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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Playing classic country tunes in a trio setting

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by McGlamRock, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Friend of Leo's

    Jun 30, 2007
    Swanton Ohio
    Oh yeah, Hell yeah..The bass makes it or breaks it..For about 3 years I had my son on bass..It was like our asses were wired together..He grew up listening to me so He always knew what was needed..
    I had a thing that I would do a lot..I'd sing a verse with only the bass and drums behind me..Kinda broke things up a bit..
    Then of course I would only have bass and drums when I went on the harp..
  2. stinkey

    stinkey Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 4, 2010
    malmö sweden
    What about using a looper pedal the first time you play the verse? And then engage it during your solo.
  3. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2016
    You could use a Drum Machine and a Rythym Guitar Machine.
  4. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

    we are getting dangerously close to 'hire a dj'
  5. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2016
    If you have DJs that bring along a singer, bass player and guitar player, it’d be real close.
  6. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    In my opinion, the bass player is nearly always the "make or break" link in any band. A poor bass player will bring down the best drummer or guitarist.....likewise, a GOOD bass player can elevate and "make gel" a mediocre ensemble....maybe not to Grammy-winning standards, but certainly a good bar-band level.
    2 Headed Goat, Guran, Tony474 and 2 others like this.
  7. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

    soooo karaoke....
    Dennyf and nojazzhere like this.
  8. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2016
    Doesn’t seem to fit the Karaoke definition.
  9. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

    I'll defer to your greater knowledge of Karaoke! I figured, backing tracks by software, then people playing and singing along with backing track = karoake!
  10. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2016
    Another definition.... A musical Trio would be 3 musicians or could be 3 singers. Trio definition doesn’t seem to fit for 2 musicians and a singer. But 3 normal people could be a trio.
  11. Totally_Tod

    Totally_Tod Tele-Meister

    Jul 23, 2018
    Los Angeles, Ca
    He always has the best guitarists!!
    bottlenecker likes this.
  12. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 9, 2008
    S. CA
    Nothing small or empty sounding about Hot Club of Cowtown to me, and they doing without a drummer.

  13. Tony474

    Tony474 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 16, 2007
    North Bushey, England.
    All I can tell you is that my regular outfit amounts to the world’s smallest trio, as there are only two of us: me on guitar and lead vocal, my bass-player of 30+ years with some BVs and my old but highly effective Roland TR505 drum machine. The latter contains patterns carefully set up by me to be as close as possible to what a real drummer would play. This was possible because I play drums as well, but obviously can’t do that and play guitar at the same time. In my experience not many people can set up a drum machine properly. With one single exception we use pattern play only with no pre-programmed tracks.

    However, this doesn’t address the original question. We play not only Country but a variety of other stuff besides. I never ever use a capo. i generally avoid flat keys; if it’s originally in Ab, it’ll work in A or G. I do one or two songs in Eb and a couple or three in F, but I know how to make them work and I choose keys to suit my voice.

    I don’t quite know how to describe the techniques I use. Not often pure rhythm, but a blend of chordal work interspersed with single-note and interval fills. When it comes to solos I can rely on my bass-player to underpin my playing and give me something for the single-string or hybrid-picked lines to sit on.

    All of the above may well be as much use to you as a chocolate fireguard, but all I can tell you is that it is possible to create a creditably full sound with a minimum complement of players simply by adapting technique to suit the line-up. In fact I’m so used to working this way now that when occasionally in a bigger band I tend to be a little too busy and have to lay back a bit.
  14. Brokenpick

    Brokenpick Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 29, 2008
    Sorry. 'Twas the OPs term "empty" that I referred to.
    Included in my attempt at a suggestion was the notion of keeping the guitar solo not too long - which 'Cowtown did with that very skillful 15 seconds of picking. (Where the fiddle even helped out with some rhythm.) But yup. If ya stick to fast paced, swingin', old time stringband style, and have 3-part harmony, and the singer playing fiddle, and all three instruments sharing a similar nearly acoustic range of sound, it'll be easier.
    Lotsa great country picking trios out there, some without drums.
    Drums can be nice though.
    OP was asking about some challenges and suggestions.
    But for those trios already good enough that Jimmy Capps sits out when ya play....... you probably have your act tightened up OK!
    screamin eagle likes this.
  15. stringslinger

    stringslinger Tele-Holic

    Mar 22, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Here is a simple solution. What you're feeling is all mental. And we've all been there. I used to do jazz duo gigs with just upright bass and I felt the same. It's all in our heads to be honest. I call it "rocker's mindset." Meaning we are wanting to ALWAYS FEEL this low-end driving rhythm. And if that isn't there, we feel the need to fill that space. It's mental. If you play like the space isn't empty, as if you're imagining that driving pulse is there, it won't come across that way to your listener. Think if you were just an A Capella singer.

    Also, I think with this specific line-up NOT every song will work as well, at least until you add drums. You said you are hanging on the 6th and 5th strings as your rhythm? Move up! Bass is covering the low stuff, so don't worry about that. Unless it's a specific rockabilly/blues riff sort of song, most country songs want the full chords.

    Until drums are added, just guitar and bass are always going to be mellower sound. So play to those strengths. You can't rock out as you would in a full band.
    McGlamRock, nojazzhere and Faceman like this.
  16. Random1643

    Random1643 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Mar 11, 2015
    Upper Midwest
    Well, McGlam, I hope you get your situation figured out. In the meantime you've spawned an interesting and informative thread. I'm learning a lot.
    McGlamRock and JL_LI like this.
  17. Faceman

    Faceman TDPRI Member

    Aug 15, 2018
    Lots of great points here. I played in a country band for 12 years playing mostly traditional country and some 80s and 90s. We all sang and in some cases, the record or the person singing the song would end up in an odd key.

    The use of a capo really depended on the tune. If I had to cover a more acoustic oriented song that focused on a jangley type rhythm with open sounding melodic solos, I'd go for the capo.

    If I had to cover fiddle, pedal steel or piano parts...I would not use the capo, to open up my options. Sometimes you need to go to a flat 5th or a low flat 7th note and you can't make that sound right with a capo.

    Just what worked for me. Hope that helps.
    McGlamRock likes this.
  18. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    Jun 1, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    Thanks for all the input. It's giving me a lot to think about when I'm practicing.

    Tonight, it's me the singer, and a bass player again. I think my problem has been that I'm not being dynamic enough (heavy right hand) and adding fills too much.

    Tonight, my goal is to play lighter on rhythm (on the 4th 3rd and 2nd strings mostly) and not use too many fills. Maybe use one going into choruses and a couple more on the 2nd verse?
    getbent likes this.
  19. stringslinger

    stringslinger Tele-Holic

    Mar 22, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Good luck! Enjoy the space, don't stress about it!
    McGlamRock likes this.
  20. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    Jun 1, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    So the bass player and I got together, just the two of us on Saturday- what a productive practice!
    Working out the arrangements together is really improving how we sound. For myself, just being more familiar with the tunes, and knowing what the bass player is doing is helping my playing a lot.
    I think the singer is really going to enjoy our rehearsal next week :)
    suthol, Guran and getbent like this.
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