UPDATE: Had an intervention at band practice last night...

Moxsam

Member
Messages
2,953
So the rhythm guitarist in our band is a total addict and things came to a head last night. We've been dropping hints at previous practices that he needs to clean up his act and all he has said is "I don't like the sound of that."

Anyhow we have a big gig coming up on Boxing Day and we rented a jam space where we could set up a full stage with amps etc. We normally are very limited volume and space wise at our practices and generally everyone just goes direct into the PA with pedals, etc. The rhythm guitarist doesn't even own a proper gig worthy amp so he rented one for this practice and was trying it out for the first time.

We start playing and he is fiddling around with the knobs and constantly clicking between channels with the foot switch. He seems totally out of it but he finally gets to a sound that he is happy with and we play a few songs like that. The rest of us are kind of looking at each other but no one is saying anything. His guitar was sounding like a$$ and overall our collective energy and playing was way off! We decide to take a mini break.

I ask him how he likes the amp and he says "Meh" as though he is in another world mentally. I ask if I can give it a go and he says sure. I check out his settings and he has his guitar on the neck pickup, his tone knobs turned right down and all the eq settings on the amp dialled right down and the gain turned up way too high. It sounded like the dullest, muddiest tone ever. Absolutely no clarity. I start playing it like that for a bit while the other guys chat. I'm wondering how anyone in their right mind could possibly enjoy playing with that sound. So I stop and turn up all the eq knobs, tone and switch to the middle pickup. I also switch to the clean channel. I start playing again and everyone stops talking and they go, "F**k ya! That sounds awesome."

I tell him that he should try playing the next song with those settings and he agrees. Instantly it is like the skies have parted. The band sounds amazing. There is clarity, separation between the guitars and all of our collective energy raises. As soon as the song ends he is switching the dials back to the gainy, hazy, dull muddy sound. Next song, 10 seconds in the drummer stops the song and tells him "switch back to that clean sound." Rhythm guitarist says he likes this sound better. Drummer says "It sounds awful." It does. So the guitarist kind of fiddles a bit but it still sounds bad. Next song lead guitarist and bassist say "Hey man just go back to that clean sound you had. It sounds WAY better." Rhythm guitarist says "Ya but this songs needs a rockin' guitar." No it doesn't we collectively reply.

This goes on and on with him fiddling around going back and forth trying to turn every single song into a raunchy high gain disaster. We won't back down and keep telling him to go back to that clean sound. Finally he says, "Well it sounds like you guys have made up my mind for me." He leaves the amp on the clean setting for the rest of the night and it is bliss. Probably the best we've ever sounded. Everyone can hear everyone else and there is suddenly dynamics to our playing that weren't there before. Even his own playing seems to improve from the constant drone that we've become accustomed to.

At the end of the jam we are all on cloud 9. Even he grudgingly agrees that we sounded really good. As he walks out the door and says goodbye he throws a comment out "I guess I'm a recovering dirty guitarist who has now gone clean." :)
 
Last edited:

Hamer95USA

Member
Messages
2,857
It would be probably be to your advantage to fire your rhythm guitarist so you don't have to deal with his negative attitude/disorganized mind/alcohol/substance abuse issues. Hopefully, he can get himself sober, learn how to be responsible for himself, have a positive attitude, and be of sound mind again. I hope that your band can carry on without him and have a successful show.

Guitar George
 
Last edited:

Moxsam

Member
Messages
2,953
How did you let it go that long?
Did he audition originally?
I don't know. We've been talking about it behind his back for a LONG time. He works out of town a lot and misses a lot of practices so when he is away I normally play rhythm and sing lead. Our sound with me playing rhythm vs. him playing rhythm are two different worlds. It's almost like we are two different bands.

He didn't audition at all. The bass player invited him to one of our practices and he never left. He just showed up with his guitar and started playing over top of everyone. Eventually I put my guitar down (we had 3 for awhile) and just focused on singing and that helped a bit as there was one less guitar playing. Still the guy is a good friend and it would probably end the friendship if we were to kick him out. He does add some good playing sporadically and his back up vocals are quite good. Hopefully he learns from this and starts to hear what we've been hearing all this time.
 

Funkhauser

Member
Messages
1,332
Looking at it from his point of view though, would you find it very acceptable if someone jumped on your gear during a break, changed all the settings then said "there, that sounds much better, play like that"?

I don't think I would find that very acceptable even if everyone else agreed it sounded better. I think I would just pack up and find a new band if a bandmate did that to me.
 

Marc Roy

Member
Messages
13,144
In high school, I had a friend who was addicted to his Boss Metal Zone pedal, which he ran through a Marshall Valvestate combo. On a good day, he would dial in a sound that was equivalent to a wet beer and sauerkraut fart. The other guys in the band tried endlessly to get him to change. Nothing doing. He said it was a unique sound and was his alone. Well at least he was right about that.
 

2HBStrat

Member
Messages
41,247
Looking at it from his point of view though, would you find it very acceptable if someone jumped on your gear during a break, changed all the settings then said "there, that sounds much better, play like that"?

I don't think I would find that very acceptable even if everyone else agreed it sounded better. I think I would just pack up and find a new band if a bandmate did that to me.
I agree, and I would bet that the OP's rhythm guitarist's new sound gravitates back toward his old sound over time.....why?.....because that's what he's hearing....that's the sound he wants.

We tried the same thing with a bass player's tone back in a band I was in in the 80's. He had a big boomy low and low-mid "tone", for lack of a better term, that filled the sound but had no character. We worked on his tone one day at rehearsal at the club we were playing at, and got a really good sound, but it didn't last.....it morphed back to his old sound, because that's the sound he heard in his head, the sound he likes.

But yeah, if the band tried to change my sound, actually come over twiddling knobs, etc., I would be gone.....
 

Marc Roy

Member
Messages
13,144
You lost me at this part, "The rhythm guitarist doesn't even own a proper gig worthy amp so..."
No kidding. If you don't have decent, working equipment, maybe work on that instead of trying to play in a band. I've played with some who've had to constantly borrow gear. Total pain in the ass.
 

sleewell

Senior Member
Messages
10,598
record your practices and listen back to them as a group. play a song your way and play the same song his way. if everyone still agrees that the clean sounds better it will only help reinforce it to him once he hears it both ways.


rhythm guitar with too much gain on the neck pickup would probably sound terrible.
 

Marc Roy

Member
Messages
13,144
record your practices and listen back to them as a group. play a song your way and play the same song his way. if everyone still agrees that the clean sounds better it will only help reinforce it to him once he hears it both ways.
One can only hope he turns it around hearing himself on tape. Then again, maybe the guy enjoys that $hit sound no matter what.
 

Papanate

Member
Messages
19,854
So the rhythm guitarist in our band is a total addict....he seems totally out of it
....His guitar was sounding like a$$... our collective energy and playing was way off!.....he says "Meh" as though he is in another world
mentally. "I guess I'm a recovering dirty guitarist who has now gone clean." :)
If you care about this guy - throw him out on his murky sounding butt.
People like that are toxic to themselves and everyone around them -
and until he can see what a walking disaster he is for himself and others...
he will sabatoge your band. Such is the life of an addict.

It may sound funny to potentially hurt him if you care about him - but when
people have a disease that they refuse to treat - most times nothing but the most
painful realizations ever help them clean up.

And FYI - if his addiction is alcohol or heroin - both those substances alter
the way the addict hears things. It's a sign that someone is influenced when
they play too loud - cut the high end - or boost all the bass to high heaven.
Plus his inability to quicky fix his sound seems like part of his resistance and
the arrogance of addiction.
 

s2y

Member
Messages
19,276
It's interesting how drug addiction is somewhat glorified in rock n' roll folklore. In real life, I've had nothing good come from it. Any more, I cut the cord the second I find out. They have a nasty habit of collateral damage.
 




Trending Topics

Top