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I deal with the same on a regular basis. Here are some ideas that may be applicable, depending on the type of music you're playing.
- instead of single note solos, try utilizing more dyads
- chordal solos that restate the melody give a different feel
- if the solo is in E, A, D, G, or B, try utilizing that open string as a drone in the solo
- if the solo is in E, A, D, G, or B, try using hammer-ons and pull-offs in your solo as a connector to different phrasing
- you can always try scat singing the notes of the solo as you play them on the guitar (if you're playing blues, jazz, or soul), though I don't think this would work as well on Sabbath's "Fairies Wear Boots"
- have your bass player and drummer develop a slightly busier groove during the solo, and you just play single whole notes...adding delay or reverb with this can help
- you can use a delay pedal with tap tempo delay and stagger the delay to something like a dotted quarter note or a quarter note, which will yield some interesting repeat lines that become intertwined with the current line being played
- you can always bring the volume down, comp chords with a full sound on the neck pickup, and have the bassist play a solo...or even the drummer...
- you can try playing harmonica with one of those harmonica holders that you wear 'round your neck...I am trying to learn that right now and it's incredibly difficult, but will be worth it in the long run
- you could always just sing another verse, or maybe have the rhythm section bring the volume down, hold the I chord, and talk to your crowd...crowds love interaction
Play in a trio and i'm the guitar player. Rhythm sounds good, but suffer a big drop out when soloing. Solutions?
Can you expand on your question with a few more details? Are you asking how to boost the level when playing a solo or are you looking for some suggestions on EQing that will help it cut through the mix?
As others have mentioned, you have to recognize that single-note solos are going to sound a bit thin....so use more chord-y type stuff than you might otherwise use.
And don't be afraid to dump the solo and just continue playing rhythm. You'll find that most of the time, the only people who really care about guitar solos are other guitarists. So unless you're playing to a room of musicians, solos are purely optional.
Finally....have you ever tried splitting your signal and running two amps side-by-side? Using two separate amps with different voicings gives you the best qualities of both amps and makes the guitar sound incredibly huge....almost like two guitars playing in perfect unison. (I've messed around with running a Marshall JCM800 and Fender Bassman side-by-side, and was absolutely blown away at the sound.) It's more gear to haul around, and you need to be prepared to deal with ground loops....but it'll sound bigger and thicker than any single amp can sound.
One of the power trio bands I've done sound for runs two different amps on the guitar at once. It sounds great BUT you have to put one in each side of the PA or it sounds like crap . I'd not recommend it unless you have a BE and even then probably not.
have you verified the emptiness by recording your band or are you just going by your feelings while playing onstage? I sometimes feel the same way until I go out front and listen or listen to recordings. Bewyond that, there could be a lot of reasons and/or solutions to help minimize it. Maybe you are playing too loud on your rhythms and/or not loud and fat enough on your leads. You also have to choose what you play in your solos based on it being a trio. Does your bass player do anything to help fill in during ther leads? Same with the drummer. What do you use to boost and fatten your leads?
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Thanks guys. I'm going to try a combination of your suggestions. Reverb, delay and roll off the gain. I'm also going to talk to the bassist and drummer to see what they can do to help make everything sound better. This is the first time i've played as the only guitarist in a band. I'm also relatively new to playing electric guitar, being primarily a folk based acoustic player previously. I'm kind of in the dark about a lot of this stuff. You have all been most helpful. I will post an update on my progress with this issue.
Billy Gibbons, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robbie Kreiger, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck all managed to have a full sound in a one guitar band. It comes down to the arrangement of the song that makes the difference. Work it out with the other members as to how to fill in the bare spots.