Four Guitar Players in One Band?


If you're in a band...really not a full member but just "helping them out"...that has three guitar players and you go to practice and yet ANOTHER guitar player, who you don't know but the rest of the band apparently DOES know, shows up, sets up and plays, too, and seems to be a new member, what is the proper response?

Is there any possible scenario in which a cover band would need four guitar players?

String quartet :dunno
I'm in a Springsteen tribute with 4. It can work, but it takes some smart thinking around parts. We split that up as follows:

1. Full time acoustic, always open chords with a capo
2. Electric one (me) primarily more rhythm parts than lead, but I play some leads too
3. Electric two, primarily lead parts
4. 'Springsteen' Rhythm only, and way back in the FOH mix

We always know that the acoustic will be jangling along with a nice bright sound, which almost becomes a hi-hat type percussion sound.
When there is a lead line, we know who will be playing it. When there's no lead line or clear part to play, myself and the other electric guitarist look at each other and work around each other. If I see he is play a power chord type thing on the 5th and 6 strings, I'll go to a higher part playing partial chords on the high strings, and vice versa.
Our Springsteen sticks to power and open chords, and he's back in the mix. But by having a guitar on, he can start songs, go back in parts and lead the band more easily than he could with no guitar.

The other side of it is sounds. We are all using a bright, mid-forward sound, and not a lot of distortion. It's usually a Strat, a Rickenbacker, and a Gretsch, so always different guitar tones too. Big warm dirty sounds get lost in a big band. We also have been playing pretty big venues, but with little amps. A Pro Junior, a Hot Rod Deluxe and a Plexi/2x12 cab set completely clean at a low volume.

There are a pile of tunes that are all acoustic, and we try to stick to the same sort of recipe. One guy playing open, one with a capo, one on a 12 string, and different guitars, usually a Taylor, Ovation and my 60's Gibson and sometimes a mandolin too.


Tsk tsk closed minds!

King Sunny Ade toured with 5 guitarists plus a pedal steel player.


Or stay in space if you're already there. :D
BOC used 4 guitars on Cities on Flame with Rock 'n'Roll

It was better as a center for a double LP
Ah there we go!
excellent post, was thinking Sunny Ade, Super Rail Band of Bamako, Tinariwen ... multiple guitars are no problem for Afrobeat bands, with guys playing lines ... if guitarists can only pound full chords or use lots of distortion then even two guitars can easily be overkill .....
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Turn it into something cool and unique, maybe people will cite what you did as an example in 20 years time

Plenty of bands have done cool stuff with dual vocalist, dual drummers on stage etc

If the other guy just left, come home and posted on the drummer page or whenever they post about, so cool music wouldn’t of happened.

Why not try it out and see what happens ?


In the 80's I saw the British group the Blue Aeroplanes play in LA. There were between 2 and 3 guitarists playing at once throughout the whole set, they added a 4th at the end and when they launched into Television's Breakin' in my Heart in the encore, it was blissful!

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