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Playing a 2 guitar song with one guitar?

squeally dan

Member
Messages
5,745
My band is planning on adding "Pick Up the Pieces" by the Average White Band to our set list. Their are 2 disticnt guitar parts going on. It got me thinking about playing these type songs with only one guitar part. I curious to see how other deal with this. I usually just try to create my own part that incorporates a bit of both parts or I try to plsit it up with the keyboardist. Anyone have an opinion? Anyone cover this specific song?
 

clothwiring

Member
Messages
6,819
I would suggest playing the part that people would be most likely to hum and/or recognize. In any dead spots on that guitar's part, fill with the 2nd guitar's parts if it's playing.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
14,729
My band is planning on adding "Pick Up the Pieces" by the Average White Band to our set list. Their are 2 disticnt guitar parts going on. It got me thinking about playing these type songs with only one guitar part. I curious to see how other deal with this. I usually just try to create my own part that incorporates a bit of both parts or I try to plsit it up with the keyboardist. Anyone have an opinion? Anyone cover this specific song?
I've run into this problem a lot, being in mostly single guitar bands.

It really, really, depends on the song.

One I run into a lot is "Play That Funky Music" - there's the guitar line that opens the tune, then the funky 9th chord bit comes in.

In that song, since the bass is roughly similar in motion to the first guitar part, I've found that I can just switch to the 9th chord when they start, and it sounds OK.

Two of my biggest "hate" groups for this are Aerosmith and especially the Stones. Both of those bands are masters at putting two guitar parts in - that "meld" into one. And no matter which of the two parts I play, the song doesn't sound right (of course there are songs by those bands you can play, but the band always picks a different one they want to do!).

The Eagles are another big one because of all the lead parts. Someone always wants to play Hotel California. The intro can be faked well enough, but all the other parts are pretty important and you can't "lay out" of the rhythm part to play those long lines in the middle of the song. The solos themselves are do-able, but a lot of the effect is lost.

One of the bands I just joined is doing a lot of music that I wouldn't consider to be "guitar-heavy". There's maybe one little part in one little section of the song. But damn if they didn't use four guitars in that one little part!

Celebration by Kool and the Gang is a good example - there's the intro octaves, and then the bendy lick. Unlike Funky Music, dropping the octaves to play the bendy lick doesn't work to me. The real solution would be to get a looper pedal so you can play a pass, step on the button, and have it repeat while you play the bendy lick. As long as the band stays in tempo that will work. If there's a keyboard player, I have them do the bendy lick. But other than that part of the song, the guitar is non-existent (if not almost non-existent).

So it really sucks to have nothing to play for most of the song, and then when it is time to play, have to cover 2 or more parts!

I try my best to suggest other songs when these come up, or just say, look, there are two important guitar parts here, and unless we can cover both of them, it's not going to sound right. Then if they argue, I'll suggest we play "Don't You Want Me" to the keyboard player, or some Yes with overdubbed bass to the Bass player, etc.

But, yes, when there are two or more parts, I cover them by playing either the more prominant, or a "hybrid" of the two parts (Brickhouse comes to mind). If it sounds OK, I'm cool with it. Most people in the audience just need it to sound "sort of like it" in rhythm sections.

But I never "dumb down" a part into just simply strumming chords or something like that (exception - things like Brown Eyed Girl where I sing, so I can't do all the little fills at the same time, and the stumming rhythm guitar works).

If you are working with a keyboard player, there may be some things you can split up, but a lot of those types of tunes have a keyboard part as well, or, they'll add horn lines and such.

I'm going to try to get our keyboard player to cover the 6th guitar lines in Brown Eyed Girl and then switch to the organ part (which is in the real song) for the 2nd verse, while I strum it.

Of course, if you can find the keyboard player who playes rhythm guitar as well, you're set!

Good Luck,

Steve
 




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