#1
Okay, so I'm going to be starting a band soon. there will be 4 instruments [three, if youre a picky and perfect person] guitar, bass, drums, vocals.

Now, the reason I'm posting this, is because...

I'm pretty much the only guitarist around where I live. THere are others, but they're all so far away it would be kind of silly to even try to start a band with them.

Now, I play guitar well, both rhythm, and lead, but I've got a question...

If I'm the only guitarist in the band, how do I write/make an interesting song? What would be the best approach?

The answer may be simple as far as recording, and things like that go, but im worried about playing live, and rehearsing right now.

My question is, how can I make sure that in our songs, it's not JUST rhythm, but also, that it's not JUST lead?

Should I go for the terribly over-used, and uncreative method of playing rhythm for the majority of the song, adding lead fills, and solos?

This concerns me, so any advice is appreciated. Thank you.
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#2
Why don't you check out some bands that have only one guitarist and see what they do? Normally it'll be pure rhythm with some fills and maybe solos. Make sure that any leads you do are very melodic and to have a strong bass in the background.

Also, what kind of music are you planning on playing?
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#3
Alright, I'll keep that in mind.

The type of music we'll be playing will vary, but it will be mainly a strange combo of like, alt rock, goth, and punk. Kind of an AFI type of thing, but honestly, I dont like saying we play any one kind of music.

But that should give you some sort of idea, anyway.
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#4
Well AFI has only one guitarist so that should help a lot. I think The Leaving Song Pt. 2 shows well how Puget balances between rhythm and harmony which are the essentials for pulling this off. Another piece of advice is to try and write your music on an acoustic first because this allows you to really notice how full your sound is when playing. Also using effects when playing on electric can help you achieve a bigger impact on your sound.
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#5
Okay, so in other words, it is a good idea to utilize all parts of a song (Intro, fills, solo, outro, etc.) to make sure you're always doing something, right? Or am I missing the point?

Yeah, I've heard that before. I intend to start doing that with the acoustic soon as soon as i can get a decent one. I'm actually working on getting a new electric, though, so yeah.

As for effects, sure, I'll consider using a few, but I hate when people use such a heavy amount of effects that its not even like a guitar anymore. I'm fine with using things like chorus, reverb, pretty much anything up to a synth/pitch shifter. Nothing else though. And yes, I know the 'proper' ways to use all of them lol.

A few things, though. This is kinda off topic, kinda not.

1) Do you have any tips for giving both music, and lyrics my all when writing them? I'm the only writer in the band (There is already me and the bassist, btw, but even when we're a full band, I'll still be the main writer.) It seems like it might be challenging to make both the lyrics, and the music as great as possible.

2) Furthermore on that bit of information, is it weird that I'm not going to be the lead vocalist, but that I will still write the lyrics? I'm going to be doing vocals, just not lead vocals.
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#6
Same deal here, man. Just go with it, with dedication and effort you will get better at what you're going for. Think in terms of short melodies inside of chords. And get your bassist a distortion pedal for solos, if it's good enough for Black Sabbath...

*EDIT

you do want empty space, it makes your sound pop out more and gives those crucial seconds to switch pickup positions and volume. Dynamics will be your very best friend. Listen to Queen songs without piano, Dr. Brian Harold May will tell you what you need to work on.


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Last edited by foo_diddles at Nov 28, 2009,
#7
You should also listen to the first Wolfmother album (on the second they got a rhythm guitarist) and The White Stripes. But basically the Bass picks up the rhythm guitars job.
#8
Depends what music you're playing but if it's metal/hard rock then think about putting some fuzz in the bass for support. Venom do this and it feels like a full 4/5 man band but it's just three guys.
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#9

2) Furthermore on that bit of information, is it weird that I'm not going to be the lead vocalist, but that I will still write the lyrics? I'm going to be doing vocals, just not lead vocals.


If you're the better lyricist and your singer's better at lead vocals, there's absolutely nothing weird with that. It's just plain sensible. Rush did it, Black Sabbath did it, and I'm sure lots more did it too.
#10
teach the vocalist a few chords so they can play rhythm.

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#11
i feel like the key to being good in a one guitar band is not really the guitarist but more about the drummer and bassist they have to pick up the space that is left by the missing guitar, although you have to step up and do your part. But for it to work everyone has to be solid there can be no weak links in the chain.
#12
for sure your bassist will be super important in a one guitar set up. In my band where I play the only guitar, my bass functions more as out lead guy than rhythm, but he keep things grounded when I solo. As for writing, it is totally fine. I do that in my band, as do many other bands.
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#13
definately have a very strong rhythmic bass
not just doing root 8th notes but throwing fills in etc
also with the guitar i think you need to when writing riffs by conscious of the middle to strings (d, g if in e standard) as its a compromise between lead style riffs and rhythm riffs
solo's help the lead guitar stand out and life you'd have to have the bass take over
but on recordings i'd just dub an extra guitar and set it back in the mix
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#14
My band has the same set up as yours and the guitar parts work very well with the bass. you can check it out in our song 'Pangaea'. www.myspace.com/kromagnonmetal (Don't mean to promote myself, it's just an example )
#15
Quote by Meurglys3
If you're the better lyricist and your singer's better at lead vocals, there's absolutely nothing weird with that. It's just plain sensible. Rush did it, Black Sabbath did it, and I'm sure lots more did it too.


Yeah. Well it's really not a matter of who's better, it's just, the person who's most likely going to take the lead vocals spot is kind of... A girl... So it's more of an exploration thing. Seeing what could be done with a girl as a vocalist. She's an amazing vocalist, for a girl, I'm not too shabby, for a guy. It's just, obviously, we're going to be able to do different things, so yeah.

What's already been happening, up til now ('Cause my bassist and I have actually written a few songs already) is I come up with the base of the lyrics, but if I should run into a spot where I absolutely cannot think of 'what to put here' or whatever, I'll go to him. And sometimes he'll recommend lines. So yeah. I just feel comfortable writing the lyrics.
With enough money saved you will buy a new straw skirt and coconut bikini, a airplane ticket back to civilization and a large Mesa Boogie amp and a Gibson Explorer and shred the faces off with METALLICA!


#16
I think you're stressing a little too much. I know that you want to be the best you can be at this, but stop stressing over little stuff like who writes what. That's when ego starts to get in the way. Don't stress little things, just have fun doing it.
#18
As has been said, the bass has to do the fills when you do lead breaks and solos. But the drums can also pile in and lift the whole thing. Different genre but listen to old Cream stuff. Now listen again to what the bass and drums are doing to make Clapton sound so good. He wasn't. He didn't learn to read music until later, but the overall sound is nothing like as empty as a 3 man should sound.
Next listen to The Who. Could Townshend have had the freedom to do all his flashy stuff and windmills etc., if he didn't have ego maniacs like Entwhistle and Moonie behind?
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