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3 Piece band

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by FatCity, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. FatCity


    Apr 30, 2002
    Lexington, SC
    Endorsing Artist: Howard's Crispy Fried Chicken Skins
    I know that there is no simple answer, but I am looking for some opinions.

    I have recently joined a new band, we consist of bass, guitar, and drums and we all share vocal duties. We play classic/80's era rock (Cheap Trick, The Cult, Def Leppard, etc.). We all work well together and enjoy playing with each other...the band feels complete. The problem is that some tunes sound very empty when the guitarist takes a lead. We have auditioned a few other guitar players but no one seems to fit.

    What can I do as the bass player to help fill up some of that space? What techniques do you use?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    I'm a 3-piece now, and there's a couple things you can do.

    1) Guitarist gets a RC-20CX, Boomerang, etc.. and loops the chord progression for a solo section.. and plays it while he's playing. It takes practice, but is awesome if donw right.

    2) I use a Big Muff. it's got tons of overtones in the fuzz, so it's really thick. You can either send it to second Amp, or use a Loooper with Blend.

    3) Re-work your songs so the emptiness isn't all that big of a deal.
  3. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    "De-thicken" the parts when he's not soloing. Instead of chording, for example, he could play fills. Think of the "main" part of the song as being vocals and bass -- then when he solo's he's replacing the vocals rather than the rhythm guitar. In other words, the trick is to not set up the expectation of rhythm guitar so that you don't miss it when it's gone.
  4. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    So more like an Older Billy Idol feel.. White Wedding?
  5. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Play acoustic.

  6. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    The big muff could help you out a lot, as well as an octaver. That way, you get the bassline down low, and a nice "guitarish" sound up high.

    But really, the best way to do it is to work THROUGH it, not around it. Keep any rhythm playing he does quiet, and give him a boost for lead. Try and arrange the songs for LEAD guitarist, a bass player, and a drummer. That kind of thing.
  7. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Keep playing smooth lines, mostly roots. The less guitars the better IMO, a three piece is perfect. The guitarrist is really out there in front when soloing.
  8. Approach the solo differently than the rest of the song - find something that grooves and holds down the rhythm. I usually simplify what I'm playing and focus more on replacing the rhythm guitar parts - trying to make my parts "big and fat" to fill more space. some ideas to try:
    • simple chords (I-V-VIII),
    • different arpeggios
    • longer, more sustained notes
    • double up on the notes - play eighths or sixteenths instead of quarter notes.
    • a higher register - it can sometimes fill in the middle better without losing too much low end.
    you just have to find what works for each song.
  9. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    You can fill up the space without relying on effects. Not that there's anything wrong with using them, but good playing without effects will beat lazy playing with them any day.

    Don't play the same notes as the guitarist, don't use a simillar tone and don't play in the same register. Highlight your differences, embrace your inner bassist!

    Tweaking arrangements also helps. Having the guitarist play the 3rd and 5th of a chord while the bass takes the root is preferable to the guitarist playing all 3 notes and the bassist walking the same thing, for example. You might also want to read up on basic rules for counterpoint and voice leading as these can really help highlight the independence of your lines. Avoiding a lot of paralell motion between the instruments will make you stand apart and keep listeners more engaged, to the point that they won't notice there is only 1 guitar.
  10. FatCity


    Apr 30, 2002
    Lexington, SC
    Endorsing Artist: Howard's Crispy Fried Chicken Skins
    Thanks for all of the replies- I appreciate it! I have some experimenting to do...