power trios

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by 5string, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. 5string


    May 5, 2003
    Hanover PA
    I was working up a great harda$$ power trio. Solid drummer, smoking guitar dude and me on bass. We all have good vocal ability. Enter a 4th guy on guitar and vocals and it turned to $hit. Control issues, power struggles and problems with direction. It all stemmed from the 4th dude.

    The guitar player and I are committed to continue, the drummer is on the fence and the 4th guy is gone. We have a line on a new drummer but we are on hold until original drummer makes the call.

    I have been in several trios and they all worked very well. I have been in larger groups and they worked but not as well as the 3 piece acts I have been with.

    What is it about the groups dynamics and the three piece band? Has anyone else experienced this phenom?
  2. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    I think with the three piece, you end up with less chance of a member playing for himself, verses playing for the song, and the overall sound of the band. It only takes one guy playing to impress to blow the overall sound. Think of it as trying to slap every song, how would that work for the overall sound?

    I'd like to do a trio myself, but have zero vocal ability....which puts a cramp on things.

    Usually 4-5 piece for me, you just gotta find the right guys.
  3. garron


    Jun 26, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Its been my experience that the more people you add, the more of a pain in the a$$ everything becomes. Granted you have a little bit more of an opportunity to cover more space in any given song, but that is only if everyone knows (and does!) their part. Power struggles notwithstanding, the only way I've seen larger bands work (unless you have a dedicated group of guys) is if everyone it makes money.

    It becomes a giant mess of egos, schedules, interest levels, and (especially on the amateur level that most of us are at) levels of ability. Most importantly, everyone has to LISTEN. If that isn't happening then the group will be doomed to sound like $hit.

    Just my $.02.
  4. 5string


    May 5, 2003
    Hanover PA
    Something else I forgot to add is that a three piece is less likely to get into the whole volume war syndrome. There is little I hate worse than two guitar dudes doing the volume war routine.

    And yes your absolutely correct everyone has to be dead-on in a three piece or else.
  5. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    With each additional member to your band you reduce the amount pay for gigs, and increase the number of issues the band has to deal with. If you have competent players, a 3 piece is the way to go. For a bass player, you have the opportunity to strech out more and play in the range of where a rhythm guitarist or keyboard player might fill. As a bass player, I love power trios.
  6. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Bingo. Unfortunately, the larger the band, the less opportunity for money.

    Keep it small and play the space as well as the music. Most bands don't know how.
  7. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    A trend I've noticed are bands that feature 3+ guitar players. The reason this is, I've noticed, is because none of the players in the band are good enough musicians to stand on their own. Personally, I'm a fan of smaller bands. It's less personalities to deal with plus more money in my pocket at the end of the night.
  8. quartets are usually the best... so i've found. or a trio, if one've your instrument people can sing. (go to bottom for moral)

    Lookit it this way:

    My first gigging band: bobby johnny and the highland cavaliers (don't ask). We were a cheesy punk cover band. Our high school's house band... which meant free equipment and practice space in return for playing the odd assembly.

    What worked: We had a chemistry thing going on. We were good at what we did, even if it was power chords and root notes. We were all above the talent level required to perform what we were. There was one guitarist. One bassist. Two drummers for some time, but they got into a fight and one left. And a singer. Volume levels weren't at competitions. And we were friends.

    What went wrong: The guitarist decided that he really didn't want to be in the band during the last six months of being together. But he wouldn't let us replace him.

    Also, being above the talent level, I personally got sick of root notes and left the group shortly after guitarist.

    Second band: it's a fiver: drums, two guitarists, a singer and me for bass. And it's nu-metal, so there's no room for anything but root notes... and I'm in the process of leaving as I type.

    (thank you, MSN)

    anyways, man, try your hardest to get a dedicated group together. Keep it small, keep things friendly, and make sure that everyone knows what they want when they join.

    And don't take the first thing that comes along.

    Till then
  9. 5string


    May 5, 2003
    Hanover PA
    Well folks the drummer is 100% in and the band is back intact! Got a new excitement and the driving force has returned. The drummer's decision had something to do with the ex-member boning his girl. WOW the $hit that happens hey?

    :bassist: :hyper: :bassist: :hyper: :bassist:
  10. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Hey, power trios work well. I've noticed that for some reason in my current band I like the sound much better with only other guitarist.

    More space for fiddling, I guess :D
  11. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    I've been playing in trios mostly for the last 25 years. 1st reason, less personality issues. 2nd reason. Volume, its easier to keep under control. 3rd reason the money. I can book a gig for $600 and we each earn what we are worth. If we were a 6 piece thats twice as much equipment to set up and tear down, and half the money. Unfortunetly most clubs only pay a set amount no matter how many musicians. Trios just make better sense. BTW I play with a killer drummer (he and I both sing) and our current group "Blue Stooges" has been through 7 guitarist over the past 10 years. Something about that instrument has a high flake factor. :bag:


    Mar 12, 2003
    USA, PNW
  13. CDuff


    Sep 14, 2002
    eh.... no.
    that would be dumb.
  14. my band is a four piece, and it gets on my nerves sometimes. a couple of times, only one of the guitarists could come to practice, and it was really relieving because it was about twice as easy to make myself heard whenever I wanted to say something. The noize grows exponentially with each member, and the focus gets worse with the same measure..

    I would like to play in a trio too, but I really like both of the guitarists. The "volume war" is my biggest concern, especially as my ears are quite sensitive. It's hard to set good levels when the guys alternate between rhythm and lead. Then of course there's the personality issue, but that's a minor one in our case, I think.
  15. fourstr00


    Mar 21, 2002
    Chicago Area
    You'd be amazed at the change a trio can make. Just left my quartet for a trio, and I'll never go back.

    My favorite trios were always the one's with the bass player and the drummer sat back and grooved like they would in a larger band, then just tack on the obligitory guitarist/singer to give the crowd something to look at. Looks like a band, and the crowd doesn't realize that they're basically looking at a bass/drums duet with some other dude standing in front.

    I've seen a lot of funk trios in my area doing this a lot recently. It's mesmerizing, really.