Doubling on other instruments

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jakelly, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. jakelly


    Nov 8, 2009
    In our band, both guitarists double on keyboards, and one plays harmonica and both sing. That's fun right?

    I want to add a baritone guitar to the mix, at least for a song or two, and I want to play the baritone, not have one of the other guys play it. So, one of the guitar players will need to play bass for those songs where I play the baritone, and has agreed to do that.

    But sheesh, we already have too much equipment on stage (5-piece band). Two keyboards, several guitars, etc. Even the lead singer has a pretty extensive percussion setup and sometimes plays a mandolin on one song. Now I'll be adding yet another guitar and amp. And I don't want to run the baritone direct to the board. I want to run it through a good tube amp with tremolo and reverb like a Deluxe Reverb (reissue), so that could mean another mic dedicated for the amp, etc etc.

    When does it all get to be too much? LOL And what instruments do you all double on or want to double on?
  2. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    It's too much when it takes the fun out of playing.

    I play guitar and keys, and have played them in other bands, but I don't really feel any need to play anything but bass.
  3. jakelly


    Nov 8, 2009

    I hear ya. Its just something I've been wanting to try. So I took the plunge. Last week I bought the bari guitar, just this morning the Deluxe Reverb reissue at a local store that had it on special, so if I want join a band that does western film themes and spy themes, I'm all set.:D It was super easy with the Del. Rev. to dial in that old baritone sound heard on all the old (and newer) records. But I would like to get the guys in this band enthused as much as I am about it.
  4. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Whenever I've seen a multi instrumentalist, it's usually pretty obvious which instrument is his primary instrument.

    With very rare exceptions, I hate to see people that play one instrument very well, and three others kinda sucky like.

    If you are a great bass player, play the freaking bass already.

    IMO, YMMV, etc...... etc........
  5. Flyingfrets

    Flyingfrets Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    We have 2 guitars, drums, & a multi-instrumentalist (keys, guitar & percussion...very good at all 3). All sing lead (or are least able to do so credibly).

    Me? I play bass.
  6. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Drums and bass. But I'm much better on the drums. That's why I spend most of my time playing bass. :D
  7. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Good choice there IMO. If you only play one instrument, that'd be the way to go.....:bag:
  8. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    But think of how much less fun you'd have if there were no drummers in the world! :D Once I get this bass thing down, I'm on to the keyboards!
  9. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Eventide, GHS Strings, G&L Guitars, NS Design, Tsunami Cables
    I am of this same mentality. There are a couple of local bands that look like they're opening up a music store onstage and then switch instruments every other song. At that point, I question if it's really for the song or more for the musicians ego.

    That said, in my folk group I double on EUB and ukulele. We've worked up a great trio with guitar, ukulele and autoharp for a set, and then go back to the guitar, guitar, EUB lineup.
  10. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Leave the amp at home. When you pick up the bari, plug it into the guitarist's amp who's switching with you on bass. That simplifies things already.

    It doesn't sound so bad to me. Your band is already switching things up, so this is just continuing the theme. Sounds fun to me.

    At various gigs I've done a song or two on guitar, mandolin, bari and banjo. It's usually worth the extra schlepping for the variety it adds to the show. Not always... but usually.
  11. 4stringfiend

    4stringfiend Guest

    Jan 15, 2012
    SF Bay Area
    I play guitar myself, I am not all that good and I only play guitar in my bedroom but I love it! I feel like I am a better rounded musician for being able to play both.
  12. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    In my band, I play acoustic guitar, bass, keyboard and harmonica. I have played electric guitar, and I have been encouraged not to. I now practice the electric a lot harder, just because it seems like too simple an instrument for me to be so bad at, but anyway, I don't know; I don't think I'm really that good on ANY of them, and would be happy just to sing, but everyone always pretends I can play.

    Maybe it's because I'm so good looking.

    Or humble...
  13. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    In the pickup Blues band I work with, I play guitar, slide guitar, harmonica and vocals. It's sort of a pain in the butt to carry the extra gear, and switch for different songs, but it's not too bad and the extra sounds without paying for an additional musician comes in handy. Once we get a few more gigs under our belt, I hope to have the instrument switch down by then.

    In the Country band I work with, I play guitar or bass, depending on who's in the lineup that evening. Probably the reason I've been the most consistent member of that band since joining. It can be a little more time consuming to learn both guitar and bass parts to a song.

    For the Reggae band I work with, I mainly play guitar, but they will use me on bass if they need to.

    For the female fronted pop band, I play both acoustic and electric guitar. Even though they are both guitars, they need different amplification and playing styles. The challenge here is getting a balance of sound from the two instruments from song to song.

    For the Prog Jazz group, I play percussion. Even though I only have one role in the band, I use lots of different instruments from cajons to djembes to play the beat. Sometimes, I might play multiple percussion instruments at once.

    I've been multi-instrumental at pretty much every church I have played at recently. Right now, I play bass or percussion depending on what's needed. At my old church, I mainly played bass, but I filled in on guitar and drums when needed. At another church, I played guitar with the mass choir, and bass for the senior choir.

    I've been a bassist most of my life, but for some reason the guitar gigs can be more plentiful than the bass gigs, even though I suck on guitar. I've only been gigging on electric guitar since 2009.

    As you can see, I really enjoy playing music, regardless of instrument. I feel it really makes you a better musician in terms of both skill and marketability. I have found that over the last couple of years, that if I learn a tune on bass, it's that much easier to learn on guitar and vice versa. I feel like I am really getting an appreciation for music in a more holistic way. I only wish I had more time and talent to get proficient on another instrument.
  14. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Well, I played drums for many years before ever picking up a bass. IME, you really have to focus on one instrument at a time in order to really learn it well. I now play bass everyday and drums once or twice a week. Which is appropriate for my learning curve on each. I don't think it's a matter of time or talent so much as a matter of where they're being focused.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    It's "too much" when all the shuffling around on stage distracts from the show. The main reason I got hired for my current band was that the BL / lead singer and one of the guitarists were splitting bass duties and it was breaking up the flow of the sets to keep passing the bass back and forth. Once I came on board they could each just concentrate on their main thing and the presentation improved 100%.

    Also, players who are truly pro-quality on multi instruments are rare and unless you're the Eagles or a killer bluegrass band, hardly ever do you find more than one in the same band. There's a band I know where bass, guitar, keys and even drum duties are switched up over the course of the show and to me some combinations work much better than others... which means some of the songs in their show sound pretty good and others really don't sound good at all. The end result being, a band of reasonably decent players who comes off as less than the sum of their parts.

    Rather than a band full of half-assed doublers, I would much rather have one "utility player" that is truly adept at three or four instruments (e.g., guitar, maybe a horn, keyboards and if possible a "novelty instrument" like steel guitar, banjo or fiddle) and can do some singing... and then surround that guy with a killer frontman / woman (who may or may not play an instrument) and a bassist and drummer who only play those instruments all night but are damn good individually and as a unit. That's what we're rolling in my current main band and it really works out well.
  16. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    My main instrument is EB but I also play DB, I've learn my way with singing and some basic stuff on piano. I also learn a few classical pieces on classical guitar and I played drum one year.

    I think as a musician singing is one of the most important thing to learn no matter the instrument you play. It helps a lot for intonation, singing what you hear in your head to play a cool lick or during a solo and it also help playing your part correcly ( you know if you can sing it, you sure can play it ).