#1
Timeless dilemma obviously, how many guitarists to use live, but I've got some questions that some of you might have the answers to:

1. If 2 guitars are playing the same riff live, will one guitarist's mistake be more or less noticeable than if only one guitarist had played it (with the same mistake)? Intuitively, I would think that more guitars equals more mess and mud, but perhaps mistakes will be less noticeable since the 2 guitars will each have a lower volume than if there had only been one? So if the sound guy decides that guitars will be 40% of the overall loudness (I know there's EQ too, but disregard that now), then, if there's two guitars, they each get 20%, and thus mistakes will be less noticeable than if there had been one guitar with 40% alone. Is this correct? (Disregard the oversimplifications, you get my point)

2. Why does 2 unpanned guitars playing the same part sound horrible in the studio, but not live?

3. I get the argument that with only one guitar, there will be a sudden "gap" in the sound when there's a solo or lead. But won't that also be the case with 2 guitars, to a large extent? Listen to 0:34 in this video. I know this is just a cam recording, but still. You will always get the sudden "drop" in the sound unless the lead instrument doesn't play the riff beforehand.

4. Do most modern synths have a heavy, distorted pad sound that would sound just as ballsy and "wallish" as tremoloed guitar power chords? Alternatively, are there distortion pedals for synths?

5. What pedal effect do post-rock/darkwave/ambient guitarists use when they achieve that sort of complete legato, almost synth-like, dreamy guitar sound?
Last edited by RandianJaguar at Nov 18, 2015,
#2
1. It depends entirely on the type of mistake made. With two guitars, a clash of notes might sound bad or be passable harmony. With one guitar, a mistake might sound like just another part of the song. But I wouldn't put too much thought into this, since people don't care about an occasional mistake in a live setting. A good live band shouldn't be worried about minimizing the occasional mistake. As for the mud problem, the solution is EQ.

2. Don't know about this topic.

3. There will be a gap, but that doesn't have to be filled with another guitar. The guitar is playing lead, have something play harmony under it if you want to maintain a full sound.

4. I don't know much about synths, but in my experience most virtual instruments sound bad if played repeatedly. It's one of their limitations.

5. Don't know.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.


MUSIC THEORY LINK
#3
1. If two guitars are at the same volume and one makes a mistake, depending on the nature of the mistake it may be noticable, or it may not. If both know their parts, usually any mistake is small, and nobody (in the audience) notices.

2. Not sure what you're talking about here. The vast majority of albums (especially metal albums) have double tracked guitars all over the place.

3. The "gap" that is referred to is the absence of a guitar filling in the blanks behind the lead. This is less of an issue with two guitars, because there's a guitar filling in the blanks. That said there's countless bands that did just fine with one guitar, it's all about arranging the instruments you do have to make a "fuller" sound.

4. I don't think you can get a synth that sounds exactly like a guitar. You can use your normal distortion pedals with a keyboard if you wish.

5. No idea. Post an example of what you are talking about.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#4
1. Don't make mistakes - problem solved.

Seriously speaking, you shouldn't worry about mistakes. Don't get two guitar players to mask your mistakes. Don't get rid of your other guitar player to make your mistakes less obvious. You should practice your parts so that you don't make too many mistakes. In either case I bet the audience will not notice anything, unless you make mistakes all the time. The point is not to worry about mistakes. If they happen, they happen. Mistakes will not sound great in any case, but the audience will most likely not notice anything, unless you make a lot of them.

It's not about "overall loudness", though. If two guitars are playing the same thing and one makes a mistake, that mistake will be a lot more pronounced because it will most likely sound dissonant when compared to what the other guitarist is playing. Whereas if you are the only guitarist and make a mistake, nobody may notice it because it may not sound that dissonant against the other parts (considering that nobody is playing the same thing as you). So if you are playing in unison, the mistakes will be more pronounced. This could of course be "fixed" by making the guitars play different things. But really, if mistakes are a problem, you should practice. Because that's what's causing the problem.

2. If you are out of synch or out of tune, it will sound horrible. But as people above said, I don't really know what you are talking about. Mono records don't sound horrible (and panning doesn't exist in mono).

Also, when you are playing live, remember that part of the sound is coming from the stage. So "unpanned" doesn't really exist the same way it exists in studio. You can't just isolate the instruments like that when playing live.

Panning has to do with clarity. If you sound bad, then the problem is most likely not the panning.

Also, it may be about you feeling better about your playing. Mistakes are very easy to notice in studio because everything is so isolated. But when you are playing live, you just hear a wall of sound. Individual parts are harder to hear.


Actually, I think this is the problem - when you are not panning the guitars, you need to play more accurately. You are just playing out of synch. When the guitars are panned to the left and to the right, they become more separate from each other. This makes slightly inaccurate playing sound less bad, it's kind of more forgiving. But it's not an excuse not to play accurately. You need to practice.

Not sure if this is actually the case, but sounds like it might be. Without hearing any clips, I can just speculate.

3. With just one guitar if you start soloing, there's only the bass and drums playing in the background. The bass takes care of the low range as usual and your leads are most likely pretty high range oriented. Nobody takes care of the mid range. We are not talking about volume, we are talking about frequencies. With just drums, bass and one guitar, it will create a frequency gap, not a volume gap. With two guitars you can still retain the full sound, because the rhythm guitar is taking care of the mid range.

Sometimes this kind of "frequency gap" is cool, though. For example the solo of "Domination" by Pantera is IMO cool because of that. Same with some Van Halen stuff. It works for some songs, other songs need a rhythm guitar behind the solo.


This frequency gap can also be fixed by changing what the bassist plays - you could tell the bassist play higher up the fretboard. But of course not too high because then you'll lose all the lows. It's kind of tricky. Some bands can make it work really well.

4. You could use a distortion pedal with a synth. But usually synths are able to sound distorted (or massive) without the need of a pedal - actually, using distortion could make a typical synth lead sound just sound noisy. But if we are not talking about a massive synth sound, it may work. Listen to "And the Cradle Will Rock" by Van Halen. Eddie plays a Wurlitzer electric piano plugged into his distorted Marshall amp.

If you need a guitar sound, use guitar. Use synth if you want synth sounds. You can use a distorted sounding synth, but it won't sound exactly like a guitar. Listen to Dream Theater for example.

5. Reverb with long decay? Not sure what exactly you are talking about.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Nov 19, 2015,
#5
Thanks for the answers guys.

As for #4, I should have been clearer, I didn't mean a synth sound that needed to sound like a guitar, or sound tremoloed, but a synth sound that sounds really heavy, and fills the sound in the same way that a (non-chugging) guitar would do.

I've only heard the sound effect in #5 live, and I can't find the songs in question, but I'll let you know if I do.
#6
If you want synths that replace the second guitar, look into what dream theater are doing. I think they use some sort of distorted organ sound for that. But most bands ive seen just use some sort of pad or strings or whatever.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
#7
Distorted organ brings Deep Purple to my mind.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#8
What is NIN?
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#9
Quote by RandianJaguar
What pedal effect do post-rock/darkwave/ambient guitarists use when they achieve that sort of complete legato, almost synth-like, dreamy guitar sound?


Try turning the reverb wet output up to 100 and dropping the dry output to 0. That is, leave the reverb in but take out the original signal completely. You end up with just the echo. A lot of post-rock guys do this. For extra fun, put a distortion pedal in before the reverb. Sounds unreal.
#11
Quote by RandianJaguar
Timeless dilemma obviously, how many guitarists to use live,
Same number as you have in your band? (Never been a dilemma for me.)

Good advice above, but just a couple of other thoughts:
Quote by RandianJaguar

1. If 2 guitars are playing the same riff live, will one guitarist's mistake be more or less noticeable than if only one guitarist had played it (with the same mistake)?
If 2 guitars are playing the same line (unison) and one makes a mistake, it will be more noticeable than one player making a mistake.
In the latter case, it might sound like a deliberately dissonant note, or no one will notice. But a discrepancy between 2 players who are clearly supposed to be playing the same line will be more obvious (although it won't necessarily be obvious which note is the wrong one!).
Even then, although the difference in notes will be obvious, it still might not sound like a mistake.
Quote by RandianJaguar

2. Why does 2 unpanned guitars playing the same part sound horrible in the studio, but not live?
Why would it sound horrible in the studio? Unless maybe they're out of tune or out of time.
Anyway, live there's a lot more going on to distract attention. It's a whole immersive experience, and we're more forgiving of rough edges. And you only hear it once! On a recording - whether you listen on hifi, earphones, whatever, you're likely to hear detail more, and you can play it again and again, hearing more detail each time.
Also, it's highly unlikely two guitars on stage would be panned exactly together in a PA, and anyway they're positioned differently on stage. There's a natural separation which would help the ear forgive discrepancies between what they're doing.
Quote by RandianJaguar

3. I get the argument that with only one guitar, there will be a sudden "gap" in the sound when there's a solo or lead. But won't that also be the case with 2 guitars, to a large extent? Listen to 0:34 in this video. I know this is just a cam recording, but still. You will always get the sudden "drop" in the sound unless the lead instrument doesn't play the riff beforehand.
So what? What's wrong with an occasional gap? It's like a punctuation point. Otherwisemusicsoundslikethisallthetime .

You think that "drop" in the sound is a bad thing? Sounds good to me. It's a natural breathing space.
Quote by RandianJaguar

4. Do most modern synths have a heavy, distorted pad sound that would sound just as ballsy and "wallish" as tremoloed guitar power chords? Alternatively, are there distortion pedals for synths?
Yes and yes. (Any distortion pedal will work with any instrument. Put a mic through it if you want .)
"ballsy" and "wallish" will depends mostly on amp settings and levels, a little less on FX, and almost not at all on the instrument making the initial sound. Hell, a ukelele will make a ballsy wall of sound if put through the right gear...
Quote by RandianJaguar

5. What pedal effect do post-rock/darkwave/ambient guitarists use when they achieve that sort of complete legato, almost synth-like, dreamy guitar sound?
No idea. Reverb would probably be part of it. Probably compression too, maybe chorus.
Last edited by jongtr at Nov 20, 2015,
#12
shoegaze guys usually have at least 2-3 delays and reverbs, maybe a clean boost and a fuzz. those dudes usually have major pedal fetish

at least the good ones, not the douchebags with a bunch of boss pedals and a fender starter amp you see at your local clubs

(jk there are no good ones)

system of a down does fine with one guitar. royal blood and DFA1979 don't even have guitarists. it just depends on what kind of music you're making

if you just need a thickness, you can do that with one guitar, but you're gonna want a super strong sound system with great tone and ideally a bi-amp set-up, but if you can get in the bud get to buy a PA and axe-fx, or a PA, axe-fx, power amp, cabs and mics, you'll be fine

if you want to sound good and also break convention, it's gonna cost you. that's why the 16 year olds in a generic garage punk band down the street will get more success than you, cause they got all their instruments in a yard sale for $20 each and actually play music while you plot and save and scheme to have the next big thing, only to play your local scene at 26 and realize it's all disinterested hipsters that are 3 years behind on style and 2 weeks behind on bathing
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
Last edited by Hail at Nov 20, 2015,
#13
Quote by Hail
if you want to sound good and also break convention, it's gonna cost you. that's why the 16 year olds in a generic garage punk band down the street will get more success than you, cause they got all their instruments in a yard sale for $20 each and actually play music while you plot and save and scheme to have the next big thing, only to play your local scene at 26 and realize it's all disinterested hipsters that are 3 years behind on style and 2 weeks behind on bathing
There speaks the bitter voice of experience!
#15
to be fair i was 21 before i realized it and i played with the 16 year olds when their bassist was busy and had a grand old time cause i could learn the music literally as it was played despite being hammered drunk

Quote by cdgraves
Yeah I wouldn't make decisions on the basis of how to make the best mistake.


Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.