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3, 4, 5 ... How many band members?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by *ToNeS*, Jul 10, 2001.

  1. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    i'm in a band that has had up to 5 members at one time - currently it is a trio consisting of guitar, drums and bass/vocals... i keep looking at a lot of bands out there making it and they appear to have at least 5 (if not more - look at Slipknot ! that's insane ! about 4 of them don't even do anything !) members. there seems to be very bands with less than 4 people in them these days, it seems. it also feels kind of sparse onstage sometimes, having only two guys actually standing up able to move around. i sometimes wish for a second guitarist, just to fill in the space :D
    i was wondering what people think about the number of people in a band ? personally, i feel that four is a good number, but how many do you think and why ? i've found trios like ours to be musically tighter but less engaging to watch.
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I like 18.

    and 55.

    I've been in both.
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I play bass in a 3 piece instrumental band-I like it.

    I play guitar in a 4 piece-thats fun, the two guitars make a fairly dense wall of sound.

    I play bass at church and we often have 6 musicians and 3 singers-thats good in a different way as everyone has to think about what they are playing (and not move much).

    Tomorrow I am finishing a stint with a Gospel group (sort of) and we will have drums 2 percussionists, two guitarists two keyboards loads of singers and me.

    I like playing different music with different people. Along as the music is good and the people are nice it dont really matter.
  4. I like 3 people in a band. Ive tried 4 and 5, but it got very confusing and frustrating. Trying to get too many people to do too many things. My current band is me, a guitarist and a drummer. It works great.
  5. I'm in 2 bands...well, really one that mutates into 2 gigs:

    Rico Monaco & Sol Sons: Core group of 7, sometimes with a variety of horns to fill things up a bit more (as if it wasn't already crowded enough :eek: ; ) ), and occasionally a female backup singer or two. We've gigged with as many as 13, but generally are at 7.

    Tito Puente, Jr: Basically RM&SS with a 4 piece horn section and 3-4 dancers, then Tito out front. Sometimes a female backup vocalist joins the singer from RM&SS (Freddy, killer voice), but not lately. Typically, we are at 12 musicians/singers onstage with 3 dancers.

    I've become very comfortable with large bands, although I started out doing mostly trio stuff. There isn't a lot of room for me musically and visually, but that's cool because it's made up for by the greater opportunity for musical interaction with different instruments.

    Anyone that feels a trio lacks visual interest should go catch a Rush concert ;). It's all a matter of doing something interesting once in a while, both guys out front have to be animated, or it will get boring to watch. Clown around as much as you can, it helps...anyone that's seen Geddy & Alex onstage knows what I'm talkin' about here.
  6. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I have 7 in my band and we have a hard time fitting on a stage and coordinating our rehearsal schedules. Sometimes I don't think it's worth the hassle.
  7. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    My band is a four-piece -- bass (me), drums, vocals and guitar. For me, it was very difficult to fight the egos of two guitar players when we were a five-piece. The rest of my band would like to see us add another guitarist (for a fuller sound, especially during the solos), but in that case, I would prefer to dump the singer for a guitarist that can also do lead vocals (if we had one good guitarist, we wouldn't need another). That way, we keep it a four and don't have another opinion to deal with. That may sound arrogant, but the more people you have in your band, the harder it is to get them all to agree on something.
  8. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    yeah ... and Primus make it pretty wild, i guess. i just find that i had so much more scope to entertain the crowd when i didn't have to handle vocal duties as well - i jumped around, balanced on the bass drum whilst playing, played me bass in weird poses, all that. now i find it really hard to entertain _as well_ as play bass *and* sing. my concentration is already so split between laying the groove and singing the melody, plus i can't really stray from the mic too much - every time i decide to venture off during an instrumental part in a song, i suddenly remember i have to pick up the singing again and create that "rushed" effect of a vocal coming in late. sounds terrible ! :(
    any tips for maintaining a strong/entertaining presence whilst "leading" ? it's something that really pisses me off. ALL I EVER WANTED TO DO WAS PLAY ROOT NOTES !!!! :( :p
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    One thing I always liked and some bands are bringing back, (one of mine included) - light shows. Even projecting old Mickey Mouse cartoons on the band and the wall behind you can look cool.
  10. I can be 10 feet from the mic and have to come back in singing 2 beats later and somehow make it. Just a knack thing i guess. Entertain the crowd, but stay in control. If you do come back in just a bit late, maybe change the phrasing of the first line and act like you planned it that way. In short, never let 'em see ya sweat. Crowds usually don't notice that kind of stuff unless you somehow draw their attention to it. I guess another solution would be a wireless headset mic.
    The band i'm in now is a 6 piece, with another that just sings, plus diff guests everyweek. I prefer playing with a larger band because i can just play bass and don't feel like i have to kinda fill notes to help the empty spaces. Alot of 3 piece bands are tight as a drum, but unless they are using alot of synth parts, which i'm not crazy about, stuff tends to sound alike after a few songs alot of times. The band i'm in now is fun too because they work out the fills and leads ahead of time. I played with a 7 piece band a little over a year ago that alot of times gave me a headache because they constantly played on top of each other all the time. It was like a free for all for solo's and fills, no communication across the stage, and we played the same damned songs over and over with no real improvments shown in that dept. Then, after all playing at once, they'd suddenly all stop playing just leaving me and the drummer as the only ones playing. He'd say, it's just you and me pal, when that would happen. Trent
  11. bobaweeka


    Jan 2, 2001
    Correction. They do roll around onstage and beat the living daylights out of each other. :D
  12. foolfighter24

    foolfighter24 Guest

    Apr 22, 2000
    And the harder it is to get them all to get the practice. And focus.

    Of course, the first 3 practices I had with my 3 piece rock band, I brought an extra controller with my gear so the 3 of us could all play N64 at the same time. :D
  13. Skwad


    May 26, 2001
    i'm in a 3 piece band: drummer, bass/backup vocals (me), and guitar/lead vocals. i think we sound real tight, and we haven't truely KNOWN each other for taht long, maybe about a year at max, and we all seem to click. having ESP w/ the drummer helps alot, i mouth his words as he says them. well we started the band back in march, and we got 8 songs done, and the more we play together the quicker we get everything done. we talked about getting a 4th piece as a lead singer, but that didn't work at all, we just couldn't click. my asnwer is 3, but if u can get more to click, then go for it
  14. rob_d


    Jun 14, 2001
    My favorite is probably 3 piece...as some have stated though it depends on the music. I'm into a jam band type of thing so to have the freedom to do what I like on the bass without stepping on any other toes is nice. With 2 guitars I often find the sound tends to get muddy, unless you have 2 really good guitar players who know how to play off of each other. Actually now that I think of it my ideal would be 4, gtr, bs, dms and keys. The keys can fill in some harmony and give some variety in the soloing and jamming tonally while still giving the music the space it needs and freeing it from any "muddiness" factor. But thats just me. I've played in big bands with more players than I cared to count and had a blast as well. Whatever works, in the end it's more the quality of the people you're playing with than the quantity. Give me 2 really good players to jam with over 7 average ones any day..a no brainer.
  15. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I have been in 3, 4, and 5 piece bands. All have had their pluses and minuses. The band I am in now is a 6 piece--bass, drums, lead guitar, lead male vocalist/rhythmn guitarist, female vocalist, and fiddle/keyboard player. It all seems to be working out quite well, so far. We don't usually practice, so scheduling that around everybody hasn't been a problem, so far. We all just do our homework and put the songs together on stage. But we are also gigging 3+ times a week, so that doesn't leave a lot of time to get together for practice and still go to our day jobs and spend time with the families and stuff.

    The music that we are playing requires that we have those 6 different parts in the band, so we cannot get by with anything less.
  16. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    It would seem the me that the type of music drives the size of the band. In my case our Blues/R&B band is a quartette - Bass, guitar,harmonica, and drums with two guys singing lead and three guys singing background.The drummer...well...he drums.

    So I guess my point is that if we wanted to get into horn arrangments we would have to be at least five..... kick out the harp and add at least two horns. If we wanted to be a Maynard Ferguson tribute band we would have to be at least 15. If we wanted to be an early Bob Dylan tribute band we would kick out everybody and get a wailing singer/acoustic guitar player with a harp harness...that would be one. And so on and so on.....
  17. currently:

    Chameleons: varies from 4 to 8 depending on who's around (see name of band...) - folk, R & B
    - difficult to manage rehearsals as there are more people. It's great playing with more people as the sound is fuller, and also small mistakes are more easily covered-up ;>

    Students of Bob: originally 2 guitars & bass, we've added 2 saxes & trumpet, and drums - jazz (mostly RB I/II/III).

    (no-name): 2 guitars & bass, play occasional local gig for meal - jazz, very laid-back dinner music. Playing with only two other people means that everyone is more exposed, and any mistake is much more obvious.

    (no-name): jazz-ensemble at local music centre; we meet weekly - trumpet, tenor-sax, piano, bass, drums - jazz - mostly Real-Book. I got into this one almost by accident (a case of mistaken identity), but found it was such a blast, that I kept going.

    One of the best things any musician can do is PLAY WITH OTHER PEOPLE! Nothing will improve your skill/timing/musicianship, and broaden your musical horizons more, and it's such GREAT FUN!

    er, that's it -

    - Wil
  18. Erlendur Már

    Erlendur Már

    May 24, 2000
    We are four in one band and 3 in another..And I played with 12 bandmembers at a small jazz festival here in Iceland, including 4 trumpets, 2 clarinets and 2 saxophones..
  19. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
    I've been in bands with different numbers, usually 4-5 depending on if the lead guitarist can sing or not :p. Usually 4 is Drummer, Bassist, 2 Guitars with one singing. 5 is the same as the above adding another singer if the guitarist can't sing.
  20. i say three and who needs a stinking guitar player?

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