Only one guitarist - What to do for solos?


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JetPackBlues
01-10-2011, 07:46 AM
I'm currently playing in a three-piece band. We do mostly rock/pop-rock covers and we're working on some orignal songs too. Sound-wise everything's going pretty good, but one problem we are having is that when I solo, the song suffers from the lack of a rhythm guitarist.

Is there any way to counter this without getting another guitarist or simply not soloing at all? I was thinking we could possibly get the bass player to use a heavy fuzz pedal or some other kind of overdrive/distortion, but I doubt that would really help much... Anyone have any other solutions? Next band practice is in two weeks and I'd like to have a few things to try :)

blue_strat
01-10-2011, 07:49 AM
Get something to thicken up your sound, like an EHX POG and/or Big Muff, turn up the mids and do a kind of chordal solo with octaves or something.

backtothe70s
01-10-2011, 07:59 AM
depending on what genre you play, you might be the one that has to step back a bit in rythm to "open" the sound so it dosn't cutoff when you move onto the solo.

Ideas to thicken it up could be that instead of playing classic rock/blues solo stuff, you can try to play more of somekinda melody with(as mentioned) octaves, use open strings, or just make sure you always play more than one note at the same time

Spitty33
01-10-2011, 08:00 AM
If youre a fan of Pantera, they only had one guitarist. check them out and get some insight.

crimson moon
01-10-2011, 08:06 AM
Listen to Alex lifeson (rush) and Eric Johnson -- they might give you a few ideas

ChucklesMginty
01-10-2011, 08:13 AM
I think it kind of falls on your bassist really, if he has a thick tone and can support you properly things shouldn't sound too empty. I really like the early Black Sabbath records for that reason, there's never any rhythm guitar during the solos but Geezer Butler really fills out the mix.

WildthingJR
01-10-2011, 08:14 AM
The bassist could use some sort of overdrive or fuzz there to fill up the gap. Try to fiddle around with octavers and delay a bit, too :)

eddiestyle
01-10-2011, 08:16 AM
Get a decent bass player who can fill our the sound when your guitar drops out for a solo. For example, Pantera, Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream...

If your bassist is just playing a punk style root note riffs it will suffer the lead breaks. When writing your original pieces keep it in mind and maybe get them playing riffs over a broader spectrum of notes

MoshMaster
01-10-2011, 08:16 AM
If youre a fan of Pantera, they only had one guitarist. check them out and get some insight.

not exactly true, listen to a few of there songs and you will hear a rythem guitar playing behind the solos. yes dime was good but not good enough to play both rythem and the solo

madh4ttr
01-10-2011, 08:20 AM
the bassist needs to step up and fill in some of the "dead" spots.

AthenasGhost
01-10-2011, 08:23 AM
the bassist needs to start playing chords

The Cheat
01-10-2011, 08:32 AM
If Im not mistaken, all three members of Rush use MIDI controllers (or something like that) to trigger pre-recorded synths, vocal harmonies, and rhythm guitar tracks when they play live.

You could try to work around something like that.

Hail
01-10-2011, 08:34 AM
If your bassist sucks you can always use a looper system, that's always nice.

Spitty33
01-10-2011, 10:10 AM
not exactly true, listen to a few of there songs and you will hear a rythem guitar playing behind the solos. yes dime was good but not good enough to play both rythem and the solo

These are recorded tracks. Live he was the only guitarist. The rhythm was also played by dime on the tracks but if you look, quite a few were just bass, one guitar and drums at solos.

Punk_Ninja
01-10-2011, 12:24 PM
Well if you band has a quiet bassist, that's the problem.
Make sure your bassist is clearly the rhythm instrument, in many bands the bassist is hardly heard, in a one guitar situation the bass needs to be pretty pumpin'.

Or if your bass lines are very empty, and leave gaps, either solo to accomodate this, or re-write the basslines over the solo.

soundgarden19
01-10-2011, 02:35 PM
Get a loop station and loop the main theme, and then play your solo.

diofan88
01-10-2011, 02:40 PM
Get a loop station and loop the main theme, and then play your solo.
the words, they have been taken outta my mouth

Punk_Ninja
01-10-2011, 02:52 PM
The loop station suggestion isn't really acceptable.

I'm not sure how much memory a loop station has, but I'm sure it's not enough to store a whole gigs worth of solo backing.
And then you're playing to a pre-recorded loop, one which isn't maleable at all.
One performer playing to a track or something is fine, but when a whole band is playing to cater to one rhythm guitar part it becomes a bit shakey!

Me and my drummer once jammed on a looped riff I put into my delay in-between my bassist sorting a mixer out and it ended up a bit hectic, that's just with me and the drummer! (this isn't down to bad musicianship! :p: )

Twistedrock
01-10-2011, 03:26 PM
Recruit another guitarist?

soundgarden19
01-10-2011, 03:29 PM
The loop station suggestion isn't really acceptable.

I'm not sure how much memory a loop station has, but I'm sure it's not enough to store a whole gigs worth of solo backing.
And then you're playing to a pre-recorded loop, one which isn't maleable at all.
One performer playing to a track or something is fine, but when a whole band is playing to cater to one rhythm guitar part it becomes a bit shakey!

Me and my drummer once jammed on a looped riff I put into my delay in-between my bassist sorting a mixer out and it ended up a bit hectic, that's just with me and the drummer! (this isn't down to bad musicianship! :p: )

The memory isn't that big of a deal, and you should be able to just play a main part, press loop and then go on about your business and delete it when you're done. rinse and repeat.

jrakus
01-10-2011, 06:57 PM
I kinda like that when listening to a trio. A bit of emptiness during a guitar solo. But you have to ride it in a rhytmic melody.

BrianApocalypse
01-11-2011, 07:41 AM
I use a POG 2 octaver on my bass when the guitarist does a solo, but he's got a pretty thin tone and doesn't do long solos.

UnmagicMushroom
01-11-2011, 08:02 AM
what may be effective when you're soloing is to include the rest of the band in the solo. have the odd one or two BIG band hits and then bring it back down to normal and continue soloing.

also have your bassist take a look at some funk licks or something so he learns to use a broader spectrum of notes instead of just hitting the root all the time; it should sound a bit fuller. also your drummer could do some more fills and other things during your solo - give him freedom. These should contribute to the bigness of the "THIS IS THE EPIC SOLO SECTION, BE AMAZED!"

too, have a pedal handy with a bigger guitar sound for soloing purposes that you can switch to. perhaps with an effect like wah, reverb or delay - or even a combo of others. and as what has already been said, don't stick to single notes but try octaves or sixths on your treble strings.

those are just some thoughts.

^EDITED, i had a few other thoughts after i posted

zeminion
01-11-2011, 11:02 PM
I love the bass with fuzz during solos IMO

AlanHB
01-11-2011, 11:16 PM
If you have the ability to play an entertaining solo without any other instrument at all, the lack of a rhythm guitarist shouldn't matter in the slightest.

However if it sounds thin, as others have mentioned, the rest of the band aren't filling in the blanks. There's also the possibility that the band simply isn't tight, your tone is not good enough or most probably, your solo itself is not filling out the sound scape.

Natrone
01-12-2011, 02:02 AM
More bass will help, but what will really help is having rhythmic solos. Great example of full sounding single guitar solos in a more pop situation than Rush or Led Zeppelin are old Switchfoot songs. This one, Chem 6a, is a great example of how to have a solo and still sound full with just one guitar.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RCKVP1KTiY

due 07
01-12-2011, 02:08 AM
The drummer could maybe go harder on the cymbals, but definitely more rhythmic solos (a la Pete Townshend) and add distortion t othe bass and maybe a little extra to guitar.

kyle62
01-12-2011, 11:02 AM
I think you're missing the point of a power trio here!

I play in a trio now and I love it so much more than when we had a rhythm guitarist - gives me lots of room to breathe. Sometimes we swap and I play the bass, and I've found the key to getting a good sound in a trio is simple - the drummer and bass player must be good musicians, and they must be able to lock together in a groove.

Also, don't be afraid to let the mix 'breathe' - dynamics are essential for a good sound, even in the hardest-rocking band. It's the quiet bits that make the loud bits sound loud, don't be afraid to drop things from the mix completely from time to time.

One other tip is to use a chorus and/or drive pedal to make the bass thicker without trampling all over the frequency range.


Basically, the success of a trio depends on the musicianship of the band - since everyone is 'under the microscope' compared to with two guitarists or a keyboard.

Watch some live videos of Led Zep, Chili Peppers, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Rush, Jeff Beck etc etc, and pay attention to what's going on during solos!

pandora_grunt
01-12-2011, 12:28 PM
- Crank the volume during your solo's.
- Maybe get a delay pedal for a broader sound.
- Change the feel of your solo section . A simple halftime feel could be enough
- Write a whole new part for the solo rather than solo over a pre-existing part of the song
-Play less rhythm guitar dominated. This way the contrast between sections is less in your face.

Just some pointers I found work well. But all in all, in live settings it doesn't matter a lot.

guy_tebache
01-13-2011, 09:13 AM
there are plenty of great sounding bands that have gotten by with only one guitarist even if they do multiple guitar tracks in the studio. It seems to me that you just need to have a bigger sound. The fuzz for your bassist sounds like a good idea, but try writing more complex bass lines (it wont really work if he's just playing root notes in 8ths or 16ths), make sure your drummer is doing something interesting, and try to adapt your own (you're the guitarist yeah?) playing to have a bigger sound. Work hard on your tone, make sure your volume is good during solos, and if you're going to play a solo make it a good one.

I know the idea of a solo is to attract attention to that particular player, but if you've just got drums, bass and guitar then to have a full sound during a solo everyone has to be playing something interesting. Make sure your bassist and your drummer lay down a good base for your guitar solos to play on top of and you wont be worried about sounding thin anymore.

kraftmacaroni
01-13-2011, 04:35 PM
Plenty of bands work with 1 guitar and 1 bass. Look at RHCP. John plays a solo almost every song and it never sounds empty. Make sure your bass is loud enough.

Clutch32192
01-13-2011, 05:58 PM
You gotta get your bassist more involved in the songs. Watch alot of 1 guitar and bass solos and the bassist is rocking out almost as much as the guy soloing to keep the rhythm and keep a fuller sound

Mr.LeadGuitar
01-13-2011, 07:57 PM
I'm in three bands, 2 are three pieces, one i play guitar and the other bass. For both, either we dont do a solo (cause to be honest, solos arent necessary, and if you add one into every song it starts to get old especially if you play a longer set), or we thicken up one of the instruments. Listen to Keep Away by Godsmack: the solo is just bass, guitar, and drums. Bass has a slight clip or overdrive to it, but that might just be the treble or mids turned up on the amp, and the guitar uses just a wah (i think on the neck pickup). you just need to be able to stick out, so if you sound a bit louder than the bass, it's not a problem as long as it's not awkward.

herby190
01-14-2011, 08:11 PM
I'm sure this has been said before, but here's my 2 cents.

Make sure your rhythm section has a full sound; the drummer should be using loose hi-hats, heavy hits on the ride, lots of crash, or something of that nature to fill it out, and the bassist may want to step up to power-chords of their original part, or some other way to mirror the guitar part that they're imitating. All-in-all, you probably shouldn't go for really high-pitched solos; looks at Nirvana or The Silversun Pickups for a good example of what you should be trying.

Plenty of bands work with 1 guitar and 1 bass. Look at RHCP. John plays a solo almost every song and it never sounds empty. Make sure your bass is loud enough.True, but RHCP isn't usually the best example anywhere, seeing as they've got more going for them than just about any band out there. Flea uses chords, distortion, overdrive, other effects, and arpeggios, and Chad is just flat-out a great drummer, not to mention that John has a great tone, and uses a lot of effects. Basically, what I'm going for is that they reach a full sound through methods that a lot of bands would really struggle to imitate.

Clashfan69
01-15-2011, 01:48 AM
Turn up the bass and be a man! No, just have the bass be a little louder, try to make the whole rhythm section sound thick if ya can. like, if your drummers playing the high hat, make sure it's open, and the bassist, make sure the bass is loud. Also, the bass line, say if it was a good traveling bass line, could compliment the guitar solo a bit more and fill in some of that because of the interesting sounds the audience is getting. Hope this helped :) Also turn up the mids a bit on your guitar amp, maybe boost your gain with a pedal too to thicken up your sound

SlackerBabbath
01-15-2011, 04:49 PM
the bassist needs to step up and fill in some of the "dead" spots.

This.

Basicaly, if he can play a more complex version of the backing, that should help to fill up those dead spots. If he's already playing something quite complex during the standard backing, maybe he should simplify it until the solo starts.

Bass chords also help immensly, but I wouldn't bother with a fuzz pedal because they generaly just replace a bass sound with something more similar to a distorted guitar sound, which obviously still leaves a dead spot, only now you can't hear the 'bass', which, to me, is worse than having no rhythm guitar.

You can successfully use a fuzz pedal for this purpose, but you need two amps and a split signal from the bass going into both amps, with the fuzz pedal on just one line. Stereo basses are ideal for this because they have two outputs, but you can also use a splitter box to create two outputs from one.
That way, when you hit the fuzz pedal, the standard 'bass' sound doesn't disappear.