“Power Trio”?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by BOOG, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. BOOG


    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Off the wall question but, what does “power” mean when people refer to “Power Trio”?
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    From wiki.....
    "made possible in part by developments in amplifier technology that greatly enhanced the volume of the electric guitar and bass. Particularly, the popularization of the electric bass guitar defined the bottom end and filled in the gaps. Since the amplified bass could also now be louder, the rest of the band could also play at higher volumes, without fear of being unable to hear the bass. This allowed a three-person band to have the same sonic impact as a large band but left far more room for improvisation and creativity, unencumbered by the need for detailed arrangements."

    So, it may literally have started as a way to say a trio driven by powerful amps.
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  3. BOOG


    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I still fail to see the need to refer to a trio as a power trio other than aesthetics. Maybe, I’m just missing something.
  4. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    I've always thought the genesis of "power trio" came from groups like "Cream". Three very talented musicians in one group, where any one of the three could front a band on their own. I know they were considered a "super group", but I think this was also one of the first power trios. I'd bet at least 95% of rock groups have at least a 4th player (second guitar or keys), so the power trio is kind of unusual.

    In my mind, the more generic use if for the rock approach with a skeleton crew: drums, bass and guitar with at least one who can sing. I personally really enjoy playing in this environment - I really get to stretch my bass legs helping to fill in the sonic needs that may be otherwise missing. Love to support soloists - it's almost a solo in it's own right.
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  5. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Probably, so people won't confuse a rock trio to something like the Keith Jarrett Trio, for example. ;)
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  6. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    It's an excuse to play loud, even though there's only 3 of you.
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  7. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    It’s related to the term “power chord.” The music is structured so as to have high sonic fullness with minimal instrumentation and that is usually achieved partly through having a versatile guitarist who can play strong chordal music with added fills and leads.
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  8. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
  9. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Yep...as Cream established the concept(but didn't coin the term themselves)after acquiring Marshall stacks, the music they specialized in(rock heavily based on the blues, and mutated blues riffs, featuring wild extended solos by all three of them, sometimes all at once)came to define the name/description. Less instruments(missing the clangy rhythm guitar), but louder amplification. The riff, and power chord(although pioneered years earlier by Link Ray on "Rumble")became everything. Now, Pete Townshend was the first guitarist to put together a stack; The Who were essentially a trio plus front man, but his chordal style, played on thinner sounding guitars like Rickenbacker and Fender Strat, and not as blues-based, did not really lend itself to that term. He did call what they were doing 'Power Pop', but that's a whole different thing. Roughly at the same time, the Yardbirds, with Jimmy Page as the then sole guitarist, had the same line up, but while Page was getting ideas, those had to wait until Zeppelin came together. Hendrix, of course, came along and upset Cream's apple cart, but I think he was inspired by what they were doing, and although he himself was a Strat guy, he enhanced his signal with a fuzz box, and then cranked everything. All Clapton did was just crank it(maybe with help from a treble boost), but he had the humbuckers for that saturated sound. A single note/riff became monstrous. Then, overnight, a lot of bands jumped onboard; Blue Cheer being one of the first, on through with Gun, Budgie, Dust, ZZ Top, BB&A, Rush, and so on, plus the trio+vocals outfits like the original Jeff Beck Group, Cactus, and Frijid Pink, etc. A far cry from Buddy Holly and The Crickets...
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