#1
Alright, so me and my buddy are doing an acoustic duo setup. He plays guitar and does the singing, as well as most of the songwriting. My questions is, while he's playing, what should I be playing? How do I go about writing a 2nd guitar part instead of just duplicating his part?
#2
try arpeggiating(spelled wrong)? the chords, finger picking,etc
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#3
you can do some harmony on guitar using different styles(fingerpicking/strumming/etc.). the key to a good duet is to use the same rhythm as your partner is playing. you can also try using the method of "call and response." the first person plays, and then the second person can respond using something else(a riff, variation on what was just played).

of course, im just speaking very generally and throwing out random ideas because i have no idea what you're playing.
#4
Thats a very broad question. The first thing that comes to mind would be that he plays rhythm and you play lead parts but that may not be applicable to the style(s) of music you will be playing. So, what sort of music are you guys going to be playing?
#5
Sorry for the lack of specifics. It's going to be mostly singer/songwriter style stuff. Think along the lines of Jack Johnson, I suppose. Nothing too complicated.
#6
Assuming you want yours to be a more complex guitar part than his (not quite a lead and rhythm relationship necessarily, but it could work that way) it might be smart to look at different voicings of the chords (e.g. he might be playing full sounding open chords near the neck and you might be playing the same chord on only the bottom three strings near the top of the neck). You'll want to know a good amount about forming different chord inversions to do this.

Don't take the advice of playing the same exact rhythm as the other guy. The rhythms should certainly compliment each other, but they needn't be identical. You can compliment a part in which he is strumming with fingerpicking or a melody that compliments the chord. Don't be afraid to use notes outside of his chord in your part, so long as they don't clash with the melody line. If, for example, he is playing a V chord, you can have a guitar part that stresses the chordal seventh (4th scale degree) to add a dominant seventh sound (an example in case this is confusing: say a songs in C major and he's playing a G chord, if you play something with an F in it it will make a dominant seventh sound). Learn about chord extensions and try to layer some of his chords with them. You could also break down his guitar part into something slightly more basic so that you can play two different parts that add up to his original part. For example, say he is using a chord progression of C F G7 C, to take something very basic. You might write two different rhythm guitar parts that both use two notes, one that goes C+E, A+C, B+D, C+E and the other that goes E+G, F+A, F+G, E+G. Together these create the same chords, but the use of double stops could create an interesting texture (especially with a rhythm that compliments it or if you really accent that it's two different parts by spacing them in different octaves).

If this is confusing to you, start learning some music theory. It will help you a lot in creating complimenting guitar lines.

Edit: Also, in space of a "guitar solo" with one of you playing a rhythm part and the other playing a lead line, it can sound quite cool on an acoustic if you both play something halfway between rhythm and lead. You can create some cool counterpoint and really play off of each other that way.
Last edited by LoneWanderer13 at Feb 8, 2008,
#7
play different chord voicings
play lead
play in a contrasting, but not totally dissonant, rhythm
play in a contrasting style (i.e. flat-picking vs. fingerstyle)

the main thing to think about, imo, when accompanying another guitar part is to pay attention to the spacing in the music. spacing is an integral part of songwriting and especially when you have more than one guitar. if you listen and play around you'll understand what i mean. you can hear the spaces and gaps in a guitar part that are just asking to be filled in or accented by another guitar.
#8
Wow, I can't thank you guys enough for all the help. I knew the answer was theory, but now I know where to start at least. Thanks again.