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Guitarist covering up parts

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Mikey_B, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Mikey_B


    Mar 18, 2014
    Hey guys I have a question. Im in a band and I always write my own parts but sometimes if I write a really good riff the guitarists in my band will steal it and play it at the same time which drowns out me playing it or they will cover it up with licks. how do i politely tell them to back off because i really want to show off my good bass parts in songs and not have them covered up by dense guitar. :confused:
  2. prd004


    Dec 3, 2010
    It's all about communication.
    Reindeer93 likes this.
  3. +1 Yep. ^^^^ This, and if that doesn't work - pull his guitar cable out his amp. :D
  4. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Agreed with the above. Writing original tunes is a collaborative effort. Sections need to be thought out and agreed upon. Tell him you think your bass part in that particular section needs to stand on it's own, to flow from one part to the next.

    If he doesn't get the message, then do what Joe suggests - pull his cord out!
  5. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    Those are two different issues. The guitarist playing too much and with too much low end is a serious problem that may take a long time to resolve, or may take one of you leaving the band. Not all players are able to be good at playing what is appropriate for the group and the style.

    As for him stealing your licks, I would suggest that you try to look at it in a non emotional, non possessive way. Some players just aren't that melodically inventive. If you are, and other players recognize that by stealing your licks, you could take it as a compliment and consider it part of your contribution to the band.

    Do you feel you have an endless source of them ? Or are these painstakingly developed parts that you can not easily replace ?

    Sometimes it's cool when the guitar and bass are doing octave versions of the same or a similar line. You hear that a lot in old R & B and reggae. Then again if this is happening a lot and it's leaving you without being the apparent author of your best parts as far as the audience can tell, I can see it being a problem. It depends on the details and there is no one size fits all solution or response.

    I do think it's usually non productive to assert the fact that they are your lines, particularly if this is a whole band conversation. People get weird about that and it may not benefit you outside of your ego. You know you wrote them and sometimes that has to be enough, or else you're getting dragged down by somebody else's attitude.

    I've been in that position many times and generally I just smile and let it go. I may replace the line with another - sometimes, a better one ! - or I may just keep using it. I would feel differently if the player doing it was a jerk or actually claimed that I was the one stealing the line.
    Reindeer93 likes this.
  6. rust_preacher


    Dec 17, 2009
    Ask the guitarist to write his part in counterpoint.

    If he gives a blank stare, pack up your gear and leave.
    LowF likes this.
  7. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    You are playing with a gui****. Period. There is no changing one, once they get to that level.

    You know the song Fly me Courageous by Drivin'n Crying?

    The bass part is very simple through 98% of the song... but there are a couple of spots where there is a bass fill, WITHOUT guitar.

    Well my Deaf, TOO LOUD gui****- always played the fills with me, so finally I asked him, I said "Hey Man, I lay back through most of this song and hold it down. Don't you think it is fair that you stay out of the two fills I play in the whole song?"

    Answer- "Well I just like to play that fill too. Translation-I was taking a small portion of the attention away from his guitar playing, which is really what the band is all about)"-

    Reply-"Dude, I have had with your too-loud, deaf self. I am out of this band.
    You don't really listen to a damn thing I play on bass anyhow because the drummer has no dynamics, and you are playing a Marshall half stack at bars that barely need a combo amp for guitar."
  8. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    There is no "I" in "team."

    I could name 1,000 hit songs where the guitar and bass play the same riff. It's totally normal, and your guitarist isn't "stealing" anything!

    (At least you are honest that your goal is to "show off"! ;))
    Jhengsman likes this.
  9. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    I can name 1000 songs that have UNIQUE bass lines or specific bass and drum fills- GOOD songs too. I'll start with a few- This makes the songs more interesting. (Note- I am not saying every song should be a PRIMUS level bass-fest solo) The interesting thing is MOST of these songs exist in the past (something to be said for Classic Rock)

    Good Times Bad Times- Led Zep
    Good- Better Than Ezra (Guitar drops out for most fo the verses)
    Dragon Attack- Queen
    Another One Bites the Dust-Queen
    Midnight Confessions- Grass Roots.
    Come Together- Beatles
    Sweet Emotion- Aerosmith
    EVERY MOTOWN song- Jamerson played on
    Every Duran Duran song
    The Lemon Song- Led Zep

    RHCP- Practically EVERY song.
  10. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    This initial statement is silly. If your guitarist is playing along with you this probably means you've written a great part worthy of being backed by more than one instrument. Good job.

    If your guitarist is too riffy (in your opinion remember) talk to him about how you want the songs to go. Remember that as a musician you're trying to create music, not be a group of people trying to show off their parts.
    If you want to be the centre of attention you've probably chosen the wrong instrument.
  11. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    Just tell them that your new "accompaniment" will make their part sound sooo much better!
  12. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    Guitarists: kill them.
  13. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Just ask the guitarist if he can play something different during that part and that you think it would sound better if the bass played that riff alone.
  14. squirefan


    Nov 22, 2009
    Lansing, Ks.

    Or, you write a counterpoint.

    Case in point, 'Eighteen' by Alice Cooper
  15. Guitarist are cursed. They generally only listen to themselves. Recording rehearsal will allow persons to hear the whole of the song and these "areas" where too much is happening musically.

    or you can just say hey Mthafkr you get a solo on every tune so right here why dontcha hold a note or bend a note or color the sound or pretty please with sugar on top, just stop playing all together and lemme rock this ship out of one second.

    If they "get it" great but they're still cursed..........forever.

    I'm just sayin
  16. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    "HEY! Stay the hell off my parts!"

    That's about as polite as I would be.
  18. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    Can you elaborate on the "pants" part please? :p
  19. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    Echoing some of what's been written above, and adding to it...

    Unison playing can be very effective, so too counterpoint.

    Noodling over another busy part never works. It's like two people talking at once, irritating and the listener tunes out.

    It shows a lack of critical listening on the part of your band mates, which shows a lack of respect for music and song writing.

    Does the drummer crash cymbals or play a fill while the singer is delivering a verse? Does the guitarist start to solo during a chorus? Same idea. Often they grasp that vocals need to be heard, but when it comes to music they only hear themselves.

    Try a civil dialogue, perhaps referencing recordings of the song, though it's unlikely to help.

    If they have ego issues, try to lead them to clarity but let them believe the solution is their idea. Ask them "do you think these two parts work together?" You can learn a lot from their answer. If you're lucky they'll realize it's a conflict. If you're even luckier, they'll elect to stay out of your way though possibly they'll ask you to lay back instead.

    If so, grin and bear it because arguing is almost certainly futile or even counter-productive. That time wasted on endless emails or talking in the rehearsal room could be spent improving your playing so when you get the chance you can confidently fit into a band that's made up of actual musicians - ones that listen and respect the song and what you add to it.

    Good luck.
    Mystic Michael likes this.
  20. Space Pickle

    Space Pickle

    Apr 15, 2013
    get off my pants :mad: