Acoustic Trio - Optimal Instrumentation

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Knowcaster, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    4 string electric Mando, thru guitar effect pedals.

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  2. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    I play in an acoustic duo. My mate is vocalist and rhythm - he’s just a basic strummer on normal open chords. I play lead, and just generally add accents and little fills during verses/chorus’. We dabbled with the bass idea (used to be my prime instrument back in the day), but I just felt something lacked because his guitar playing is pretty basic. Would be better if he was proficient at bass so I could stretch out and fill things out on guitar both rhythmically and lead wise.

    Slowly but surely we constructed our songs to have complimentary guitar parts, so he can carry the rhythm and as mentioned I fill and do leads. We cover a huge range of material, and occasionally I will use my home made Strat for certain pieces just for a bit of interest. One great example is when we do Romeo and Juliet, I stop playing while he does the last verse piece, strap on my electric and join in with some tasty lead bits at the end of the song (based on the classic Knopfler lines), then segue into Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight.

    OP mentioned Tom Petty songs. Don’t get me started - we got on a real Tom rush after he passed and now have about 25 of his songs to choose from! :D The hard part is deciding which ones to use/not use, cos we want to play them all! :p

    Edit:- when we got into this a couple of years ago (my mate dragged me out of retirement from music), I was adamant about the fact that we would NOT be just two guys strumming the same stuff - there had to be contrasts!

    Double Edit:- I have to admit I would love to have some sort of timing beat behind us on certain things just to tighten things up a little, but we generally manage Ok. A bass player would be great too, but then we may as well just have a full on band. Lol.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
  3. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    If you can pat your foot, there are digital pedals that give a drum sound, snare, bass, etc.
     
  4. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Some friends have a band with guitar/banjo/lead vocals, flute/vocals, accordion/vocals, drums/vocals and cello. The cello adds some nice low melody as well as bass lines. The accordion goes fairly low as well. It's a nice mix.
     
  5. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm pretty certain there are no rules, your trio will live or die based on the songs you perform and how well you perform them. Not the instruments you use.

    adding a drum or bass may appear on the surface to be a good addition but at the end of the day it's always the songs and performances.

    I play a bunch of duo and trio gigs, sometimes I'm on dobro 100% , based on who else is playing, sometimes it's acoustic and a Tele, its the same songs though .

    Two guitars and a drum thing, sounds good to me as long as it's all in sync and not fighting for position or overdone.

    the best thing a duo or trio can have is two part or three part harmonies. EVERYONE recognizes this as a good thing.

    Grab the drum thing and go for it, have fun but just make it about the singing and songs first.
     
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  6. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    If you don’t like drum machines you can try a digital stomp pedal. Very small. If you want get 2, one person does kick the other does snare.



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  7. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    For my two man band, I built this digital Cajon for my percussionist, 8 velocity sensitive drum plates and 2 stomp plates. 500 digital drum sounds from the Alesis drum module. But soon after taught him to play bass.


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  8. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    While my optimal trio is kazoo, bagpips and accordion, I do have a more serious suggestion.

    Doubleneck bass and guitar for you. Widens the repertoire without adding an extra instrument or lengthening the time between songs.
     
  9. perttime

    perttime Tele-Afflicted

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    If one guitar player is strumming chords, the other one can usually be doing something else. Lead, riffs, fills, bass lines on guitar, something other than strumming.
     
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  10. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think you should go for it on the Bass.
    So long as you can keep your end of the Vocals while playing, it could be a very cool thing.
    I have a small Peavey Bass amp. Twenty watts tops, eight inch speaker, works great for the small spaces.
    You can always split the signal between the little amp and a PA with a direct box.
    ST
     
  11. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Meister

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    My acoustic trio is mostly acoustic (occasionally looped), upright bass and mandolin. Sometimes I switch to a resonator, sometimes keys...the Mando player sometimes switches to electric, sometimes I use an artificial kick drum. We can shoehorn but we have to plan ahead. I find I rarely like two acoustics, it's just too generic and too homogeneous...put somebody on a resonator, a baritone, a mandolin, a banjo, an electric...something else.
     
  12. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    image.jpeg
    Here you go, this little guy carries very well for small gigs and practices.
    Need more, use a direct box with it.
    I bought this guy used for $65.
    Have at it.
     
  13. RCinMempho

    RCinMempho Friend of Leo's

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    To me the ultimate is acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and electric bass.

    If you are concerned about a solid body electric bass look at Mike Masse and Jeff Hall on YouTube. It works for them. My duo is acoustic guitar and electric bass, but the bassist does prefer a hollow body bass.

    One other thing, the term "acoustic trio" and "acoustic duo" bother me. Why is that word necessary and what does it mean? Just be a duo or trio etc.

    EDIT TO ADD: In our acoustic guitar/electric bass duo, the bass sometimes steps completely out of traditional bass roles. For example, the echoing intro to Merle's SilverWings. He plays the melody and I echo it on guitar while still strumming. On Eastbound and Down half of the guitar solo goes to him. You have to look outside the box, but there are opportunities on certain songs.
     
  14. stephent2

    stephent2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm with you about adding more stuff to tote.

    One guitar player could focus on the bottom end, run some bass lines where it works and just stay chunky, work the E & A strings. You can imply the bass part and make it work.

    Mic the cajon in a way that gives you more bass drum, either w/ EQ or positioning.
     
  15. Anita Bonghit

    Anita Bonghit Tele-Meister

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    A djembe played with nylon brushes sounds really good, try it.
     
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