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Old 12-23-2012, 12:28 PM   #1
Haydenr25
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Problem with sound amongst my band

I'm playing drums in a 3 piece, and it's the classic "guitar solo" problem. Whenever my guitarist goes from power chords/open chords to a guitar solo, something seems to be missing. I'm using lots of fills, riding on the ride cymbal, lots of crashes and heavy bass drumming. My bassist is not doing typical root note bass lines and is being very melodic and holding things down. Yet it seems to linger just between sounding right and sounding like something is missing. I can't think of anything else to do, anyone have any ideas on the 3-piece problem?
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:14 PM   #2
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Play around with different tunings, like Drop D. If you're having a piece in D, the guitarist could easily play a D chord under his solo.
Also, your bassist could play the root notes to make the piece 'whole', and play the somewhat higher bass lines to cover up for the missing guitar chords.
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:45 PM   #3
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I agree with having the bassist stick close to the song melody so that there isn't too much of a disconnection in sound. Also, is the guitarist using any kind of boost during the solos? If he's not boosting his volume then there's nothing to cover up the missing rhythm guitar.
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:47 PM   #4
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I know exactly what you mean, it happens with me in a 3 piece i play in. Exept i'm the guitarist and it makes it difficult to even want to solo only because of the emptiness. Even if the solo is good, it still sounds bad to me because whats missing.

However, when me and the bassist change (we both play both instruments ) His solo's sound fine. The difference is when he solo's I will play the rhythm part on bass. Not necessarily just the root notes, but the strumming pattern. It's easier for me because i play the song on guitar too.
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Old 12-23-2012, 02:07 PM   #5
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It sounds like you and the bassist might be clouding it up a bit. Composition wise, if there is a "solo" by one instrument, stripping the rhythm section down to bare bones helps maintain power. That works best in the initial composition phase. Once you get to execution, you have a lot more room to build on things. If the bass player could utilize a fuzz of some sort, it could keep everything big and you could still noodle around. Bands like the fall of troy, green day, veil of maya, they have 1 guitar, 1 bass and drums (and of course vocals), but they use effects to keeps things at an even level.
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Old 12-23-2012, 02:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haydenr25
I'm playing drums in a 3 piece, and it's the classic "guitar solo" problem. Whenever my guitarist goes from power chords/open chords to a guitar solo, something seems to be missing. I'm using lots of fills, riding on the ride cymbal, lots of crashes and heavy bass drumming.


Well, I can't help but wonder if the problem is that you guys are piling on, rather than stepping back.

Think about creating space for the solo, rather than trying to make up for the fact that you briefly no longer have a rhythm guitar, and see what that gets you.
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Old 12-25-2012, 04:01 AM   #7
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I would honestly get another guitar player.

I think it really depends on the kind of music. If it's something hard hitting, then I think you'll be at a loss finding a way to fill that empty space. But if it's a more laid back, jam feel then there's a lot of things you could do.

I recorded a demo for this band a while back that was a 3 piece, and the guitarist managed to keep it somewhat cohesive when he stepped out to solo:
http://verdantmile.bandcamp.com
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:32 PM   #8
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if they have to solo in a 3 piece, a couple of lead guitarists I've had the pleasure of knowing tailor their solos to match. What I mean is they try to play stuff that keeps the power going (more chordal soloing, rather than flat out noodling. shorter punchy solos that don't stray too far from the melody)

Plus, compositionally you could think of balancing the rest of the song out. In song full of chords, a solo will feel out of place. Perhaps for the hooks, your guitarist could also drop out to play a riff/melody. More contrast between parts is a good balancing technique, that way the listener sort of expects it.

It's all about figuring out the compositional challenges of a three piece. If in doubt, get a second guitarist (it's what I prefer, that or a keyboard player...) or boost the bass with some fuzz, or equally so boost the guitar some how.

Muse make it work, the rest of the bands mentioned in this thread make it work. Just play around, see what you can do.
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Old 01-05-2013, 03:40 PM   #9
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Hey guys, had a couple of practice sessions to round off the year with my band. Three things that allowed us to get around the problem were: no single note solo's. The guitarist was using octaves, double/triples stops, very rarely just playing one note. Some of the sound seemed to disappear but in a good way, as if the music was opening up for the solo.

Second was the bassist using a fuzz pedal, that helped take up some room.

Third method was the adapting the song itself. Having the bass/guitar drop out before the solo, then everything crashing back in at once. So instead of going from more to less, we went from less to more. It sounded surprisingly okay in the moments before the solo, more attention grabbing than necessarily sounding wrong.

Another method we tried was the guitarist/bassist hitting a chord/note and allowing the instrument to slowly die out. Instead of a drastic change, it sounded like a more natural progression.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:38 PM   #10
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What genre does your band play?

The previous posters all have good recommendations but there are some genre specific improvements that might be possible.

Edit: Sorry, I didn't see that you already have the problem sorted.

Last edited by slipknot5678 : 01-06-2013 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:58 PM   #11
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Haha no worries pay, we play punk and alternative rock, those are just a few methods we used. You experienced with playing that music at all?
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:55 PM   #12
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The only experience I have is playing in a high school band with two guitarists. The songs depended on both guitarists so we would have had the same problem you are having if one of us were to quit.

It seems everybody was giving you advice as if they assumed alternative/punk was your genre, so I can only elaborate on what they were saying.

Compositionally you might want to change your songs around, as stated. The song could slow down or otherwise transition to make the solo fit (the bandcamp link posted was a good example). As a punk band I guess that may not be what you want. You might not even want to have solos and instead have bridges of some sort. Your post makes it seem like you have this figured out already so this is a bit redundant.

I don't think I saw either of these mentioned. I have no experience with these myself but EQ pedals and looping pedals may be a good option for your guitarist, if he has the funds for them. An EQ pedal will allow the lead tone to not feel thinned out, and a looping pedal will allow the rhythm to continue under the solo (although I would imagine it takes practice to learn how to use these).
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haydenr25
Hey guys, had a couple of practice sessions to round off the year with my band. Three things that allowed us to get around the problem were: no single note solo's. The guitarist was using octaves, double/triples stops, very rarely just playing one note. Some of the sound seemed to disappear but in a good way, as if the music was opening up for the solo.

Second was the bassist using a fuzz pedal, that helped take up some room.

Third method was the adapting the song itself. Having the bass/guitar drop out before the solo, then everything crashing back in at once. So instead of going from more to less, we went from less to more. It sounded surprisingly okay in the moments before the solo, more attention grabbing than necessarily sounding wrong.

Another method we tried was the guitarist/bassist hitting a chord/note and allowing the instrument to slowly die out. Instead of a drastic change, it sounded like a more natural progression.
Sounds like some good solutions.

In situations like this you just have to make compromises. Try to keep everything as consistent as possible. Instead of going from chugging chords to ripping a solo, maybe make your rhythm parts more melodic and your solos more harmonic.

You could also adjust the dynamics of the song to drop into a more open groove for the solo. The bass player could do more muted notes and rests to help the song lay into a wide open groove. This will leave more room for your solo to shine through as well.

My thoughts immediately went to Brandon Boyd. I'm not sure if this is the exact Incubus song I was thinking of, but listen to how this song uses dynamics. It keeps the same level of intensity the whole time but drops to almost just the drums at the beginning of the bridge and gradually fills more space as it proceeds through the guitar solo.

One of the best things you can do is listen to 3-piece bands and hear how they work around this issue.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by food1010
Sounds like some good solutions.

In situations like this you just have to make compromises. Try to keep everything as consistent as possible. Instead of going from chugging chords to ripping a solo, maybe make your rhythm parts more melodic and your solos more harmonic.

You could also adjust the dynamics of the song to drop into a more open groove for the solo. The bass player could do more muted notes and rests to help the song lay into a wide open groove. This will leave more room for your solo to shine through as well.

My thoughts immediately went to Brandon Boyd. I'm not sure if this is the exact Incubus song I was thinking of, but listen to how this song uses dynamics. It keeps the same level of intensity the whole time but drops to almost just the drums at the beginning of the bridge and gradually fills more space as it proceeds through the guitar solo.

One of the best things you can do is listen to 3-piece bands and hear how they work around this issue.



That struck me as properly capping off a section, also starting with a new riff/motif. It was seperate to what was happening before. Thankyou for the ideas


Quote:
Originally Posted by slipknot5678
The only experience I have is playing in a high school band with two guitarists. The songs depended on both guitarists so we would have had the same problem you are having if one of us were to quit.

It seems everybody was giving you advice as if they assumed alternative/punk was your genre, so I can only elaborate on what they were saying.

Compositionally you might want to change your songs around, as stated. The song could slow down or otherwise transition to make the solo fit (the bandcamp link posted was a good example). As a punk band I guess that may not be what you want. You might not even want to have solos and instead have bridges of some sort. Your post makes it seem like you have this figured out already so this is a bit redundant.

I don't think I saw either of these mentioned. I have no experience with these myself but EQ pedals and looping pedals may be a good option for your guitarist, if he has the funds for them. An EQ pedal will allow the lead tone to not feel thinned out, and a looping pedal will allow the rhythm to continue under the solo (although I would imagine it takes practice to learn how to use these).


We play some punk covers but we're much more alternative rock with our original music. EQ is a good idea, we sort of changed the EQ with the bassist's fuzz but never looked at the guitarist's rig, I've got a cheap EQ pedal kicking around so i'll try it out later on today with my band and let you know how it went.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:36 PM   #15
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A good rule of thumb is, if there is something that needs to be heard from a certain instrument.
All other instruments should simplify.
So you shouldn't be doing fills while he's tapping or sweep soloing.
And the bass should usually follow the basic chord progressions, because the technicalities are all in the solo at that point in the song.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by takachan
A good rule of thumb is, if there is something that needs to be heard from a certain instrument.
All other instruments should simplify.
So you shouldn't be doing fills while he's tapping or sweep soloing.
And the bass should usually follow the basic chord progressions, because the technicalities are all in the solo at that point in the song.

this
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:14 AM   #17
pushkar000
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hit dat bass guitar and kick like boom

solves any problem ever.
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