in your solos so I wouldn't worry about not having a 2nd guitarist. A short delay will fill out any solo enough to sound huge -if that's what you want Here's my favourites - and they haven't even got a full drum kit. Ha!
     
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  18. MKE Bill

    MKE Bill New Member!

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    There's also a new trio out of Canada called Rush. They seem to do alright...
     
  19. Brutus

    Brutus Strat-Talker

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    I play in a trio. I sing and play the guitar. We play covers and I try to pick songs that are written by trios. (Hendrix, Red hot chili peppers, John Mayer trio and Blues music)
     
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  20. drp146

    drp146 Strat-Talk Member

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    Sorta over stated. There would've been no hits from Zeppelin without their riff master. But, of course, they were the sum of their parts, for sure.
     
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