Four piece playing as a power trio

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by DJCalamari, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. Got a gig coming up where our 2nd guitar has a wedding to go to and can't make it. I don't play with fuzz/distortion anymore, but I'm thinking I need a little somethin'-somethin' to thicken up the sound – especially on the solos. I have a vintage Russian muff and a Rat to play with. Any advice for me? We're a hard rock/metal band if that makes a difference.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
  2. Head to the fx forum. Search power trio metal. All will be revealed.
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  3. beaglesandbass

    beaglesandbass Think first, then post? Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    How far away is the gig? Can you get a fill-in?
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  4. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    OP, if the three of you are competent players, know the tunes and can sing the parts no one but YOU will know somethings missing. Don't try to overplay to fill the space. That can make things sound craptastic. Plenty of mighty good three piece bands out there playing all manner of songs.
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  5. Doubt we can find someone to learn all our songs in time so a three piece it is! If we only played covers it would be a different story.
  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Go with your normal thing. Maybe... use a decent Octover and play some of your parts an octave up with the pedal doing sub octave to fill things in. You don’t want to over do that... the other thing I do, if I am working with an interesting drummer is, dial myself back to sustaining 1/4 notes and half notes to provide the glue and let the drums and guitar carry the excitement. Boring I know but it is a time honored tradition... Noel Redding, John Paul Jones... Free, Bad Company got a lot of mileage out of that approach. I see it as providing a platform for the other guys to build on. Somebody has to be the adult in the room after all... might as well be me.

    I prefer to riff and fill, not more than I prefer my band’s presentation though...
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
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  7. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    Don’t sweat it too much.

    If you haven’t got an OD pedal already, don’t worry about it. Don’t play anything that you normally don’t. I’d only suggest a few double stops behind any guitar solos, but play what you normally do behind the vocals.
    DJCalamari likes this.
  8. filmtex


    May 29, 2011
    Yep. You’ll be fine. Another adventure. Enjoy it.
    DJCalamari likes this.
  9. All good advice. Question: why overdrive and not fuzz? I sort of know the difference from reading other threads, but I only have real experience with the Muff. There's an OD setting on my amp (Bassman 500) but it doesn't sound all that different to me when cranked.
  10. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    It’s a different flavour.

    In a case like you’re describing, I’d use a mild OD to fill out harmonic content. If you prefer fuzz, no problem.

    The idea is the same - occupying more sonic space.
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  11. GBBSbassist

    GBBSbassist I actually play more guitar...

    Nov 23, 2010
    I've been in multiple trios and a lot of four piece bands that do a lot of dual guitar leads. I've never once felt that there was a lack of depth without a guitar playing straight rhythm.
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  12. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic Designer: Yorkville Sound
    All this talk about adding FUZZ, OD and OCTAVES... it's surprising how liberating it is to actually shape your tone to 'cleanly' fill the bottom, roll off the highs and leave space for the foundation YOU are providing. You'll be surprised how much more you'll hear, not only of yourself but your bandmates. Space is our friend, use it wisely.
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  13. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    The power trio is my favourite lineup.

    If you don't already use pedals don't try incorporating them now.
    Lock in with the drummer, hold the bottom end down, don't leave large gaps, and leave the top end to the guitarist.
    You don't need a wall of sound to sound good.
    DJCalamari likes this.
  14. I've played in a hard rock/hair metal power trio for 13 years and have never used distortion. We sound plenty full. Maybe turn up your drive knob a touch if you have one.

    Rock on!

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  15. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    I hear ya.

    But his band is a rock/metal group. The OD would help keep an edge underneath the guitar.

    I have a Mojo Mojo and a Marshall Guv N’or on my board - they get used very sparingly. 95% of the time, I run clean.
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  16. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    BTW, I much prefer playing without a second guitarist. Lots of room to experiment with interesting lines without stepping on any toes.
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  17. I agree with this with one caveat. Before I started playing bass I was the second guitar player. Guitar player #1 (still the guitar player) is a EVH/Zakk Wylde/Jake E. Lee/insert 80s-90s guitar player here clone and is great. I loved his sound and he loved mine so we ended up almost mimicking each others tones to a degree. Got kinda muddy. We sounded much better when I went to bass and just him on the guitar.

    Now the caveat. There are times that having a second guitar player is nice. A new singer we have picked up plays some rhythm guitar so we utilize that during some solos and such. Not a lot. I call it the "Robin Zander style" of rhythm guitar. Just play a chord and let it ring or chunk along under a verse or solo and then put the thing down for the next eight songs before using it again.

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  18. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all 3 of the guitarists that you listed are in single guitar bands...

    You’re absolutely correct - multiple guitars in a band gets muddy in a hurry. The best thing about a trio is that everyone gets their own sonic and musical space.

    I love good rhythm guitar - it’s my favourite thing about EVH’s playing - and hearing a guitarist utilize that space is awesome.

    As a bassist, I like having that space myself to play along with the guitarist.

    That push/pull, when it’s done well, is the best part of playing in a trio.
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