I'm not sure if this is in the right forum or not so sorry if it should be somewhere else.

I've recently started a band with my best friend whom i've known for a long time who also plays guitar and we've been trying to write some songs but we're having a problem. Basically we want to play music like Nirvana, Green Day and The Ramones but the problem is that these bands only have 1 guitarist and because these are our biggest influences we can only write songs for 1 guitar.

Obviously 1 of us could play a solo with the other playing chords or whatever but for the rest of the song we can't think what we could do because we don't want to be playing the same thing as this just makes it pointless having 2 guitars.

Any ideas?
Both guitarists don't have to be playing all the time. Check out metallica, dragonforce, I know these bands aren't in your style but they do put 2 guitar parts together pretty well. Wow I'm having a mental block of bands with 2 guitaristss.. umm someone help me out please??
one of the guitars could always just harmonize the other...

Start listening to bands with two or more guitarists, and see how they do it, they may not be your "style" but if your seriouse, it shouldn't really matter, as long as it helps.

Also, don't let your influences influence you quite so much, you can try to write your music like them if you want, but just because they only use 1 guitarist, doesn't mean you have to. Personally, I try not to let anyone influence me, and try to be as original as possible, even though it's almost impossible to not be influenced at all...

EDIT: Listen to Bullet for my Vallentine, they have a lot of good songs with a lot of different guitar parts.
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Last edited by sites.nick at Jun 24, 2010,
Obviously as you said those bands don't have two guitarists, so they use power chords a lot (not saying that's cause and effect, just an observation). Aside from using different variations of the chords as someone stated, one can strum the chord while the other plays a few notes in the chord. Also, if you get more into writing riffs its fun to have a main riff with some chord structure in the background (thinking Pearl Jam on that one).
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The Scorpions are a perfect example of two guitars working well in unison.
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put one person playing a lead over the chords, or add a different rythym to one guitar. there's tonnes you could do.
i agree with the writing partial chords for each part, seen that alot...

more bands in the same type of genre
good charlotte, alice in chains, radiohead, guns 'n roses
-Harmonies; having one person play the actual chord that you want, and the other play a single note part that uses notes from that chord.
-I can't exaggerate how much your guitar parts will sound better if you play one part one place on the neck, and then the same chord somewhere totally different. One way to do this is for one person to play the A-form barre chord and the other to play the E-form of the same chord.
-Just playing the same thing on two guitars; it doesn't seem that cool, but it really will sound great if you mix each guitar into a separate channel.

Some of those may have been covered already, but that's just my two cents.
Green Day only has one "official" guitarist, but there are often (usually) two guitar parts on the studio recordings, and they tour with an extra guitarist.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

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It actually makes a lot of sense for two guitarists to be playing the same rhythm as well, it makes the guitar part sound thicker and more profound I guess.
You could trying watching some of those YouTube guitar cover videos. Find some with split-screen hand close-ups of the guitar parts and watch how the two parts work to support and accent each other. There's a guy that does a really nice job on a lot of old GnR songs (gewerh44, I think it was)--his videos of things like Nightrain and You Could Be Mine might be instructive.
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