Three piece band vs four piece band


Gray Dude
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Joined: 06/27/19
Posts: 20
Gray Dude
Registered User
Joined: 06/27/19
Posts: 20
06/02/2023 1:06 pm

Greetings.  I did not see a forum for this so placed it in the open forum.


My band has recently changed its configuration.  We no longer have rhythm guitar player and just guitar, bass and drums.


So I noticed that its harder for me to play the solo's as it's easier for me to get lost where the song is as I am no longer hearing that rhythm guitar as a reference. 


So it one thing I'm learning is I have to work more closely with my bass player.  Which is a good thing.  I'm noticing that notes he plays and sometimes I'm hearing how I know where am at by what he is playing.


So how does the players responsibilities change when playing in three piece band like this?  We had one song where I was doing a solo but I had to ask the bass player to simplify his part (playing mostly roots) to help me find my place. 


Anyway any insight is appreciated!


Thanks


# 1
ChristopherSchlegel
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Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,427
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,427
06/02/2023 4:18 pm
#1 Originally Posted by: Gray Dude

Greetings.  I did not see a forum for this so placed it in the open forum.


My band has recently changed its configuration.  We no longer have rhythm guitar player and just guitar, bass and drums.


So I noticed that its harder for me to play the solo's as it's easier for me to get lost where the song is as I am no longer hearing that rhythm guitar as a reference. 


So it one thing I'm learning is I have to work more closely with my bass player.  Which is a good thing.  I'm noticing that notes he plays and sometimes I'm hearing how I know where am at by what he is playing.


So how does the players responsibilities change when playing in three piece band like this?  We had one song where I was doing a solo but I had to ask the bass player to simplify his part (playing mostly roots) to help me find my place. 


Anyway any insight is appreciated!


Thanks

You have to know the tune.  Everyone in the band has to know the tune.  It has to be totally committed to memory by everyone so you can focus on performing in the moment.


This is one reason that playing blues tunes is a good idea for guitar players in formative years.  There is a solid, predictable set of chord changes over a set amount of bars.  You can do the same thing with pop, country, jazz, rock tunes.  But the same thing has to happen.  You play the tune so many times that it becomes automated, it's second nature, you don't have to count all the time, or worry about getting lost.


This is also why it's so important to play lines that target chord tones & form melodic phrases.  You are playing the form of the song & making statements that outline the song form so the lead lines & the chord changes are all integrated.


It helps if the bass player or drummer is also cognizant of the song form & adds a dramatic fill or crescendo at the end of an 8 or 16 bar section.  Not only does it let the other members know where you are in the tune, it makes the performance more musical for the listeners.  Everyone knows, "Here comes the end of this section!  Get ready for the next!"


All great performers do this as a matter of craftsmanship.  In some cases it's so automated, or ingrained in their subconscious that it seems instinctual.  They don't even have to talk about it.   They've done that sort of thing for so long it just happens naturally.  But it is a learned art. 


So, to answer your question, the responsibilities of the players don't change.  It remains the same:  everyone is supposed to know the tune ahead of time.  It's just that in a 3 piece it becomes more obvious if someone or everyone doesn't know the tune!  More members means it's easier to hide a weak link!


Learn the tune to the point that it doesn't matter if someone else screws up.  You can keep playing confidently & hopefully they are listening & will be able to jump back in following your lead. It's a natural & necessary part of becoming a better musician.


Hope that helps!


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 2
Gray Dude
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Joined: 06/27/19
Posts: 20
Gray Dude
Registered User
Joined: 06/27/19
Posts: 20
06/02/2023 8:19 pm
#2 Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel

You have to know the tune.  Everyone in the band has to know the tune.  It has to be totally committed to memory by everyone so you can focus on performing in the moment.


This is one reason that playing blues tunes is a good idea for guitar players in formative years.  There is a solid, predictable set of chord changes over a set amount of bars.  You can do the same thing with pop, country, jazz, rock tunes.  But the same thing has to happen.  You play the tune so many times that it becomes automated, it's second nature, you don't have to count all the time, or worry about getting lost.


This is also why it's so important to play lines that target chord tones & form melodic phrases.  You are playing the form of the song & making statements that outline the song form so the lead lines & the chord changes are all integrated.


It helps if the bass player or drummer is also cognizant of the song form & adds a dramatic fill or crescendo at the end of an 8 or 16 bar section.  Not only does it let the other members know where you are in the tune, it makes the performance more musical for the listeners.  Everyone knows, "Here comes the end of this section!  Get ready for the next!"


All great performers do this as a matter of craftsmanship.  In some cases it's so automated, or ingrained in their subconscious that it seems instinctual.  They don't even have to talk about it.   They've done that sort of thing for so long it just happens naturally.  But it is a learned art. 


So, to answer your question, the responsibilities of the players don't change.  It remains the same:  everyone is supposed to know the tune ahead of time.  It's just that in a 3 piece it becomes more obvious if someone or everyone doesn't know the tune!  More members means it's easier to hide a weak link!


Learn the tune to the point that it doesn't matter if someone else screws up.  You can keep playing confidently & hopefully they are listening & will be able to jump back in following your lead. It's a natural & necessary part of becoming a better musician.


Hope that helps!

Thanks Chris!  I will take you advice and apply it.  One obvious issue was using a tablet to help me remember some of my songs 😳.  I will make sure I have them memorized!


# 3
ChristopherSchlegel
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Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,427
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,427
06/03/2023 1:36 pm
#3 Originally Posted by: Gray Dude

Thanks Chris!  I will take you advice and apply it.  One obvious issue was using a tablet to help me remember some of my songs 😳.  I will make sure I have them memorized!

You're welcome!  Using a tablet, or sheet music, or notes can be a good reminder to fall back on, or to cue your memory, but it really has to be memorized.


The biggest problem I have when playing in a 3 piece is that I'm usually the vocalist.  And I rarely lose my place in the song, but sometimes can't remember all the lyrics!   So, sometimes I just repeat a verse.  Whichever one I can remember at the time!  Or just make up some lyrics on the fly.  😄


Christopher Schlegel
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# 4
Rumble Walrus
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Joined: 12/30/20
Posts: 501
Rumble Walrus
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Joined: 12/30/20
Posts: 501
06/08/2023 11:19 pm

I remember seeing a video of Rod Stewart (pre-disco) openly singing from a cheat sheet


# 5

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