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Sounding good w/ two guitarists?


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  • Sounding good w/ two guitarists?

    I've played in this three piece indie rock outfit for two years now. It was with this band I started understanding how to make a band sound good through what I play, and how what I play sounds. About what works and what doesn't, as far as over-all sound goes. But everything I know is case-specific to the band. I play a Gretsch Electromatic really loud through a Super Reverb and it works. It fills out the sound very well.

    Anyway, I've been jamming a bit with my drummer (who plays guitar - and plays it very well) and working out a few songs, strumming on acoustics whenever we get together. Tonight we put our gear together and played them at normal levels (as in, not quietly on acoustics). It was awful.

    He was playing some Epi SG through a Fender Bandmaster Reverb, and I was playing like I usually do - Gretsch Electromatic through my Super Reverb. Everything sounded so mushy, or muddy or something. It wasn't what we were actually playing - it sounded fine on acoustics. It's just we were clashing tonally.

    I was just wondering if you guys have ever experienced this and had any insight on the way guitars interact with one another and how to adjust them to interact in a complemetary way. Things both guitarists should consider when EQing .. cutting through .. I don't know. Just how to sound good live with two guitarists.


    - Bobby.

  • #2

    Like I said in the other post, I`ve been doing this stuff for years. Even had a band with three guitarists. (incidentally we also had a keyboardist and a horn-section.) It can be done if you arrange the music properly.
    ^ It`s just IMO. Keep your panties on.

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    • #3
      I agree with AS200. Arrangement is the key to this, but getting the physics right makes it possible.

      - Make sure your amps are facing the same way (with distance between them), not straight at each other
      - Adjust your EQ so that they're different, but leave space for the vocals
      - Careful not to over-use reverb

      This way you should both be able to hear exactly what's going on and concentrate on arranging the parts and playing off each other.

      Hope that helps crisp things up.


      • #4
        If you were using distortion, the overtones could be clashing.

        Electric and acoustic guitars are different instruments, and what works on one doesn't always work on the other. Maybe one of you should strum and the other should play a lead, or one of you should play on the bass strings and the other should play little rhythmic chinks up the neck on the off beats.
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        • #5
          I am in a 3 gtr band and we find that muddiness is only a problem if we all start cranking up the FX. Chorus / reverb tends to be the worst culprits. Delays / OD / wah / phaser are OK... but not at the same time! We tend to use FX sparingly just intros / outros and often leave the patch adjustment of them to each other. I personally use far fewer effects now because of this.

          It's rare that all 3 of us play the same thing at the same time. Try different chord voicings, capoing one gtr, playing inversions or stop-start riffs that you share. Save the unison playing for those big outro choruses.
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          • #6
            I play in a two guitar band and the effects clash that red_riviera was talking about is the the likley problem. The chorus and delay are the main culprits.
            Sigs are silly


            • #7
              I play in a band w/ two guitars. I play electric, and another guys plays acoustic. I find that the combo of these two sounds works very well together... I find the easiest way to not clash is to ensure you are both playing different, but complementing musical ideas...if one of us is strumming the other is playing a lead... or one person plays low bassy cords while the other strums notes high on the neck... or we just ensure that if we are playing the same cords that our rhythms are dead on....but I guess there is less tonal clashing w/ an electric and acoustic... I find the acoustic just compliments my playing....


              • #8
                Originally posted by koiwoi

                - Make sure your amps are facing the same way (with distance between them), not straight at each other

                Interesting. Just the guitar amps, or the bass amp and p.a. speakers as well?


                • #9
                  i play in a two guitar heavy metal band. a two guitar blues band and a classical guitar fx with solid body electrics.....the reverb is probably your culprit....fx ok on solo's but try to stay fxless when playing other passages with each other..dont over saturate the sound and you should be ok......btw would like to hear what your doing...must be nice to have a drummer that knows what your doin


                  • #10
                    Well, ya`ll gotta have good ears. If your not listening to whats happening and try to fit in, without steppin` on the other players, you`ll sound like crap. Doesn`t matter if its two guitars, or keys and guitar, etc. Ya gotta listen to the band, and play accordingly. Thats the diff between a seasoned player, and a jammer.

                    old age and treachery shall overcome youth and skill.



                    • #11
                      there was no problem..the other dude was like yngwie...and i emulate my there was no clash ar all
                      i wish i was mo'betta


                      • #12
                        I find it helps a lot using two differing guitar types - like one humbucker equipped guitar & one Fender style. I guess this similar to deliberately contrasting EQ's. I am in a band with two acoustic players. I find a Telecaster compliments the acoustics very well. I generally keep my playing to accent chords, choppy chords & lead breaks, while they strum. Works pretty good! I'm the only one using effects, so the sound doesn't become muddled.


                        • #13
                          "I play a Gretsch Electromatic really loud through a Super Reverb and it works."

                          You played really loud in your three piece band, and you probably had bass, guitar, and drums - so there would be no muddiness. If you are playing comparably loud with your friend with two guitars, you might be too loud for the room you're in, and getting a lot of reflected sound, which will muddy things up.

                          All the suggestions above are good. Arrange the songs for two guitars and play complementary parts, limit use of effects, arrange the amps, use contrasting types of guitars. Remember that acoustic guitars don't sustain like electrics, and what sounds good played together by two acoustics may clash and annoy on two loud electrics. Use of one acoustic, if the music is amenable, is a good choice.
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                          • #14
                            I need to start getting into this mentality.Im hopefully getting a band together with another guitarist from the office and i need to tweak my style to suit a 2 guitar setup.I write songs every week or so but playing on my own, they're obviously based around 1 guitar.

                            On the plus side, i'll prefer to provide the main thump of clean/bluesy/lead sounds and he's a fan of effects (im not against them but im not bothered to use any at the moment) so maybe he will be able to add little chord stabs and atmospheric type effects to add character to songs, looking forward to it anyway
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tedddy

                              Interesting. Just the guitar amps, or the bass amp and p.a. speakers as well?
                              If you're talking about a gig, the whole lot should be facing the same way. The bass amp doesn't really matter much, because really low frequencies aren't directional like treble.

                              I was originally referring to rehearsals. There is a tendancy for bands to circle around and face each other, so that you end up hearing the rest of the band more than yourself and the sound can really muddy-up quickly. Also, if you practice this way you're more likely to be subconsciously relying on visual cues from the other members. When you get onstage facing the audience you may find that you get lost without them.

                              The ideal rehearsal space would be big enough to set the band up just like at a gig, but facing a mirrored wall. Extremely revealing and helpful. We did this when I was in a funk band in the 80's and it greatly improved our stage presence.