Power trio: tips for thicken the tone on leads

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by Rachmaninoff, Nov 5, 2016.

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  1. Rachmaninoff

    Rachmaninoff Amateur porn actor

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    I'm playing in a power trio (guitar + bass + drums). I notice that during lead soloing, there's a huge empty space in the mix, that should be fitted by the rhythm guitar.

    The first idea I had was to give the bass more attack, or even a distortion pedal to be used during leads. But unfortunately the bassist is stupid as a door, so I'm trying to solve this all by myself first.

    I added a big delay on my lead tone, but it seems that it's not enough... does anyone have any experience playing in a power trio? Any suggestions?
     
  2. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    Define: "bassist is stupid as a door". Is he unwilling to change tones/add distortion for the benefit of the band?
    Distortion for the bass could help. You can only add so much delay and reverb to your solo before it gets lost and distant.
    Loopers could help. If you're soloing over a repeated section, try looping it before the solo. You could use a laptop with a DAW to record a guitar part for the solo and trigger it via MIDI or something like it during those sections.
     
  3. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Look at how other bands accomplish filling the space, and try their methods.

    Loopers and bass dirt definitely help.
     
  4. Rachmaninoff

    Rachmaninoff Amateur porn actor

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    First I tried to suggest him to tweak his bass to have, at least, more attack. He said he couldn't, that the way his bass sounds. Apparently he prefers to lurk in the background, where his mistakes pass unnoticeable.

    Second, we tried an overdrive pedal. He couldn't tweak it; I did. Then he simply could not step on the damn pedal without losing his sync or stop altogether. So he gave up the pedal, because it was "too complicated".

    Yep, I'm trying to find live recordings of power trios on YouTube. The Winery Dogs absolutely nail this.
     
  5. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands greg rulz ok

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    A looper could help a lot. Veil Of Maya is a one-guitar band, and I believe Marc uses a big-ass Boss looper to help make their live sound bigger.
     
  6. pullingstraws

    pullingstraws SS.org Regular

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    If you're trying to get the leads to sound a little bigger maybe you could use a pitch shifter.
    Find a pedal that would let you blend in an octave up or octave down with the dry signal. If you keep the effect subtle, it could help out.

    Also, using modulation effects like chorus or a flanger could work, too.
    It could widen out your lead tone depending on how you use the settings.
     
  7. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    Your bass player sounds incompetent. Glenn Fricker would not be surprised.
     
  8. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    ... what kind of sound are you trying to achieve? I play in a power trio with heavy dense sound and I don't find trouble in filling the empty space of the rhythm guitar. We decided that the bass and guitar lines should be independent, so the sound density grows a lot. Lately I've been very lazy carrying my stuff to rehearsals and I've been playing with the studio's amp only. Bassist keeps using his board with FXs. Once in a while I tell him to raise the bass sound a bit so it can be heard between my shops and the drummer's beats, still, no problem filing the emptiness (none to be aware of). In the end, it is all a matter of balance and compromise between what we project for the sound to be like and what we can do with what we have on hands (companions included)...

    If you and the drummer feel like the band isn't progressing because of that, speak to the bassist. He either adapts or goes home / gets replaced. Evolution and responding to pears needs is part of life.

    I don't know what your rig is, but a stereo signal does wonders for big tone. Could be achieved by several ways, like a split at the speaker end with 2 different speakers cabs (kind of a fake stereo), or earlier in the sound chain on the FX post preamp, using a stereo power amp, or even earlier with 2 separate amps and FX chains. Options like Wet - Dry - Wet are also suitable to thicken the sound a lot.
     
  9. pkgitar

    pkgitar SS.org Regular

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    If the dude can't step on a pedal twice during a song he needs to get that sh.. right.
    Backing tracks nowadays. Last time I saw them he was panned left and a BT right. Sounds ....ing massive, but I think he's stopped looping. Correct me if I'm wrong, though.
     
  10. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    You can hear them too?!
     
  11. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Sounds like your bassist needs to put the time in regardless.

    I dunno how often you gig, but not adjusting settings because the current ones mask mistakes would not fly.
     
  12. Bloody_Inferno

    Bloody_Inferno Silence is Violence

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    The dirt pedal option is the most simplest solution of the lot. It shouldn't be too complicated stepping on it twice every song. There's always leaving it on all the time, a la Jack Bruce, Billy Sheehan and Lemmy if it's too complicated. You'll have to adjust your tone accordingly though.

    The other alternatives:

    Elaborate bass lines underneath the solo. By far the cheapest solution, it costs nothing but more practice time for the bassist. All the power trios of the 60s/70s (the power trio golden age) did this.

    Keyboard/synth Pedals: aka the Rush method. You add synth pads in real time. It's a complex solution that'll set you back and requires plenty of metal thought from whoever activates them (usually the bassist) but the payoff is worth it. Of course from your posts, this isn't a viable option.

    Loop pedals, as already stated. Depending on your music, you can either record rhythms in real time prior to solo (VOM, King Of The North and Adrian Belew), or have them pre-recorded and trigger them yourself. Of course this requires precise timing from the drummer, in which case if you're not already, you'll need click tracks or...

    Backing tracks. Take this option and you don't need the looper anymore. Your drummer will take this responsibility as he has to trigger them all and count the band in.

    At the very least, your bassist still needs to bring on his A game.
     
  13. crankyrayhanky

    crankyrayhanky SS.org Regular

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    If your bass player is what he is, then try crafting solos that are very structured with plenty of chording/arpeggios that relate to the tune; only occasional flurries if that makes sense
     
  14. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    Think of it as an opportunity to make your lead tone as thick and massive as possible without having to worry about it getting lost with another guitar - try a wet/dry* setup so you can have masses of delay/reverb/whatever the hell you want while still having your dry tone cut through.

    *If at this point you're thinking "only TWO amps?!?", you're dead right, make it wet/dry/wet.


    edit: sorry thread, I've just noticed someone said this already, I'm going back in my hole
     
  15. Dantas

    Dantas SS.org Regular

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    As a bass player in a instrumental metal trio, I would suggest the bass player to turn on the overdrive and play chords when you play the leads. I play this way in my band when it's necessary, and it helps to beef up the overall sound. The guitar player also uses the looper function of his Flashback X4 to do some extra layers of guitar.

    I play with a pick, and I generally strum the chords around the last frets to get a more warm and rounded sound, or I play the chords closer to the bridge to get a bright sound with more attack....it just depends for what the music needs at the moment.

    But if the bass player can't turn on a pedal without losing synch with the band, I guess you have a bigger problem :squint:
     
  16. JumpingInFire

    JumpingInFire SS.org Regular

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    I agree . . . :lol:

    I would suggest a new bass player willing to practice his or her instrument.

    The bass should be able to fill the void left once you start soloing.

    If he thinks a drive pedal is too complicated then I think you aren't going to get the sound you want without another layer of guitars (looper, backing track, 2nd guitarist).
     
  17. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

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    If this is a band goal, then your bass player doesn't sound as though he is willing to be a team player.

    I think this is the bigger issue at hand.

    In an ideal situation, every band member inspires one another, and you'll never hear UN-affirming words exit the lips of each member when mentioning one another.

    Resolve this issue, the rest will fall into place naturally, and you'll all inspire, challenge, and bring out the best in one another.
     
  18. Science_Penguin

    Science_Penguin SS.org Regular

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    Sounds like it's either find a new bassist, insist that the current bassist change his tone, or... do the Axel Rudi Pell thing, and make all your solos the part of the song where things slow down and get all quiet and moody.
     
  19. Element0s

    Element0s Low Fantasy/Black Denim

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    I'm in the "fix yer bassist" camp. Try to get him to open up his playing a bit with chords, more interesting/active bass lines during your lead breaks, maybe a dirt box will help too. If he's unable/unwilling to give any of this a serious shot then you'll probably have to make a tough decision.
     
  20. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I've done the power trio thing for decades. Always me and two other musicians. I find it incredibly efficient and also a lot of fun.

    In any power trio, there is a lot of room for everyone to spread out. You don't have to worry about person A being able to play riff 1, or harmonizing with lick 21, or whatever bull.... you have to worry about in a 4/5-piece. Also, there is a lot of time to fill with solos and a lot of otherwise empty sonic space for each member to fill.

    That said, there is really no room for slackers. Period. Power trios work if you have a solid roster. If your bassist is in the mindset of "the rhythm guitar will do xyz..." then he needs to forget about his approach or else he needs to be replaced.

    I've struggled a couple of times with complaints that something sounded thin during a guitar solo at rehearsal. My canned response is "then do something more interesting." How many power trios can you think of that had weak-ass bassists? Rush? Primus? Sublime? Green Day? The Police? Cream? Jimi Hendrix Experience?! No, power trios almost invariably have kickass bass players, and the few that didn't tended to hire stage musicians to make up for that fact.

    My philosophy is that if you are a bass player because you want to thunk away at one to four root notes over the course of a song, you should have tried to take up cowbell or the triangle instead. Bass is an instrument that requires more precise timing and technique than guitar, and has a lot more to offer in terms of the number of techniques and styles required to handle an entire set's worth of performance.

    Likewise with your solos, though. If your solos start to get boring, then you will more readily lose your audience.

    On the other hand, you don't have to worry about another guitarist in the band getting the brilliant idea that he's going to take this solo without rehearsing it that way, or whatever.

    If the musicality is not all there, I don't think there is a tone you can achieve to fix the problem. It's like putting cinnamon and sugar on burnt toast, yeah, it'll technically taste better, but it doesn't matter, since it'll still taste burnt either way. Grab another slice of bread and try again, instead, and you'll be much happier in the long run.
     

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