Tips for three piece

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Jay Mastro, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. Jay Mastro

    Jay Mastro

    Jun 23, 2014
    New York
    Hello, I play bass in a three piece and some times I feel that the overall sound over certain songs could use a little bit more, but I don't like to "overplay" when it's not "necessary". I would like some recommendations on pedals possibly, currently I only have a Meridian Funkulator (on its way, haven't used it yet), or any tips from your experience of playing in a three piece, stories welcome, thank you
    Unemploid likes this.
  2. Stripes


    Sep 14, 2014
    How do other three pieces do it? No point in reinventing the wheel is there ? You should see your bass more as a rhythm guitar filling the low frequencies instead of a traditional bass.

    In the pedal department, fuzzes and overdrives are your friend. But once again, see how others are doing this and what you like :)
    Unemploid and Jay Mastro like this.
  3. 48thStreetCustom


    Nov 30, 2005
    Study what Billy Cox did with Jimi. He didn't overplay. He just groved mercilessly and had a beautiful feel. It's also good if you have your drummer play a big fill to lead into a guitar solo. That way, there's sort of a change when the solo begins and you don't notice the chords dropping out. ZZTop did that a lot. And they would change keys for the solo.

    As far as pedals, I like to use both a phaser and an octave. I tend to use them for parts (eg punch in the octave for the chorus, etc).
    Jay Mastro likes this.
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    If dirt is appropriate to the music you play, use it.
    If clean is more appropriate, a chorus would help you fill space.

    You can also play more octaves to fill out the sound, or EQ in more upper mids.
    Jay Mastro likes this.
  5. image.jpg I use two different "tricks".

    One is simply just using an overdrive.

    The more complicated trick i use is using my digitech jamman. (This will not work for the jamman express because it has no memory) anywho what i do it record samples to it which i can kick in with my feet while I'm playing bass. I have the optional footswitch so i can go from one sample to another fairly easy with my foot. So on my board the jamman has nothing plugged into the input as i use saved samples. The output goes to a cheap imp di box. I use it for all kinds of stuff. Cool when i want to have synth bass to double or if i want synth bass to hold the lows while i play something melodic up high. I also use it for synth lead parts as well as my guitar player mostly sticks to rythm guitar. But it's pretty much limitless. I use it for bass drops. Orchestral parts that i write on my laptop using a midi controller to trigger samples of real orchestra instruments.the piano sound i use is actually a bunch of samples of a real piano not a synthesized tone to try to emulate a piano. Its fun. Some people might say its cheating but who cares. Never met anyone who's not a musician that cares at all if its a sample.
    Jay Mastro likes this.
  6. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    I have played in trios more than any other line up and both of my bands now are trios too.
    As others have mentioned, dirtying up your tone can help the bass to take up more sonic space.
    Jack Bruce - Cream
    Dusty Hill - ZZ Top
    Allen Woody - Govt Mule
    Geddy Lee - Rush
    Tommy Shannon - Stevie Ray Vaughn
    James Dewar - Robin Trower
    Billy Cox - Hendrix
    Doug Pinnick - King's X
    All these players used various levels of distortion in their tone which helped to thicken the sound and fill in the overall band sound.

    But a mistake that many trios make is they try to fill up all the sonic space all the time.
    Don't be afraid to leave some open room in the music, let it breathe.
    Listen to early ZZ Top and "Bridge Of Sighs" era Robin Trower for examples of what I mean. The first couple of Govt Mule albums are great examples of trio playing too, Allen Woody was a fantastic bass player who knew when to fill it up and when to lay back.

    Dynamics are another powerful tool of the trio. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, if every song is like a freight train from begining to end you're diminishing the impact that led to the coining of the term "power trio". If you're always wide open and bombastic, then you never are.

    PLaying in trios is great. As a bassplayer you usually get to strech out and play more than in larger formats. It is also challenging because there is nowhere to hide, but that's what makes it so exhilarating!

    Good luck!
    Polfuste and Jay Mastro like this.
  7. Slade N

    Slade N Supporting Member

    May 28, 2005
    portland, or
    trios give bassist more freedom to stretch out and also more responsibility as its just you on the bottom so it comes down to editing. as mentioned before, full bore all the time doesnt work, its like salt or hot sauce...the right amount cant bring it to life but learn when to abstain and pull back.
    if youre not a effects user you can still make adjustments to your tone for different songs to help keep it fresh.
    Polfuste likes this.
  8. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    I have been in many trios, including my last band and my current band. I do not use any effects and get many different sounds from how I play. I also have a very rhythmic approach on some songs and work very closely with the drummer to be extremely tight. I also sometimes add parts or play some guitar lines to fill in where needed but I never overplay or take away from the original song. When a guitar solo comes in, it's important to fill the space so that it is not empty. As mentioned already, dynamics are very important to the texture of the songs. Don't plow through everything.

    Another band that started out as a power trio was The Pat Travers Band and Peter Mars Cowling on bass was incredible.

    Also, check out Triumph.
  9. Polfuste


    Sep 10, 2010
    South France
    I use sometimes an octaver. But most of time i play chords or octave like spicies in bass lines, and don't try to fill all the space. That creates holes and breathing in the music and makes powerfull moments more powerfull. Kind of paint shades.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
  10. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009

    Yes, remember rests are put in songs for a purpose.

    My bands also strive to have clean intros and endings.

    Another thing is vocal harmonies. If you all sing, it sounds like more people playing.

    When people tell us that we sound like 5 or 6 people, we take that as a compliment.
  11. Slade N

    Slade N Supporting Member

    May 28, 2005
    portland, or
    indeed, we all sing in my trio and it vocal blends and harmonies really helps make us sound bigger and more diverse as its not the same voice in the same register on every song
  12. i'm in a trio (when we have a drummer.) i have my problems, but i'll make them work before we take it to the stage. i say to look into micheal anthony's live and recorded style in van halen. get an octave pedal. distortion works, but only when the song calls for it. you can get away with having an overdrive on constantly. but really you want to settle this with as liitle effects as possible.

    here is my pedal board:
    i wanna get the mxr bass chorus/flanger
  13. Polfuste


    Sep 10, 2010
    South France
    Here is mine. I don't use overdrive cause jazz doesn't really call it :D

  14. Slade N

    Slade N Supporting Member

    May 28, 2005
    portland, or
    a cutting board! genius
  15. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    I was in a trio. I let the guitar player take care of effects.
    I started to play double stops and melodic fills during his solos.
    Chording affects to help fill in.
    Listen to Roscoe Beck behind Robben Ford.
  16. Shovel


    Jun 4, 2013
    Mids. Hardcore mids for me.
  17. Polfuste


    Sep 10, 2010
    South France
    It's not a cutting board, i made it from a wood board, and didn't realize at first that it really looked like it :D
  18. vmabus


    Nov 1, 2013
    It's a SHREDDING board!
  19. Polfuste


    Sep 10, 2010
    South France
    Some jazzin' shred ! Yeaah ! :bassist: