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How to "fill in the void" of a 2nd guitar player

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sageknight, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. Sageknight


    Aug 17, 2005
    New York
    Hello everyone!!
    I'm a bassist in a three piece. I am a begginer (just got finished learning scales, advancing more through more complex chord's) and I've been playing bass (my experience, just just the amount of year's since I first picked up the bass) for about 1 1/2 year's now..

    I guess you could call (my band) a "Metal" band, because we mostly cover alot of metal band's (Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Black Sabbath,etc).. When we did sit down and write music, we write alot of "clean passages".. and more "progressive" passages.. ALTHOUGH we have started to write some nice riff's, too..

    My question for you (as bassists/member's of a band) is (basically) this:

    I've been searching around for a really good guitar player that can "catch up" to our Lead guitar player's skill and expertise and approach to lead/main guitar playing.. I haven't really found anyone that has come close..
    A couple of month's ago I knew this really great rythm guitar player.. But we had some complication's/clashes in the scheduling of band practice, and how/when we where supposed to meet..
    The guitarist should be coming back Thursday, and I really , really want to get into playing again..
    We really haven't found a second guitar player.. (but for now) it's not that bad.. there are ALOT of band's ESPECIALLY metal band's that "didn't need" a second guitar player in there sound..
    I play bass, but also like to sing as we'll as playing bass (I love to portray raw emotion in my singing, and to really "embrace" what the song's are about through my vocal performance)..

    The big problem:
    We don't have a second guitarst.. And we need a tighter/beefier sound..
    I thought that maybe I could "help out", by doing something's to my bass in order to make the bass frequiences "stick out" alot more, and to almost "double" the guitar frequiencies, as well as accentuating the bass frequencies..
    About a couple of month's ago.. My whole resolve to solving this problem was adding distortion to my bass sound, and playing with a pick..
    That was about 9 month's - 1 year ago.. And throughout that time my playing has evolved (mostly because I have more time to actually play the bass).. And I am using more of a "finger style" technique..

    My RECENT set up:
    Ibanez GSR 4 string bass (Medium Gauge String's)
    Crate 10 Watt Guitar amp

    - I had a Crate 100 wat amp W/Distortion (Forgot what the amp was called..) but it broke!! (It doesnt turn on when you "flick" the switch)

    Anyway.... What can I do to help??
    I have about 125 dollar's to spend..
    I was thinking about putting putting everything on a "medium" level (when talking about eq's) and putting the treble on "high"..
    Also I was thinking about getting a more "compressed" tone..

    I think that coupled with a bit of distortion some nice, strong Treble "bite" and a good hint of distortion will do it...

    If anyone can help, please do!!!/reply!!
  2. Im somewhat in the same boat - HELP US :D
  3. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Listen to a lot of Noel Redding particularly live (Spanish Castle Magic, Voodoo Child slight return). You'll find him on the first three Experience albums and the live Monterey Pop album also. Listen to some Cream too. You will hear a way of playing the music of the song instead of a "bass part". Break a leg.
  4. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    When our rhythm guitar player left one of my bands, I picked up an Akai UniBass. This allows you to send an octave up (along with a 5th, or a 3rd, harmonic, if you like), with or without overdrive, to another amp to act as a "rhythm guitar" rig. In general, it works really well, and I like that I can add another part to support my bass when our guitar player solos. But, the tracking is not ideal. I am currently trying to have a friend of mine who designs effect pedals build me an analog octave up pedal, which I think would do me just fine.

  5. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I take a totally different approach (not better or worse than other comments... just different). I regularly play a trio gig with tenor sax, bass and drums and also play regularly (in both a pop and jazz context) with a guitar, bass and sax trio. I find that I actually play 'simpler' in these settings, really focusing on outlining or implying the exact, correct underlying chord. The idea that you have to play more notes or have a bigger amp, more bottom or effects is one way to look at it. However, if you really nail the groove and the exact changes and play simply, you might be surprised how good it sounds. A little space in the music is not a bad thing if the notes and time are there. :D
  6. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Excellent points!
  7. TL5


    Jun 27, 2005
    I'm playing regualrly in a large ensemble (two guitars, 3 keys, drums, bass and sometimes a horn section and other 'bluegrass' instruments like banjo, or mandolin). Next week I join a 3 piece unit (bass, drum, guitars).

    Kjung makes an excellent point.
    As I'm preparing for the three piece gig, more and more I want to know what the 'chord' is and not just the bass note. It's not that I'm gonna play chords (maybe a few :cool: ) but I can hint/imply the full chord with my phrasing - even when I play simply.
  8. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    That's what I'm talkin' about :bassist: If you're like me, you will find it very fun to have all that space and open up the tunes a little bit. It will also really clean up your playing.... it will become very obvious if you are playing a 'sloppy version' of the change... i.e., a major 7th in a fill where a dominant 7th should be, etc. Have fun
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I'd advise against a "big sound" (more bass and treble). In a 3-piece setting I like having punch and growl, and that comes from low mids.

    Overdrive is cool, too, especially for hard rock. If you use overdrive, then you probably won't need a dedicated compressor to even out your notes. FWIW the SansAmp BDDI or RBI are good for this situation, and they're reasonably priced. Just be careful not to turn up Blend too much or you'll lose low mids.
  10. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I play in a rock trio and tried different things to beef up the sound. My final solution was "turn it up". This works great for us.

    Sure, I use distortion, SansAmp, etc. but not all the time and I don't want to rely on them.

    However, your lead guitar player has to be secure in his playing. The lead will cut through, but many guitar players will try to match the volume of the bass. If every time you turn up he turns up, give up!
  11. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK

    One option is to concentrate more on covering songs from other three-piece bands. Of course, you'll have to be sure that what you're hearing is really a three-piece and not enhanced with backing musicians or overdubbed tracks.

    Alternatively, you can try FX and volume, but that will only take you so far.

    My recommendation would be to look at your arrangements. Listen to the song, figure out what's essential and whether your lineup has got what's needed to cover it. That may mean that sometimes you end up playing something that's more like the rhythm guitar part rather than the original bassline or even taking a solo while the guitarist chugs away. Boil down the song to its raw essence and then recreate it in a new form. If you're working on originals, take what you've learned from doing covers this way and enjoy the freedom of applying it to your own material.

  12. haujobb


    Dec 16, 2004
    About a year ago, my 5 piece became a 4 piece. It was the best thing that ever happened, our band tightened right up and it gave me room to do more. At the same time though, you have to be sensible about when to do more and when to do less, also, whoever said low mids are good was correct. I think in any situation low mids are your friend as the put you right between the kick and the guitars, where you belong.
  13. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    i think you might be running into the same trouble i have when my guitarist goes into a solo. suddenly, there's this open space, and the sound sorta drops out.

    check out the effects lounge,

    but other than the usual distortion method which i use often in trio formats, i like using a little chorus to expand my sound. a phaser set to a lesser number of stages or steps does the same. but my fav is a harmonizer. does wonders making it seems like there's two or three of you. heck, even a simple octave pedal fattens up the sound.

    a little trick is to use a harmonizer or octave pedal w/ distortion, and VOILA, it literally sounds like a second guitarist who's tracking EXACTLY your bass line. :cool:
  14. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA

    I currently play in a three piece old school punk band. What I have learned fits with what KJung said. When the guitarist does his solo I just have to make sure I nail the groove and all is good.
  15. Nothing too satisfying is going to come out of a 10 watt crate guitar amp. Spend your $125 on a bass amp. Possibly get the broken one fixed.

    As far as playing, really focus on everybody locking in to the same timing. It makes the band sound huge if you nail it.
  16. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    This is where you have to be careful. On solos where this could be a problem (sometimes you *want* a sudden stop) I try to remember to hold all notes. You bassically (sic) want to create a wall of sound behind the guitar so he dosen't have to worry.

    Note that a wall of sound doen't necessarily mean a lot of notes, just some constant sound.
  17. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    It's possible the guitarist has a big part in this. My #1 band (a 3-piece) just changed guitarists. I'm rather bummed about this because the first guy was much better: he didn't sound thin when he played his solos, probably due to his style: he'd play a lot of double- and triple-stops, and wouldn't often go to the upper register. The new guy plays a lot of single-note runs up high, and I guess his tone isn't as full either. The difference is dramatic.
  18. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I'll join those agreeing with this, and Tim Commerford's playing on the new Audioslave album is a good example. During the guitar solos on some of the more old-school hard rock tracks (e.g., #1 and #4), he just lays down simple, solid grooves, and it's very effective.

    On the other hand, any bassist wanting to "fill the void" in a power trio should spend lots of time with The Who's Live at Leeds and other live Who material of that era. Sometimes The Ox took the "lots of notes" approach with busy runs, but sometimes he just nailed the groove. Studying how he varied his approach track by track, and within each track, is very worthwhile.

    I've played in a few power trios, and sonically I've found that a little overdrive and/or chorus helps on some tracks. And a good Fender bass never hurts! ;)