How To Effectively Play With The Band

Ok, so you think your really good at the guitar or bass. You got some good equipment, and your friends want you to join their band to play along.

Ultimate Guitar

OK, so you think your really good at the guitar or bass. You got some good equipment, and your friends want you to join their band to play along. This all sounds good, playing other peoples songs, but once you make up your own songs, you guys can't get your act together, and it sounds horrible. You may be asking yourself how even the simplest of songs can have bans frustrated.

Well, the thing is that is important is the three C's, concentration, coordination, and consistency. Even though you wrote the lyrics and the riffs for the song, You might have trouble keeping up with the band. I'm here to break it down so that you can all understand it and actually get something accomplished in band practices.

First off, To make things easier, lets break it down into 5 parts. Drums, Keyboard, Guitar, Bass and misc instruments on the how to write a good song and how to get your band to cooperate and coordinate with you.

Drums: Drums make the beat in the band, we all know that, we all listen to it. But what makes it important is that it keeps the band in organization for both timing, and tempo. The best Main thing for a drummer to do is to keep the rhythm of the strumming of the guitar/bass. If the strumming of a song goes a+a+a+e+a, the drummer will have to do the same thing for beat. Also it is important for a drummer to help signify the change of a song, such as verse to chorus, etc. It could be done by a drum roll or hitting a symbol to help move along the song. Another thing other then keeping up with the band, is to take it down a notch. In some songs the guitars drop and the singer sings, and the drummer drums. To make sure you don't over do it, a good thing is just to slowly tap the edge or a snare or evenly tap a tom. Most importantly throughout the lesson is to never try to sound too busy. There is a time and a place for everything their called solos.

Guitars: In your band you may have one to however many guitarist you need. Guitarist mainly take the leadership roll in a band, cause they set the melody, the rhythem, tempo, and mode of a song. When writting riffs, thing to consider is key. Try to capture the key of the lead vocalist, and play in that key, this way things don't sound to seperate.

For Rhythm guitars, key things are to keep not only the rhythm but help separate different parts of the song. Sometimes for the verse, a good idea is to palm mute, or play clean/or Acoustic, and keep effects, distortion, and other loud noises to the chorus/solo's/intro's and so on.

For lead guitars, The key is not to sound to busy. It's cool to do stuff for intro's and solo's, but not when the lead singer is singing a verse. It's also good to keep up the melody of the song. Remember, the lead guitarist isn't their to out shine the band, but to add depth to it.

For Bass Players, it's true that you don't have the same huge responsibility of the guitarists and the drummer. What you will want to do though is pay close attention to both the guitarists and the drummer. You keep up the pace of the drums, while still playing the riffs of the guitar.

Keyboard players, again, don't try to sound to busy, but mostly keep the melody of the song.

Misc instruments: Such as Turntables, horns, etc. I really can't go into in great depth cause I don't play these instruments, some I don't consider instruments. But try to keep up with the band, and show off to a minimum, try not to sound to busy, and keep the crazy stuff in the right places, such as intro's, outro's, solo's, breakdown's etc.

You will see in time, if you follow these steps and tips, practices will go much smoothly and much more will get accomplished.

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Nice article. I totally agree with you about everyone plays a certain role. Instead of trying to be the "star" of the band, everyone should try to work together to make the band the spotlight. The band will never stay together if everyone is trying to set themselves apart from the band.
    ya riplackish the b*** does play both jobs of keeping the beat and the melody but a band doesnt necessarily need a b*** player there are some great b*** players out there but in some cases theyre not needed
    this is a pretty good article. my band is just starting to take shape as we all got together for our first practice today. it sucked because everybody wanted to show off their skills and not stop playin to listen to ideas. but im gonna breakthis to them tomorrow. maybe we can pull this together. hopefully it gets better tomorrow.
    UG Stranger: to play in a band u hav to actually know how to play ur instrument.... i mean know your instrument know how to play it. after u play an instrument for maybe 3 yrs you'll know when ur ready to start a band so be smart about it dont just pick your friends.a band isnt people like your friends its just musicians that can make good music. Wat ru talkiong abouyt. I know I and most people would not get into a band saying lets not let my friends in cause they're not that great. The whole reason for having a band is to hang out with your friends. Thats why I have my band basicall yto hang out with some friends and play some music
    Bubonic Chronic
    Good info for a beginner, but I do disagree on a few specific points: "For Bass Players, it's true that you don't have the same huge responsibility of the guitarists and the drummer." Depends on the context. In jazz, bass is equally important as the drums, and at times it takes center stage and even trumpets, guitars and keyboards will backseat to the bassist. Just an observation. In general, for most rock or blues quartets, you're right. "You keep up the pace of the drums, while still playing the riffs of the guitar." I also must disagree. As the bass player for my previous band "Fated" I was often creating a harmonic texture beneath our guitarists simple, repetetive riffs. He played no leads and so a bit of slap bass and some fretless melody lines came in very handy. Only occasionally did I play the riff of the guitar, and this more as a contrast to my main roll as rhythmic pulse, for those who cared to dance, and harmonic texture. I've always like Cliff Burton as a player and his attitude of breaking the well-established traditional backing role of the bassist.
    great article - pretty much evry1 in the band i'm in (especially me ) do pretty much the opposite of most of ur advise, i think i'll send this on to them
    The B-*** Isn't just there to backup the guitar dunlop88mm, it's there to fill the bottom end of the sound spectrum, making it sound fuller and more intense. Zappp, Good article man, but, yeah a wee bit generic, and out lead guitar player is the star, and we try to feature him more than out vocalist because we like the guitar rock sorta thing. But, all in all it was alright.
    the doors didnt have a b*** player. if keeping the beat and playing the melody are done by the b*** player then why can't he just combine both the guitar and drum parts of the article and figure out what he needs to do?
    You didn't go into b*** very well, or keyboards. You made it sound like they are not as important as the drummer or the guitarist, when in fact the b*** probably has the most important part. Keeping the beat (the job of the drummer) and playing the melody (the job of the guitarist/keyboard) is done by the b*** player. Very important role.
    I would say great article, but no offence I doubt this would really help anyone play in a band. Its pretty generic advice. Besides this article ***umes some things about the musicains in the band, like if you had a b*** player like Flea his part in the band would be very different.
    Great Aritcal. finally i have living proff for my band members to know taht we really do suck.
    Great Aritcal. finally i have living proff for my band members to know taht we really do suck.
    great article man... me and my band have a little trouble getting at the same pace because our b*** player cant seem to follow our drummers lead... ill get him to read this... and noone should ever try to be the star.... the band will get pissed :p
    DiSTurBeD 69
    I am supposed to play with a band this friday, we never played as a band together yet, i play the guitar and i played with the other guitarist from this band, and it sounded horibble, thanx for the article man
    no you need guitar more than bass, look at the white stripes, they have a guitarist who thinks he plays bass, oyu take out guitar to a song u get the white guitar+no talent+incest= the white stripes