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Guitar/Vocal Duo???? #2121829 10/04/09 10:49 PM
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SteveC Offline OP
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I was playing a Taylor 214ce the other day just for fun and sent him the lead singer/guitar player in our cover band an email saying we should drop the other guys and do a duo so I'd have a reason to buy a sweet Taylor. (He has a 414ce I think.) Anyway, he replied all serious. So now I'm wondering if I should try this. I started on guitar long ago but found I liked bass. I must say that now that he seems serious, I am intrigued as playing guitar and singing harmony vocals would be a COMPLETE departure from what I am used to and my comfort zone.

Any thoughts or advice?

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Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: SteveC] #2121834 10/04/09 10:57 PM
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DanYmaL X Offline
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do it... any chance you get to extend your musical exposure is a good thing.
I find that I get a lot out of taking time off from bass to play guitar for a while, then when I come back to bass(ics) I always feel a little more 'refreshed' and approach things with a broader perspective.
I think it would be fun.

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PS do you really need a reason to buy a sweet Taylor, though???

Last edited by DanYmaL X; 10/04/09 10:58 PM.

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Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: DanYmaL X] #2121860 10/05/09 12:25 AM
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I've been here before... it's fun. Lots of freedom. You can think a lot harder (if you want) about what you play even if it's very simple stuff, rather than giving some of that decision making over to other people like a drummer.

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: 1111000] #2121929 10/05/09 09:15 AM
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Seamy ALB Offline
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My wife got me an acoustic guitar for my Birthday earlier this year and I've done about 10 gigs in this format ie acoustic duo. It is good fun, it feels very organic to take apart good songs and entertain an audience. Go for it.

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: DanYmaL X] #2121950 10/05/09 10:23 AM
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SteveC Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: DanYmaL X
PS do you really need a reason to buy a sweet Taylor, though???


No, they are incredible instruments. I hate to have one just sitting around the house without a purpose. My wife used to play and would like to pick it up again so I guess we could both get some use out of it.

I'm just a little nervous to put myself "out there" like that as it isn't in my personality to be a "front" guy in a band. I am much more comfortable playing bass in the background.

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: SteveC] #2121953 10/05/09 10:29 AM
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Whether or not you can handle it is up to you but those Taylor guitars are very nice and at the very least working out the chords in a song could still be helpful in working out bass lines.


Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.
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Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: b5pilot] #2122212 10/05/09 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted By: b5pilot
Whether or not you can handle it is up to you but those Taylor guitars are very nice and at the very least working out the chords in a song could still be helpful in working out bass lines.

Yeah... that's very true, it can only help! I try to practice as much as I can playing through my song list with both instruments, after an incident that happened a few years ago, in another lifetime. The band I was in had an outdoor gig at the local county fair and there was a freaky power problem on the stage we were scheduled on, so none of us wanted to plug any of our gear in... (people were getting shocked and a couple of amps had been fried...) so I ended up playing our complete set with a beat up, old, borrowed Yamaha 12 string acoustic guitar, bass lines and all, into a cheesy little PA with a 100' extension cord run into the closest building.. it was a pain in the butt at first but it ended up being a whole lot of fun and a great challenge... since then I always try to take time to play my songs on both bass and guitar. It's fun to try to chord and play your bass lines at the same time... and it really helps with your fingerpicking skills and dexterity.

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Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: SteveC] #2122509 10/06/09 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted By: SteveC
I'm just a little nervous to put myself "out there" like that as it isn't in my personality to be a "front" guy in a band. I am much more comfortable playing bass in the background.

Around here acoustic duos are quite popular (because they are less expensive for the venues to hire than a 4-piece).

If your buddy doesn't mind singing lead and playing leads for 4 hours then I'd say you'll pretty much stay in your comfort zone in the shadows.

However, I would strongly recommend that you at least sing lead on a few songs to give his voice (and the audience's ears) a rest. Get your feet wet by playing a few open mics, just you and your guitar. (Don't worry; nobody really listens at an open mic.)

I've seen a successful electric duo, too, guitar and bass. They just kept it low key through song choice, arrangement, keeping the volume down and sitting in chairs.

The duos that are most in demand are male/female. Obviously that lineup has the most potential variety.

Go ahead and give it a try. It'll be a lot of fun!

[I put my acoustic duo project on hold indefinitely because I wanted to split lead vocals 50/50 and don't have 2 hours of material I can lead on yet.]

Last edited by Eric Van Buren; 10/06/09 09:59 PM.
Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: Eric VB] #2122620 10/07/09 10:18 AM
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SteveC Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Eric Van Buren
Around here acoustic duos are quite popular (because they are less expensive for the venues to hire than a 4-piece).


My guy seems to think that there is a market for this kind of thing here as well. He does a solo thing but has found that people want more than a solo but less than our full band - hence the duo idea.

Originally Posted By: Eric Van Buren
If your buddy doesn't mind singing lead and playing leads for 4 hours then I'd say you'll pretty much stay in your comfort zone in the shadows.

However, I would strongly recommend that you at least sing lead on a few songs to give his voice (and the audience's ears) a rest.


I think he's fine singing lead. He is popular around here and people come to see him. I might be able/willing to try a few for variety sake.

Originally Posted By: Eric Van Buren
I've seen a successful electric duo, too, guitar and bass. They just kept it low key through song choice, arrangement, keeping the volume down and sitting in chairs.


This has crossed my mind. Haven't really discussed it yet. I think he thinks a guitar duo would be cool. We could do a little of each as well. I could play bass for some and guitar for some I suppose.

I think we'd do it sitting no matter what we decide.

Originally Posted By: Eric Van Buren
The duos that are most in demand are male/female. Obviously that lineup has the most potential variety.


Well, I can't do much about that...

Last edited by SteveC; 10/07/09 10:18 AM.
Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: SteveC] #2123114 10/08/09 05:28 PM
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I say go for it!
The most fun I've had musically was in a guitar/bass duo, there's so much room to play in, or you can keep it simple.

I'm learingto play acoustic guitar myself, if only becuase it's nice to be able to pick up and play anywhere without lugging an amp, and I'm sure it will help me as a bass player in learning chord structures and more theory.

Besides, there's just something about the sound of an acoustic guitar that I really like. Strictly rhythm I don't want to make it cry or sing.


"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: Bottom End] #2123150 10/08/09 07:56 PM
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SteveC Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Bottom End
I say go for it!
The most fun I've had musically was in a guitar/bass duo, there's so much room to play in, or you can keep it simple.

I'm learning to play acoustic guitar myself, if only because it's nice to be able to pick up and play anywhere without lugging an amp, and I'm sure it will help me as a bass player in learning chord structures and more theory.

Besides, there's just something about the sound of an acoustic guitar that I really like. Strictly rhythm I don't want to make it cry or sing.


Yeah, I think we may try me on bass and some acoustic depending on the tune/arrangement. He has an acoustic I could probably borrow for a while until we see how it goes.

Unfortunately, I can't swing a purchase right now. Although I have great credit and debt/income ratios, the same job for 20 years, etc., I apparently don't rate a HELOC for adding a patio to our house. The bank thing is ridiculous.

Anyway, I've only emailed with the guy so we need to get together and try some stuff and see. Just been a little busy, as always. It's not like we have any gigs booked - just want to give it a low key try and see how it goes.

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: SteveC] #2123199 10/09/09 01:13 AM
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DanYmaL X Offline
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Well, good luck and keep up posted... we're anxious to see if anything comes of it...

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Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: DanYmaL X] #2123412 10/09/09 04:32 PM
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Well, I hope it works out for you.
I'm going crazy here until my guitar and bass show up, and I need to find some folks to play with.


"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: Bottom End] #2123948 10/12/09 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted By: Bottom End
Besides, there's just something about the sound of an acoustic guitar that I really like.
Last evening I went out to our local jam, a very simpatico time. Instead of a bass I took my sweet old 1970 Guild D-40. I sat in with a bass player, drummer, keys guy who doubles on fiddle, another acoustic guitar, and electric guitar. I sang three songs; just strummed my guitar and sang my little heart out. It was wonderful not to have to focus on every little note and beat, the other guys were real good and I felt like a rock star!



Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: Chad Thorne] #2125013 10/15/09 04:43 PM
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Steve,

Do you still have an upright available? That's another option with an acoustic guitar and vocals.

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: getz out] #2125033 10/15/09 05:50 PM
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...or a WAV... whistle

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: Bottom End] #2125086 10/15/09 08:37 PM
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Definitely go for it.

I was in a guitar/bass duo for awhile playing all original music. It was some of the most fun I've ever had playing music.


Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.
Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: getz out] #2125128 10/16/09 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted By: getz76
Steve,

Do you still have an upright available? That's another option with an acoustic guitar and vocals.


Kind of. I can take one from school - it just has to be back for class every day. Interesting...

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: SteveC] #2125209 10/16/09 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted By: SteveC
Kind of. I can take one from school - it just has to be back for class every day. Interesting...


Indeed. Instead of being two random jackasses (no offense) with guitars that sing, you would be "those two acoustic guys, one plays a cello or something". Differentiate. Your average patron listens mostly with their eyes.

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: getz out] #2125751 10/18/09 12:30 PM
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In my previous life as a skinny-string player, I took some weeknight gigs with a female vocalist. Just her voice and my playing. I enjoyed the low-key atmosphere, the freedom to play whatever came to my warped mind, and the opportunity to play things that didn't fit into the pop/rock/country cover songs I was playing on the weekends. It was a lot of fun and really helped my comping skills and ability to play "solo"/unaccompanied.

My youngest son (voice & guitar) recently moved back home. I've talked to him about trying to do a "coffeehouse" duo. Him on acoustic guitar, me holding down the bottom end and putting in some fills/solos on 6-sting bass. Maybe some vocal harmonies. This thread has me thinking about brushing up on skinny-string and switching over for a few songs. I think it would be a lot fun...I just need to convince him.

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: WCriley] #2125790 10/18/09 02:00 PM
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I've done some guitar & bass duets in the past. It was fun.
Haven't done much with a guitar but it might be fun except I'm pretty rusty with those small necked skinny string thingies.


Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.
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Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: b5pilot] #2136994 11/23/09 08:24 PM
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Steve, what have you decide about the duo idea?

I’m bumping this thread to share some of my experiences, trials and tribulations from the past monthor so.

I’m really enjoying the freedom that acompanying just an acoustic guitar/vocalist affords. I’m free to play typical low register bass lines, upper register guitar-like fills and solos, or to jump back and forth during a song. I’m using my 6 string…sometimes approaching it as an extended range “lead” guitar rather than an extended range bass guitar…trying to cover as much of the spectrum as my feeble mind and meager abilities permit.

Playing without a drummer is interesting. It’s nice having the freedom to set the rhythmic feel. But sometimes I miss having a drummer to inspire me toward more rhythmically interesting bass lines. Being a relative newbie to the low end, I find this is more of a challenge during “traditional” bass passages than solos or fills.

The sparse instrumentation makes every little click, clank, buzz and zing stand out. My technique needs a lot of work. For instance, when I jump from the low frets/low strings to a quick chord jab or phase on the high frets/high strings, I try to use my “floating” thumb to mute the low strings and then use my fretting fingers to mute the high strings when I jump back down. That’s way too much thinking for someone this uncoordinated to pull off consistently, but I’m working at it.

Another “noise” problem I’m trying to eliminate is that I tend to curl my fingers more when I pluck the high strings, which causes more fingernail click than I’d like. This comes from subconsciously falling back to the pick-and-fingers technique I used a lot on skinny-string guitar.

I find myself setting my EQ quite differently to fit with a single acoustic guitar than I would with a full band. Interestingly, the scooped-mid “bedroom” type EQ that doesn’t cut through in a loud band seems to work well in this situation. (Maybe because of the way the human ear responds at different volume levels?) I’m not happy with the balance/contrast I’m getting between low notes and high notes. In a thread I found from 2006 addressing this, the general consensus was to reduce the low EQ and to pluck closer to (or over) the fretboard on higher strings.

Great!...So now I’m working at changing positions with both hands at once…while simultaneously muting with both hands…and remembering to keep my fingernails off the high strings! Gee…No one ever told me that playing bass guitar was this complicated! cry(Is there an emoticon for “pulling my hair out”?)

Supporting just one voice and an acoustic guitar is forcing me to spend a lot of time practicing and experimenting. But I’m becoming a much better player as a result of this experience. At least I hope I am.

I’ll stop rambling. You may now return to your regularly scheduled program.

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: WCriley] #2137020 11/23/09 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted By: WCriley
Great!...So now I’m working at changing positions with both hands at once…while simultaneously muting with both hands…and remembering to keep my fingernails off the high strings! Gee…No one ever told me that playing bass guitar was this complicated! cry(Is there an emoticon for “pulling my hair out”?)

Well, yeah, think of it this way: you've only got one more guy than if you were playing solo bass.

Good for you on choosing a 6er and filling out the sound. For duos where only one guy sings the other guy is usually quite busy. Not the best example, but check out Flight of the Conchords to see what I'm talking about. (Besides, they're fun to watch.)

As a side note, if you were to sing lead on some songs you could play a simpler bass-only part and let the other guy deal with the complex arrangement.

But like I said earlier, I know a duo that gets booked quite a bit. They are electric guitar/singer and electric bass guitar, and the bassist only plays standard bass lines on a 4-string. I bet song choice has something to do with it but I'm sure the arrangements do, too.

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: Eric VB] #2137051 11/23/09 11:21 PM
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"Arrangement"? What's that?
Is that where the song's structure is the same every time we play it?
Hell, half the time I can't even remember what key we're in from start to finish, let alone how I played it last night!

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: WCriley] #2137075 11/24/09 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted By: WCriley
"Arrangement"? What's that?
Is that where the song's structure is the same every time we play it?
Hell, half the time I can't even remember what key we're in from start to finish, let alone how I played it last night!
Think of sheet music for a 4-piece guitar-based song arranged for piano.

Whoever wrote the arrangement could transcribe the bass line note-for-note for the pianist's left hand. Then the vocal melody line for the pianist's right hand. The the pianist just needs a couple more hands to take care of the lead and rhythm guitar parts!

Instead a playable arrangement is written. Typically the left hand plays a combination of the bass and rhythm guitar parts, and the right hand plays a combination of melody, (vocal) harmony and countermelody (lead guitar). In cases where it is impossible to cover all notes simultaneously the song is simplified and the least recognizable notes are left out.

In the same way a solo arrangement can be written for guitar ... or even bass.

A simpler definition of arrangement is to assign notes/parts from an existing song/composition to various instruments in an ensemble.

Re: Guitar/Vocal Duo???? [Re: Eric VB] #2137092 11/24/09 01:35 AM
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We haven't done anything yet. I'm not sure we will. He already does something similar with the keyboard gu from our band - who also plays bass - so it seems redundant for me to do something with him.

FWIW - we both would have sang. Him more than I, but still some harmonies and stuff. I would have probably played some guitar as well as bass.

Now there's some uncertainty about his job. From what it sounds like he'll be unemployed by April. I'm thinking he'll be leaving shortly after that.

I still think it would be fun to try, but I don't know of another singer/guitar player around here to do it with.

I appreciated the bump and post.


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