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Playing classic country tunes in a trio setting

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

  1. RCinMempho

    RCinMempho Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 8, 2003
    Maryville, TN
    My only comment is yes to the various approaches. With the limited instrumentation, you need to seize on more than one approach in order to have any variation in your sound from song to song.

    One song you may do almost all fills and solos.

    The next song you might do cowboy chord rhythm all the way through. Don't shy away from playing chords for a solo. All you may need is a little clever rhythmic work or some starts and stops. Or let the bass player walk it double time. Don't assume you can't bang away chords for a solo. You can, and you should - on a few songs.

    Then you may do a rock song with a 5th and 6th string riff. That's fine. Just grab those Chuck Berry double and triple stops during the solo to give it some girth.

    One thing that might not have been mentioned is abusing something like chord-melody jazz work. If you can do some degree of that, then a few solos based on that type of thing can really be beautiful. You don't have to improvise them. Work them out and put them in the can.

    You may even find a song or two where it is just the bass playing and you do percussion only on the guitar. That is certainly a way to insert a bass solo and it works well for a lot songs.

    Good luck. It's a lot of fun.
  2. RCinMempho

    RCinMempho Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 8, 2003
    Maryville, TN
    One thing I forgot. On an acoustic you can often let open strings ring. If you are in the key of D you can use stings 1,2,3 for all kinds of double/triple stops and let that D string ring. It will come across as a keyboard type of chordal wash. When you change to the A chord, mute that D string and let the A ring. The G string the same way. The E string, same way for other keys. Cheat. Cheat. Cheat!
  3. Special Tom

    Special Tom Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Nov 5, 2013
    Mobile, AL
    I'm moving to Marin City around the first of the year--play guitar. How far are you from there?
  4. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    Update, so "we" (the singer, the bassist and me) are starting to sound pretty darn good.

    Everyone being more comfortable with the song forms and anticipating where the vocals rest is helping me a lot. I'm also trying to be more dynamic, and not play with such a heavy right hand (until I have a solo).

    I also found this book in the back of my closet, "Best in the West" . It starts off with very basic stuff, but later on there are some pretty nice licks that I've been borrowing.

    We're trying out a pedal steel player next week. He wants to play these 5:

    Two More Bottle of Wine
    Blue Bayou
    Angel From Montgomery
    He Still Thinks I Care
    Mama Tried
    Tony474 likes this.
  5. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    Depends on bridge traffic, but maybe 20- 30 minutes. Marin county is pretty big, so I guess it also depends on which part of Marin. Are you a country guitar teacher?
  6. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Holic

    Mar 23, 2003
    Midland TX
    I did the trio thing for a VERY long time, both on guitar and bass. When on 6 string, one thing I did was have a tap tempo delay handy for rides, dialed with the blend so you know it was there but not featured. Slow moving modulation effects like phase, trem, were just out, as the lead voice disappears for a moment.

    Doghouse bass seems perfectly EQ’d for trio work. Finding something real close to that on electric really helps think
  7. Leon Grizzard

    Leon Grizzard Friend of Leo's

    Mar 8, 2006
    Austin, Texas
    Takes a lotta vocal range for Blue Bayou.
    McGlamRock likes this.
  8. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    A capo is fine, some songs no capo works better. But you do need to get used to the "space" for sure. It will improve your playing. Talking about space, I do a duo with only a singer sometimes, that is hard work. It changes everything you do! I never miss drums. But sure miss a bass!
  9. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    This gal has one heck of a voice!

    I haven't been this excited about putting a band together for a while. The bass player and I love this singer's voice, and she likes the way we play!
    If we get a steel player and a drummer in the mix, we're going to have something good.
  10. Leon Grizzard

    Leon Grizzard Friend of Leo's

    Mar 8, 2006
    Austin, Texas
  11. Special Tom

    Special Tom Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Nov 5, 2013
    Mobile, AL
    Not a country teacher but it's my favorite music and I could probably give you some pointers if you're just starting out. I have taught only 2 students. One was the late Matt Roberts of 3DD. He was about 15 at the time. He came for 2 lessons, so I say 2 lessons from me and you can be a rock star. Matt's mother baby sat for our two boys on occasion.

    Adding a pedal steel will set you apart and give you an authentic traditional sound.

    My wife is already in CA. She's working at Marin General hospital. She has an apartment near there. I will be retiring at the end of the year and heading that way. I will maintain dual citizenship, Alabama and CA--we have a house in Mobile.

    We used to play Blue Bayou and 2 More bottles of wine in a band I was in back in the 80s. That intro and lead on 2 more bottles is great. Will you be doing that or your own licks? I don't remember it exactly but Ken Carlson does a good lesson on that song
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  12. tonyp145

    tonyp145 Tele-Meister

    Sep 19, 2010
    Kent, WA
    This has been such a good informative thread, thank you everybody for your comments and the OP for posting. I just wanted to add that I once saw Michael Hedges play solo, not country obviously, but the thing that was striking was his propulsive sense of rhythm. You could feel it in everything he played. Because of that you never felt like the music was empty or lacking. Hope that's helpful.
    McGlamRock likes this.
  13. cnlbb

    cnlbb Tele-Holic

    Jun 19, 2014
    United States
    Ain't no reason the bassist can't also be playing drums.

    ndcaster likes this.
  14. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    That's pretty close to me... send me a message when you get in town.

    We're doing Emmlou's Quarter Moon... version of 2 More Bottles, so the intro's pretty easy. I'm trying to do Albert Lee's riffs going into the solo, and at the very end of the song, but other than that I'm making it up as I go.
  15. Special Tom

    Special Tom Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Nov 5, 2013
    Mobile, AL
    Ken Carlson does a pretty good lesson on Lee's break and lead. If you don't have it down by the time I get there I have access to his lessons. I remember when we did it it took our drummer quite a while to nail the break down. I played the break pretty close to correct notes and timing but kinda did mostly my own lead. That's one of the great things about country music--plenty of places to do your own arrangements. The intro I was thinking about is Martina's. Delbert's version is different all together--horns. Good luck on putting this together. If you happen to audition some people that may not fit your group please hang on to the contact info in case I decide to give it a go.
    McGlamRock likes this.
  16. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    So the group tried out a drummer and pedal steel player last night. It was a lot of fun! I think both are going to continue playing with us. So now it's a quintet:
    vocals, guitar, bass, drums, and pedal steel

    It definitely sounded like a group that hasn't played together before, but there were some good moments on all 7 songs. I'll count that as a win.

    Adding the pedal steel and the drums it feels like I barely need to play compared with what I was working up when I started this thread.

    I'll still work up leads, so that I can play these songs in a trio setting, but I think we'll be ready to play shows much faster with a larger group. And IMO we will also sound more authentic.
  17. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    So about 20 minutes after I posted yesterday about the 2 new members to the group and becoming a quintet, I found out we're down to 4.

    The pedal steel player doesn't want to commit to weekly rehearsals- which I get, it's a lot of work and he is already in a couple other groups.

    So next week we'll practice as vocals, bass, drums, and guitar. On the upside, I'm feeling better about leaving space and adding fills in the right spots. Maybe I'll post a recording next week
  18. Special Tom

    Special Tom Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Nov 5, 2013
    Mobile, AL
    Looking forward to the recording..Keep looking for a pedal steel player. I played a little steel back in the 80s mostly chords and a few simple fills. I had a MSA 3 pedal 2 levers basically a beginners model. After we moved from TN to MS my wife had a garage sale and got rid of it. I didn't get mad because I planned to get better model but I never did.
  19. Califiddler

    Califiddler Friend of Leo's

    Jan 21, 2005
    Are/were you playing acoustic or electric guitar in the trio?
    getbent likes this.
  20. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    I'm playing electric guitar; there's a drummer now too. So we have vocals, guitar, bass, and drums.
    I meant to make a quick recording earlier this week, but I got distracted:
    We are auditioning a backup singer/rhythm guitarist/keys player next week, and it sounds like he is really talented. The band all wants to be on our 'A game' when we play with him
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