View Full Version : Leaving "Space" For Your Bandmates
08-07-2012, 02:55 PM
So I'm in a guitar trio with two novice players, and I guess I'd call myself advanced novice. It's a tough thing, but our bass player and drummer have moved on so we're doing acoustic gigs with three guitars, occasionally I play mandolin.
How do I explain to these guys how to leave space for each other to play when both are trying to hammer away on the rhythm? Maybe I'm not asking the question right, but how do you find room for everyone to play a part in situations like this? Lose one guitar play obviously, but how else?
08-07-2012, 08:44 PM
I'd say play less, but its not quite that....
Even when I am not making sound on my guitar, I am still playing and keeping rhythm, looking for the space to strike a chord or note.
08-07-2012, 08:53 PM
buy a capo. learn how to really use it effectively.
i did gigs as part of an acoustic trio for a while. one guy primarily played rhythm and sang. another guy played lead-ish parts. so my approach was to do something totally different... which often meant putting a capo up high on the neck and inventing a part. learn how to transpose... it's really an invaluable skill for this situation.
also... don't be afraid to keep it simple... play the bass line on a song that has a standout bass part. double a lead part an octave up or down. use delay to create spacy texture. get creative!
08-07-2012, 09:23 PM
I try to approach playing with the mindset that my job is to make everyone else sound better. I play with a group of guys (it's pretty informal jamming, but we get together usually once or twice a week, so we do have a bit of a repertoire after about a year and half together), and sometimes we get 3 guitars at once. One of us usually plays rhythm in the standard neck position, another plays lead lines and I play ultra simple bar chords and little accents to compliment what the other two are doing. I leave a lot of space, but I don't mind 'cause I get to sing too.
08-08-2012, 10:26 PM
If you're playing other groups material than nicely assign parts to everyone or find a group/music that has space built in. Sometimes this is the hardest technique for players new and experienced to get, at least your current situation doesn't involve amps.
08-09-2012, 12:19 AM
Economy. Look at Mike Campbell and Pete Townshend. They NEVER overplay. The music is better for it. Are they playing to get their rocks off or to serve the song?
08-09-2012, 11:26 AM
That's a tough one. Most novice players and even some more advanced players don't know how to "keep it simple, stupid!"
I was in a band once where after a few months the other guitarist said to me "I never really knew how to NOT play until I met you". It just blew his mind how good I could make something sound by not playing anything just before it.
You have to get to a certain skill level before you can actually think of the context of the song as a whole and not just consider your own individual part. So I guess the best you can do is have a honest talk with them and really try to impart on them that a rest is just as important as a note. It also helps to lead by example. So maybe just play a song or two where you do nothing but play one or two extremely well timed chords to prove your point.
08-09-2012, 04:32 PM
I read an interview with a guitarist who played with Prince, and he said that Prince had asked him to play one staccato stroke per measure on a particular beat (or off-beat). And then Prince says "Trust me...it WILL be funky".
Guys just need to learn that a well placed rhythmic stab is much more effective than a full chord played continuously. All you need to do is put on some headphones and listen to some good rhythm guitar parts.
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