Recently two buddys of mine and I decided to start a band together. The three of us jam really well together and though I'm the only one supplying any vocals, our general sound is great with the strong chorus type music we're playing. The problem is I LOVE to really jam out on my guitar, and my bassist isn't strong enough of a musician to hold his ground while I solo for minutes at a time. My drummer is great and can bridge the gap a little but we're still having problems. Is there any advice any one can give? Is there a certain bass style that works well for this type of thing? Is there an EQ we can try?

A looper is out of the question. I don't have the cash and I don't support the looping parts anyways. In a studio a guitarist can dub as many guitars he wants on there, but when it comes to playing live, I think that using a rhythm track or a looper is just cheating. I think live stuff should be as raw as possible.
Last edited by StrangeStrayCat at Jul 7, 2011,
Maybe you'll just have to compromise and avoid soloing as much, and if you do, make it more melodic, for example, the solo in Talk Dirty To Me by Poison. If you go into the studio, you can lay down rhythm guitar tracks and such. Making the bass louder or fuzzier-sounding might help too.
You could also add another guitarist.
i've played and jammed in three piece bands consistently, unfortunately if your bass player isn't quite up to par, it's really difficult to get things to work out. my advice is to tell your bassist to turn the volume up and boost the mids and lower the treb, and play AGGRESSIVELY, regardless of right or wrong notes, and record your jam sessions, that way your bassist can hear for him or herself what is working and what isn't working.
study the style and sound of other 3 man bands like rush
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i've played and jammed in three piece bands consistently, unfortunately if your bass player isn't quite up to par, it's really difficult to get things to work out. my advice is to tell your bassist to turn the volume up and boost the mids and lower the treb, and play AGGRESSIVELY, regardless of right or wrong notes, and record your jam sessions, that way your bassist can hear for him or herself what is working and what isn't working.

Thanks for the advice
I'm in the same spot, I have a 3 man band at the moment with the bassist as the singer. He's a good enough bassist but I'm kind of crazy on the guitar riffage, so he or I try come up with good slightly more notey basslines for him. And he plays loud, I guess have your bassist almost act as a rhythm guitarist while you're soloing. Get him/her to play loud, but still play well.
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How was Confucius death metal?
You've clearly never read any Confuscius.

As I wait on the edge of the earth,
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Only to be rebuilt in another name,
On a different day
Practice, practice, practice and get the bassist to turn up!

My band is also a power trio but in the beginning we werent. We had another guitarist, but when he left we just chose to stay a trio. It was hard at first and our bassist was a little uncomfortable having to hold down the rhythm alone so, as a said before, just practice. You guys will fall into a comfortable blance before you know it!

You could also get your bassist to try a dirt pedal too. The bassist in my band uses a bass big muff and a couple of other dirty pedals that fill up the empty space.
Orange Rockerverb 100MKII
Orange PPC412C
Fender Telecaster: Hotrails, Air Norton, Area '58
Bass big muff
Russian big muff
Boss OC-3
Boss DD-3
In terms of tone, it's important to understand that what works for your rhythm might not work for lead. Playing chords takes up quite a bit of sonic space - you're going to have a lot of overtones. When you switch to single notes, especially high notes, you lose that. So you want to make sure you have a nice, rich lead tone. An EQ pedal with the high-mids and overall volume boosted a bit worked for me.
But there's really no getting around a subpar bassist in a power trio. And as with any band, vocal harmonies definitely help (though obviously aren't a necessity). Still, as the size of the band has shrunk, getting those extra voices in there helps to fill up the space you might normally have given to a rhythm guitar.
seriously, don't count out looping, there's some incredible stuff that can be done with it. Yeah backing tracks can be called phony but looping can take some skill.
I know it's prolly not your style of music but check this out...
watch the start and then at like 6:30 it gets really good
Tell your bass player to watch the drummers bass drum, and to play the bass note at the same rythym of the bass drum.
If you're set on this bass player, there is no replacement for spending time jamming. Take some jam time and set it aside for him to experiment with bass chording and riffing while you kick back and lay down the chords you would otherwise be jamming over (if you don't have a progression in your mind while you're soloing, it's most likely going to be rubbish anyway). Be careful with suggestions, you want to enable him to come out of his shell and gain confidence. Confidence (measured with realistic views of ability) is critical. Focus on what you can do better as a band, not on what you can't do at all that you might think is important.
In the end, everyone who develops anything unique in sound or style or technique accomplishes it through time, patience, and practice.
Having friends as bandmates can be difficult in the beginning because players are usually at different levels and one or two members can grow impatient... but, in the end, you have a much better chance at longevity as friends growing together as a band rather than seeking out a collection of hot players only to discover that at the first sign of adversity you're babysitting a collection of egos...

...or, forget everything I've said... I see you've created another thread asking advice on how you should kick your friend out of the band...

Looks like you're going to need to learn a few things the hard way, since asking for this type of advice publicly can undermine your situation now as well as affect others in the future... since the Internet looks like it's here to stay, some things are better dealt with offline.
Last edited by Terry Gorle at Jul 29, 2011,
Looping is just another tool for your art, just like your guitar, or the bass or drums. If you have it, then use it, especially if you are in a three piece. Once you figure it out, it fills out the sound so it doesn't sound wimpy or like it's missing something.
Oct. 20th, 2009: New guitar AND front row for Mars Volta.

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I met Sonic Youth on June 30th, and Mars Volta on Oct 20th.
Unfortunately without a great bass player 3 piece bands can be tough.
Im in a 3 piece, and i've listened to a lot of other 3 pieces to see how to get a big full sound. Like you, i love to jam out on some lead pieces - but i also sing, my solution was to adopt a sort of hendrix quality - making the guitar sound like 2 guitars, have the bass voicing then play a melody on the higher strings (piano style) and sing over it. Its ****ing tough to have all that shit going on in your head, im still learning harder and harder rythmns whilst singing but it should be worth it.

However there will come a time where you wanna straight up solo it, so have your bass player let the notes ring out more (instead of walking around the chord root note) and make absolutely sure that the bass drum and his bass playing are doing the same thing. This way, the ryhthm section of your band sounds tight and full - whilst the melody part (your solo) is a) more pronounced and b) more flowing.

You'll find you'll probably have to be more inventive in ya solo's too, unless your can do some singing/backing over it to give the solo context.

Bass player needs to play tight to the bass drum and use less passing notes to the next note.
That is the key.
Always waiting for that bit of inspiration.
You could literally just record the rhytm and have speakers playing it out when you wanna solo... so like think to youreslf "okay, i wanan solo"

go press play on a speaker thing, then once the rhytm starts, let it go through the progression once or twice so you get in time, then let it rip!
I'm in a very similar position, I do lead vocals and guitar in a 3 man band.

Although having a bassist who can fill the sound is very useful, part of the problem may be in your own mentality. When you're playing chords and singing a 3 man band can easily sound very full and you can play with a similar mentality to a four man band (often lead guitarists don't play in parts of songs anyway).

However, when you solo you're going to have to accept the fact that your band will not sound like a 4 piece. In your mind it might sound very empty but in fact the stripped down sound often works very well and acts as a nice contrast to the rest of the song. Even with a bassist who fills the sound well this will still be true.

You can sound good soloing even if your bassist only plays root notes. It'll sound stripped down but that doesn't mean it'll sound bad. It's all about creating good sounds from what you have and while it may not sound how you first imagined it can still be good.