#1
I'm the guitarist in a three person hard rock/alternative band. We're playing stuff like Wolfmother, Alice in Chains, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc. I've played in bands before but there were always 2 guitars.

We had our first rehearsal today and the first thing I noticed is that my tone... well it wasn't that good (I was running my PRS SE Custom through a Vox VT30 modeling amp so obviously it's not the best sound in the world). I'm trying to get a tone that will fill up a lot of the empty space without sounding too bassy if you know what I mean. What would be some good EQ settings for this kind of thing?

Also it's not absolutely necessary to have a rhythm guitar, is it? Before today I've been getting a lot of people telling me I need a second guitar. I've been playing in bands for two and a half years (basically the whole span of my time playing guitar) and rhythm's a good thing to have but I'm a little confused as to why I would have to have one. So long as the frequencies are filled right it shouldn't be necessary unless you want to do harmonized dual guitar work right?
#2
Guitar is a midrange instrument. Mids up, all the way. The rest depends on what sound you want.
#3
Second guitar isn't absolutely nessecary, but it obviously does help fill in things that don't sound quite right. Like playing chords behind your solo or to compliment the things the other guitarist is playing. But, again, isn't really needed.
As for the EQ, lol i dunno

i'm trying to find a good tone myself
#4
Second guitar isn't real necessary but they help out a lot with your sound. As for filling in extra sound space my only idea is getting a large amp. I'm not positive but when i think of power trios like Rush and Cream i think of a large volume for the guitar
#5
You just have to fiddle for a while. You'll find it.
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#6
Delay or reverb helps to thicken your tone up.

Don't worry about frequencies, let your ear do the judging. The chili peppers fill sound by all the drums, guitar, and bass being really tight and well arranged, as well as overdubs in the studio.

The other bands just use distortion and overdubs to give the big guitar sound.
#7
It's about arranging your parts to fill out the sound primarily. Sure you can have an awesome tone, but you need to pay attention to the dynamics between your guitar and the other instruments to get a "full" sound.

This is new to you because it's your first time. Modify your parts away from the band so that there's less blank spots.
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#10
The express train setting and boutique OD on the VT can cut through quite nicely when you raise mids.

If this doesn't work, buy and EQ pedal or sell it and buy a superchamp.
#11
I notice this between my guitarist and myself... I am used to playing with 2 guitarists. The other guitarist used to be in a Trio. When he is playing something all by himself it just fills the room... me not so much.

#12
things i have done in this setting which might work for you but might not:

try EQing your amp very simply. turn it all up to ten. i know this sounds silly in a way, but try it.

try using some open tunings. they are nice, because they let you do lots of interesting melodic things, but keep the strings ringing open in the background. it is noisy and loud and makes it feel like there is a lot more going on than there is.
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#13
Along with tone it can also be what you're playing, for example Nirvana are a trio with a big guitar sound because it's mainly distorted chords and powerchords. But if you take a band like bloc party or radiohead who use multiple guitars the playing of each takes up less 'space' in the overall sound.
What kind of playing are you doing mainly?
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#14
Okay, so you now know there's nowhere to hide in a 3 piece band. You have to do a lot more work all the time. When it comes to solos, you do your thing but your bass and drums have to work the fill as well. Listen to Cream. During Clapton's breaks, listen to what Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker are doing. They are also soloing to fill the void that the guitar has left. Everyone has to be good to do it right, but when it is right, there's no punchier line-up than just the three of you.
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#15
See at practice this is kind of an issue for my band as well... but at shows I am mic'ed and run through the instrument mixer. *we have a vocal mixer and instrument mixer to make balancing things out less of a head strain* I find one guitar is more fun to do in a band because there is less clash between who gets to do what lead and so on. I know I wouldn't mind playing rhythm here and there but I don't want to be in that click to where I would be labelle as rhythm guitar...

Our singer plays rhythm for a few songs that really need it, but I usually try to blend the two guitar parts in songs together... My amps usually set at 4-5 bass, 3.5 mid, 6-7 treb for distortion and 4-5 bass, 4-5 mid, 5-6 treb for clean... usually comes out decent.. I run PRS custom 24 se through a crate.


LOVE not using the trem bar and just using my hands sid to trem up on the guitar :P
Last edited by ehlert99 at Nov 10, 2009,
#16
What you need is gear. Lots more gear.

Nah, that's a lie. You just need to be creative about how you put things together. I play guitar in a 3 piece, and write most of the songs, so I just find I need to think about varying where i'm playing on the fretboard, using fuller chords, that kind of thing.

Also think about how your bass and drums are compensating for your sound, and don't be afraid to strip back the amount of noise you're making in some sections to leave room to build more in others.

Hope that helps!

Edit...

And try filming/recording yourselves playing, then listen to it a few days later to really get a feel for what it actually sounds like
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#17
A second guitar isn't necessary but a rhythm guitar IS pretty necessary. It supports the vocals, and (If you get another guitarist) it will support the lead guitar.

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#18
Im still going to say tube amp. Its really hard for one of those little solid state buggers to compete with both drums and bass. ESPECIALLY if its only 30 watts.

And OsX tiger has never heard of a power trio b4.
#19
Quote by osXtiger
A second guitar isn't necessary but a rhythm guitar IS pretty necessary. It supports the vocals, and (If you get another guitarist) it will support the lead guitar.


#20
Quote by osXtiger
A second guitar isn't necessary but a rhythm guitar IS pretty necessary. It supports the vocals, and (If you get another guitarist) it will support the lead guitar.


Uhm, is there any way that sentence makes sense?

And thanks for the advice guys. My dad owns a Roland JC-120 which I plan to use at some point but our rehearsals are at my bassist's house (his dad's drumset is 50 million times better than my drummers apparently haha) and his basement is pretty damn tiny so there's really no room for it (I also need my own distortion pedal for that thing XD). I'll figure something out.

Also suppose we're covering a song and I alter parts (like, we're playing Around the World by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and none of us can do the vocals while playing. my thought was to transition from the guitar riff to a chord played in a similar rhythm so I could do the vocals over it). Would we get a lot of backlash for it, even if it sounded alright?
#21
What you play is probably more important.

Red Hot Chili Peppers sound like they have got so much going on because they all know when to pull in and out, when to play and when you shouldn't, when to play more and when to play less.
They all share the space well - so its probably just what and the way you are playing that is making you think something sounds bad.
#23
Quote by Timothy O.
Also suppose we're covering a song and I alter parts (like, we're playing Around the World by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and none of us can do the vocals while playing. my thought was to transition from the guitar riff to a chord played in a similar rhythm so I could do the vocals over it). Would we get a lot of backlash for it, even if it sounded alright?


That's totally legit. As long as it sounds LIKE the Chili Peppers version, most people won't notice. 90% of your audience won't be musicians. They won't care as long as you sound together and give them a good show.
#24
A good thing to use with a single guitarist is chorus. Ideally, you would have speakers at each end of the stage for stereo effects.
#25
Its all in the amps i think....i'm in a three piece myself and i had the same prob, but now i use a jcm 100 and a few pedals and i sound great. Just try out different sounds to see which one fits.
#26
Well I got a semi-hollow for christmas and that's helped make my sound MUCH fuller (distorted there's a lot of feedback obviously but I've got a grip on my volume knob xDD), and raising the mids has definitely helped a lot I just need a good distortion pedal for the JC-120 and I'll be fine. Thanks everyone!
#27
I've never had a problem with tone as far as power trios go. However, I have noticed that it's usually the bassist who is lacking when it comes to "filling space".

Quote by j_link13
Second guitar isn't real necessary but they help out a lot with your sound. As for filling in extra sound space my only idea is getting a large amp. I'm not positive but when i think of power trios like Rush and Cream i think of a large volume for the guitar


First off, larger volume =/= more space tonally.

Second, you are the first person I've ever heard of thinking that Rush and Cream got their extra space from the guitarist. Sure, Alex Lifeson and Eric Clapton are amazing, but what happened on guitar solos? Geddy Lee and Jack Bruce were the ones to supply the "space" that the TS is talking about.

In all honesty, I think it's the bassist not stepping up to the requirements of a power trio. And if you guys are playing RHCP, one guitar should EASILY fill the space, since I happen to recall only one guitarist in the band. If your bassist is doing Flea's basslines, it should suffice.

But there is one more thing to consider. You should almost always play the rhythm guitar part instead of the lead. If not, you will notice a huge loss of space. During solos, it is up to the bass and drums to step up and fill the space.
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#28
Listen to the RHCP albums, there is most always a second guitar tucked in beneath the sound. And live? They used to have a 2nd guitarist playing in the shadows.
#29
Quote by fnmpm
Listen to the RHCP albums, there is most always a second guitar tucked in beneath the sound. And live? They used to have a 2nd guitarist playing in the shadows.


Didn't know that, but still. The rest of my post stands.
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Jesus was all like "To those about to rock, I salute you." then he grabbed his mighty axe and rocked the Romans out really hard. Of course they were strict classical music so....
#30
I agree. The bass player may need to turn up, step up, and fill in. Make him subdivide- play more powerful basslines, hell- lemmy uses bass power chords...
#31
I am going to suggest either turn everything up to ten, that's what Jack White does in the White Stripes. Then maybe tweak it a bit. Personally I would go Bass/mids/treble: 8/7/6. Then tweak to get the sound you want.
#32
AS stated, get the bassist to do some more stuff than root notes. Especially during solos. It may seem like its taking away from it, but in the end, it will fill the solo out so much more. Have the bassist do some fancy walks and licks over your solo, and maybe have the drummer do a tom beat or something. In a pinch, special effects can be slapped on during a solo to fill things out, such as extra chorus or reverb, or a phaser. But honestly, try to stay away from those. Mix up your clean and distorted playing. And let the bass and the drums carry the song. They are the foundation for the guitar. Step back and let them go solo occasionally, especially if you're singing.
#33
My band has gone without a rhythm guitarist and we've played plenty of shows. We used bass to fill in the empty space, along with him turning up his presence to about 2 o'clock, Bass to about 3 o'clock, mids cranked all the way, and highs about 12 o'clock. I also crank my heads and highs a lot on my bass, and run all 3 of my on bass eq's at full boost. When we play together we get a really powerful sound compared to most bands with a similar set up.
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#34
One word Muse, they only have one guitarist but then again they have synth backing so...
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#37
When you solo, it pretty much needs to be like a solo for everyone. It has to stay structured or else it gets cacophonic, but let your bassist and drummer go crazy with what their doing. As a bassist, I love playing in a three piece, since it lets me do a whole lot more with my basslines.
#38
My band's a 3 piece, and the sound works, because me and the drummer both have thick and full sounds. The bass is there like a constant almost, literally just pinning the fundamental.

When I solo, the drummer just keeps up the cymbal crashes and it works fine. But the solos are relatively short.