#1
2 of my friend and i are starting a band and all of us play guitar but nobody wants to switch to bass, i was just wondering how do we go about creating music for 3 guitars.
#2
hmm, on the G3 tours one kinda held rhythmn and one would go for a solo then the other. It's extremely hard. If steve vai, john petrucci and joe sat can't do it spontaneously live u guys are most probably going to struggle.
#3
Have one play a certain riff the whole song, have someone play chords, and one play over that with some scale. I dunno, I have 2 friends that play guitar, but 1 just started, and one is in the band with me. My vote goes to trying to be innovative, I haven't heard of many bands using 3 guitarists.
#4
a) Have one guitar playing rhythm, and the other two playing harmonised leads.

b) Have one guitar playing chords etc, one playing an octave pattern, and one playing a singlenote melody.

c) All play the same thing.
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#5
I was in a similar situation with 2 of my other friends a while ago. We decided that it wouldn't really work for us becuase of several things. 1. It would be difficult for us to write several parts that work together and 2. (sort ties with #1) We aren't good enough to do it anyways. We've all been playing 3ish years, but you guys talk about G3, that was people like STEVE VIA, not beginner players such as myself.

These 2 guys and myself jam regularly and its fine, usually we have one person play rythme (this person switches all the time) and the other two solo/play lead/duel for fun. Recently one of the other 2 has taken up drums, so he usually drums during these sessions.

I recommend that you try it out and see what happens, but unless you are experienced players, i doubt it will be easy.

To create music: theres zillions of different ways for 3 guitars to ineract. Try harmonizing all 3 of you, or have two play rythme with 1 lead, or 2 lead and one rythme, and anything you can think of. Theres aren't any rules for this sort of thing.

edit: whenever they bring up making a band with 3 guitars I always say no, because of previously stated reasons, and i think it sort of limits creativity in a way. You are forced to interact with something the exact same as you. It can make it stale and old very easily as I've noticed after we've jammed for a while.
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Last edited by iain4444 at Jun 24, 2006,
#6
I having different chord progressions, but having them harmonize. Like, a melody progression, and then there is another guitar playing a progression that harmonized with that (thirds and fifths sound the best). Then either have the third guitar harmonize with the others, or have it play leac.
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#7
What i'd do.. lead on one guitar, chords on another, either powerchords or bar chords on the third guitar..

pretty much two rythms and 1 lead is your best bet, its what i'd do.
#8
radiohead have 3 guitarists. when they all pay at once 1 of them normally plays rhythm. the other plays some kind of melody/riff and the other playing root notes of the chords one or two octaves higher with kind of like a synth/ distortion sound going on
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#9
I was going to play lead, but i was thinking guitar2 would play rythm and gtr 3 would mimic gtr 2 and (plobably in the verses) we'll have to make a few parts that gtr3 plays differently. Anyone think that might work
#10
Most of the time, three guitar bands can go one of two ways :
1- Total excess
2- waste of the third guitar, who is stuck playing the same part as someone else

You can't think like a typical guitar player to pull this off well. You need to find the space in between those two extremes.
You cant simply have two guys harmonising over a chordal backdrop. That's ridiculous in most situations.

You have to think more like you're in the studio adding subtle overdubs, or like a keyboardist.
Let's say that the main "riff" to a song is based off power chords in the key of A minor, anchored by a palm muted low E.
That's one part done.
Guitar two can try a simple figure on top of that... perhaps an arpeggiated Am/C/Em higher up on the neck. If Gtr. 1 is heavily distorted, 2 will probably want a cleaner tone, but still with some volume so his part rings out.
The third player will probably want to think very minimistically.
a simple repeated melodic figure?
perhaps a counter melody to the vocals?
This is also a great opportunity to add texture... maybe octaves following Gtr. 1's riff, but with a flanger to spice it up?


I'll give an example of the chorus in a song i recorded that used three guitars.
Gtr. 1
Power chords in the key of E minor. 4 chords, eighth notes, a very straight forward rythm
Gtr. 2
a repeated 2 bar figure that in the first bar used three notes : E, B and D (root, fifth and 7th). the second bar was the same rythm but outlined a D major chord.
Gtr. 3
a melody that is fairly simple but gradually evolves throughout the 12 bars of the chorus


actually teaching this song to other guitarists became very difficult because i managed to layer the parts in a way that they became one big part, a cohesive riff from three separate parts.

EDIT:
this kind of approach works best for me, as my songwriting is rarely based around a chord, usually a riff.
Sometimes doubling a riff but using different effects is also an avenue worth exploring.
going back to the same song as my preivous example, the main riff was based around a tapping line. two guitars tap out the riff, one distorted and the other clean with a phaser. a third guitar was playing a slightly "chuggier" part based off the riff, palm muted and distorted
*
Last edited by nOtReGiStErEd at Jun 24, 2006,
#11
Maybe you could try it like a horn line arrangement (saxophone, trumpet, trombone), three part harmony? Just a thought.
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#12
Quote by stratkat
2 of my friend and i are starting a band and all of us play guitar but nobody wants to switch to bass, i was just wondering how do we go about creating music for 3 guitars.

2 words for u

HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS
i noe its kinda emoish music but who cares. they have 3 guitars and seem to do things fine. just look at those tabs for some help.

Also another solution.. my guitar teacher pointed this out to me in a tab.. have each guitar player synchronized playing a different single note..theses single notes make up a chord and sound good together...vola
Last edited by Zacky~Vengeance at Jun 24, 2006,
#13
Why doesnt one of them suck it up and not be a little child and just play the ****ing bass.....3 guitars sucks.....too many
#14
Are you kidding! If they work something out and have all 3 guitars playing with good timing it could sound awesome.
#15
Quote by Zacky~Vengeance
2 words for u

HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS
i noe its kinda emoish music but who cares. they have 3 guitars and seem to do things fine. just look at those tabs for some help.

Also another solution.. my guitar teacher pointed this out to me in a tab.. have each guitar player synchronized playing a different single note..theses single notes make up a chord and sound good together...vola



yeah but theyre front man only plays because hes ****ty at working the crowd, otherwise we would just sing. plus he hardly plays at all. mostly just harmonized power chords over the ****ing rythm guy. and to add on that they have him turned way the hell down. excuse my french, and i do like hawthorne heights, and if you think im a little boy go **** yourself.
#16
ok, someone mentioned the sh** band that is hawthorne heights but everyone failed to mention iron maiden? ugh...listen to maiden, end of story
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#17
The current incarnation of gnr have three guitars working in a different way.
They have the regular lead, and then the crazyawesomeshred guy. Two different stlyes of lead, could work?
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#18
Two rhythm, one lead. Have the two rhythm players play octaves apart when possible. But the thing is, your lead player isn't always gonna be playing lead, so what's he gonna do? It'll look (and sound) ****ty when there's three guys playing very similar parts.

So I suggest that you pick, out of the three of you, whoever plays bass the best, and have him suck it up. You kind of sound like you all are at about the same place talent-wise, so base the decision on whoever's the best on bass, not whoever's the worst on guitar.
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#19
One of my bands has 3 guitars (actually sometimes 4, if we have a guest play with us), and here's what we do.

-One guy plays mostly open chords or barre chords on an acoustic. This is the singer though, so he really doesn't count because he only plays when we need an acoustic sound or certain other places.
-One guy plays powerchords in the middle-to-low range of the guitar. This guy is not playing too loudly most of the time.

Now to the tricky parts: Me and the other guy I share lead with.

He mostly does fills: This will work if you're in a blues-rock band like us, I don't know much about other styles. Then he does his solos, and he doesn't do much of interest other times.

I attempt to find holes in the music, and fill them in interesting ways. I spend a lot of time playing keyboards instead of guitar, because it helps make it a more diverse sound, instead of just 3 distorted guitars. Sometimes I do piano, organ, synth, chorus effect, whatever the song seems to call for.

On guitar, I sometimes on slower balled-type things play aa lot of thirds: play the thirds of the chord, use them to move to the next chord, etc. Since I am the only member of my band who is decent at slide, I sometimes use that in the mid-to-upper range of the guitar. Just try to look for what's missing instead of pounding away.


If you want three guitars, everyone has to learn to turn down, or you will start overpowering each other, the vocals, and the band, and create a muddled mess. Try to assign different roles, and if any members have special skills (slide, good acoustic playing, keyboards) try to use them. Even if a member can only do chords on piano, its worth a shot: I could pretty much only play chords when I started playing in the band.
#20
normally i don't do this but.....

http://www.purevolume.com/1of0

check out 'still here', theres 3 guitars (4 in some spots) , all harmonized and usually playing different bits, it might give you some ideas as to how to work out a 3 guitar bit. i use anywhere from 3 to 8 guitars when recording to get a fuller sound and to have more of a creative expansion. personally i like to have a rhythym guitar, have gtr 2 setup a fairly simplistic lead, and gtr 3 will have a bit more complex lead and any additional guitars highlight the stuff already going on. think about it like, all the stuff you can do with 2 guitars that you can't do with one, think about 3 guitars like that. all the stuff you can't do with 2 guitars you can prolly do with 3
#21
In alotta songs you'll find that bands with 2 guitars overlap them in the studio and ull end up having 3 or even 4 guitars in a song...i noe a7x does this sometimes...check that out...and worse come to worse.. buy an octave pedle and have 1 guitarist playt he deep notes like a bass.
#22
Quote by Zacky~Vengeance
In alotta songs you'll find that bands with 2 guitars overlap them in the studio and ull end up having 3 or even 4 guitars in a song...i noe a7x does this sometimes...check that out...and worse come to worse.. buy an octave pedle and have 1 guitarist playt he deep notes like a bass.


He'll have to think like a bassist for that to be worth anything. why bother?
*
#23
well maybe 1 guitarist will play bass like stuff but just wont buy one or dont have the money..that happened in my band and soluytiuon was octave pedal.
#25
^ dude thats totally not EVEN an answer...... and fyi maiden had 2 guitarist not 3 if i'm not mistaken.... i'd say have all 3 of you learn some theory so you know what you can do.....
#26
Maiden has three guitarists now but a long time ago in there prime there were just two.

I say if your all even at guitar see who is best at bass and make him play bass.

If you arent even in skill make the worst guitarist play bass
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#27
^ I would say make the guy with the best rhythm play bass. If the choice is between having a bass player who can't keep time and no bass, I'd pick no bass.

I understand that it would be unfair to make the guitarists who put the most work into guitar switch, but in that case they should find someone who is willing to apply themselves to bass.
#28
I like the octave pedal idea it sounds like the easiest anyone think that'll work, also weve been talking with this bass plr incase the octave pedal doesn't work.
#29
my band had 3 guitarists... one thing that helped a lot was the singer played acoustic rhtyhm, and i played rhythm along with him and the other electric played lead. another way to use 3 guitars is each guitar has its own octave to mess around in... if you play all 3 in the same octave things can get messy.

harmonized leads work great, and also during heavier parts the 2 electrics can be in unison.

one of the biggest things to remember is that people are going to have to swallow their pride and sacrifice being in the limelight all the time for the greater good of the sound of the band. i played a lot of rythm so i wasnt in the spotlight so much compared to the singer and lead player, but my guitar along with the bass provided the backbone for the sound. you can do a lot of good things with 3 guitars... it just takes good understanding by each guitarist and a little messing around to make it work
#31
All these ideas are great but would get tired fast. So I would use one tactic on one song and another on a different one. I dunno if this was mentioned, but...

One person plays acoustic rhythm.
One person arpeggiates or strums chords on the electric as chords change.
One person plays melody behind chords/vocals.
#33
Quote by timi_hendrix
a) Have one guitar playing rhythm, and the other two playing harmonised leads.

b) Have one guitar playing chords etc, one playing an octave pattern, and one playing a singlenote melody.

c) All play the same thing.


Exactly. Except I'd add, in my case this is what i'm doing: if one guitarist is singing, have him just sing (aka sit out) non-crucial parts, such as the verse riffs. Especially if they're too hard to sing and play at the same time. Also, if you have guitarists of different skill levels, follow the guide the other kid gave you (above) and then divide up the parts according to skill level. Hope that helps.
#34
Or... switch bass duties between songs. It's diplomatic. Hell, if the Beatles can switch vocals on songs, you can switch an instrument. You never know, you might even enjoy it... having 4 strings isn't the plague.
#35
I have a feeling you guys aren't even creative enough to make music for two guitarists. -_-; Really though, a lot of bands that have three don't even need three. One of them sucks but they're friends so they don't want to give him the boot... if this isn't the case then just make parts for two guitarists. AFTER THAT one of you should be creative enough to think of a third part that fits. Don't try to tackle 3 parts at once.
#36
Quote by palefire
Or... switch bass duties between songs. It's diplomatic. Hell, if the Beatles can switch vocals on songs, you can switch an instrument. You never know, you might even enjoy it... having 4 strings isn't the plague.


But in gigging situations, it can be hectic switching instruments constantly between songs. Switching once in a while is fine, but evenly splitting bass duties amongst 3 people could probably kill some momentum.
#37
Well my band has 3 guitarists, and we find it very easy to work out different guitar parts. But usually we end up bashing the youngest guitarist cause he's the keyboardists brother and he's small.
#38
Quote by Invictious
1 rhythm
1 lead
1 lead harmonizer

perfect


This guy's on the money, that's what Iron Maiden does and they kick major ass... that or in some songs they have 2 rhythm guitars playing the same exact riff with 1 lead but usually they have 2 lead harmonized...
#39
Harmonize
Lead
Rhythym

Already been said, so I am seconding it.

Lynyrd Skynyrd has 3 guitarists no?