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Converting down to 3-piece

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by PanteraFan, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. Well, my lead guitarist is probably going to leave my band. His reasons are that he's just not enjoying it, and that practicing has become a weekly chore. He doesn't like the stuff we're playing, and it seems too simple, so he wants to leave, get better, and when he forms another band write some real 'master' songs. It all seems like egotisitical ranting to me. The real reason seems to be that his goal is to be versatile, and when the other members of the band say they don't want to play ska/punk/acoustic rock/grunge, he quits. Also might be because the drummer hates him and I called him an immature **** for getting a Playstation 2 instead of a decent amp.

    Anyhoo, I really want to try the band in a 3 piece format. Guitar/Vocals, Drums and Bass. I hear my fellow TB'ers ranting about how they like this setup, and I'm intrigued - I've never played in a 3 piece before. The only thing I'm worried about is slimming down some of our songs. My rhythm guitarist is fairly good at playing and singing at the same time, but some of our songs have fairly hard verse riffs, which he might not be able to handle while singing. Chorus and bridge wise, we've got it all worked out, as he wrote his vocals to accomodate the music(which is why I love him so much) but the verses he sort of left to me and my lead guitarist to chunk out, to make the chorus and bridge parts seem heavier. Should I just have him play all the lead guitarist parts, or do like a 50/50 deal of us both doing the lead guitarist's parts(we can both play al his riffs, seeing as we wrote a lot of them)? If you have any other advice, it is much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    A 3 piece band will give you more room to play and have fun.

    I think you should both play your own parts, but expand on them.

    I think it sounds cheesy when a 3 piece band tries to do 4 piece stuff.

  3. Expand - do you mean make the music seem more 'busy'?
  4. sashi.d


    Apr 8, 2002
    please get a new guitarist!!!
    i was in a three piece for a while and you get so restricted with songs and they end up sounding so plain. i had to sing in that three piece cos the guitarist was to chicken which is hard cos we played bob marley and jimi hendrix tunes and it sometimes just got so frustrating that couldn't do anything and the bands simplicity bugged me.
    tip: if you do have problems sounding good in the trio distract the audience like i did. while playing james brown songs i danced around the stage with an afro wig, worked like a charm:D
  5. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Egotistical ranting from a lead guitarist?! Really? What's this world coming to?:D

    Seriously, a 3 piece can really liberate your playing. I've played in bands ranging from 7- to 3-piece and they all have their pros and cons but the space afforded by a 3-piece will let you get out there and do some interesting stuff. Try for a while and then you can go and get another lead guy if you so desire.
  6. I'm just trying to avoid having a lot of songs sound the same when it comes to re-arrangement, such as most of the verses being bass-only. That can get formulaic real quick, even if you're in a different key and time signature. We have a couple of songs like that, where the lead guitar would 'duel' with the bass, and the rhythm guitarist came in on chorus/bridge/some parts of verse(like certain chords on verse). Would you say that keeping the songs as much like they are as possible, but getting my now-guitarist to only play the lead guitarists parts when they are absolutely essential(intros, guitar breaks, chord reinforcement etc.)?

    That seems like the easiest way to make the transition, and I can add a few walking tones to my current lines to reinforce harmony(before, we had 3rds, 7ths etc. provided by the lead guitarist to provide the harmony).

    Tonewise, my band will sound a lot better. The problem of tonal guitar mush is now eliminated, and my guitarist's Strat becomes a useful tool in rhythm and lead riffage :D.
  7. 3-piece bands rule!
  8. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    3-piece bands are fun. You could try experimenting with having a second amp or a circuit to add all kinds of effects to 'fill up' the sound. When I played with a 3-piece, I used a Ric in stereo mode with two amps, and a bunch of effects off of the bridge pup.

    Another option is to look for a good keyboard player.
  9. I'm in a three piece instrumental black metal band right now. Well, we are only a 3 piece because we lack a drummer and vocalist. It's cool though.

    In a past band I was in, we had an egotistical guitar player who left our foursome, dropping up to a trio. We played a lot better, and I was happy because I was able to step out more, ala Entwistle. We got better gigs, more money, and a bigger fan base after he left.

    It probably won't always work as well as it did for us, but you never know.
  10. One less mouth to feed equals more gig money for everyone else.
  11. So, the general consensus is that altering songs to remove a lead guitar player that never soloed is quite easy?

  12. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Man, that cracked me up. Thanks.
  13. I played in a three piece rock band for six years back in the 70' and early 80's. Drums, bass and guitar. It can be done but all three pieces have to do their job. If any one of the three drops out for even two beats you are dead in the water. That's what made it fun. I have to agree with the person who said look for a key board player. As long as you can find one who will keep his #!@%$&^% hand off the bass notes.
  14. natebass


    Sep 6, 2001
    Bremerton, WA
    I can definitely agree about having more sonic room to play around in - but (personally) I would see what the 3 of you could do without those parts first.:cool:
  15. I've been playing in a 3 piece for about 4 months now in what was a 4 piece for about a year. For us, we took each song and looked at what were the most important elements - is there a signature guitar lick that the song sounds dead without? Do those elements HAVE to be played on the original instrument or we switch it around to keep the 'feel' of the song?
    Example - We do 'Wonderful Tonight' by Eric Clapton and we had a keyboard player with a nice motion sound leslie-type cabinet. As a 3 piece I play chords more like a keyboard or rhythm guitar part using a little chorus to keep the 'idea' of an organ with a leslie.
    On 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' I double the guitar lick during vocals but on the guitar solos I alternate between the guitar lick and some power chords. It takes listening to where the holes are. The guitar player has trimmed down some of his solos so he can keep some rhythm fill going if I need to really hit the low end.
  16. it can go either way it can be good or it can be bad.
    As a bass player who has played in a 3 piece band and a 4 and 5 piece bands i found that playing in the 3 piece with just a guitarist and drummer, it allowed me to learn how to make more melodic basslines whilst still creating the groove backbone for the rhythm section.

    It can be difficult though when playing live depending on what kind of stuff you're playing. When your recording its easy to lay down 2 or 3 different guitar parts, but when your live how do you play all of those? Even some pro 3 piece bands bring in other musicians when they play live (Greenday is one of them).
  17. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I'm in a trio, it does give you a lot of room to do your thing: I would prefer having another musician in the band though. I would actually prefer to simplify my playing and make room for another melodic source, just to have that dynamic element.
  18. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    My band converted from a 4 to a 3 piece and I wouldn't switch back for anything. We even play songs that you wouldn't think possible with a 3 piece, such as a Pink Floyd medley and a Beatles medley. The most common type of compliment we get after shows is, "You guys really pulled that off as a 3 piece and I wouldn't have thought that possible with those songs."

    It helps that we have about 4 years together and we have gotten pretty tight. It's absolutely necessary for both you and the guitarist to rethink your instruments and even your philosophy of playing. The "less is more" approach to bass has to be abandoned and you need to start playing like a fingerstyle guitar player where you play basic root notes and runs while improvising rhythm parts on the upper strings at the same time. The guitarist will have to think rhythm and melody alternatively and sometimes simultaneously.

    It's a challenge, but well worth it for some groups (it's not for everybody).
  19. I really learned to play being in a 3 piece band. As long as your guitar player is at least competent and you've got a good drummer- if you've got the music sense- it'll do you good.

    I think since playing with 4 and 5 piece bands, my playing has really suffered in terms of me actually coming up with stuff. I think I'm probably better in terms of being a "team player" but less so in being self-indulgent.
  20. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I'm a 3 piece and a 4 piece. I prefer the sonic qualities of the 3 piece by far.

    If you guitarist can't handle singing and playing tricky riffs at the same time, drop those songs and learn ones he can do. There are many great songs out there that work well for a three piece.

    good luck

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