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Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards #2997139 07/03/19 06:08 PM
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eric Offline OP
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Hey friends,

My local '80s and classic rock band has a frequent guitar sub who is great and has joined mostly full time, which means the band now has three guitar players! In my experience, it is sometimes hard to find space in the mix for keyboards unless one of the guitars is acoustic or everyone is just very thoughtful about dynamics. I've raised these concerns and feel like it will work out, but we've also started to look for songs we can add to our playlist that are from bands with three guitars and keyboards. Suggestions have been Jessica by Allman Bros, Freebird, and some other similar ones. Problem being, I'm personally not a huge southern rock fan and prefer more new wave and rock like Talking Heads, The Cars, Tom Petty, The Police, etc. Our band does plenty of this, but wanted to see if anyone has suggestions for "guitar rock" that also features keyboards. We're working on a bit of Bon Jovi and I might suggest Van Halen. Just curious if any of you have had similar experiences and found cover tunes that work well.

Thanks,
Eric

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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997145 07/03/19 06:34 PM
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Eric you could do Blue Sky also by the Allmans. What about some Santana. There are some Eagles covers that keys are in but Eagles is tough stuff to cover and make it come out right. Can any of the guitar players play keys or sax??


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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997148 07/03/19 07:09 PM
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CCR songs work well for this, nearly everyone knows them no matter what age some work well with keys. "Heard it through the Grapevine" for example. Bob Seger had a lot of that, "Old Time Rock and Roll", "Against the Wind" etc. I see a lot of guitar only bands playing Billy Joel's "Still Rock And Roll To Me". Deep Purple, The Doors, The Rolling Stones all have songs with lots of both guitar and keys. A lot of Eric Clapton's songs had organ in them.

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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997149 07/03/19 07:10 PM
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I wouldn't do Against the Wind without two keyboard players as you will fight to get heard. I agree about the Stones songs.


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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997151 07/03/19 07:15 PM
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I think it's the same answer as two guitars with keyboards.

In those situations, ideally both guitar slingers will be generous to allow keyboards to be heard.

Add a 3rd guitar and it just means everyone has exercise that much more restraint, not change repertoire.

IMHO.


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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997152 07/03/19 07:26 PM
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Ooh what about Queen? Assuming you have a vocalist who can hack it (no small feat), you could work some magic, given how many of their songs have orchestrated guitar parts plus keys!

Iron Maiden doesn't have keys, but you could MAKE some keys parts, dang it.


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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997158 07/03/19 08:03 PM
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Layla -- Clapton heavily layered guitar parts, and keys gets the solo in the coda

Superstition -- give a guitar player one of the clav parts so you don't have to do the cheat where you try to play all of them at once

Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997159 07/03/19 08:06 PM
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Try Journey, Asia, Survivor, Loverboy, .38 Special, and Night Ranger.

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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997162 07/03/19 08:22 PM
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Early Steely Dan - Bodhisattva, My Old School - could work trading off those solos. But I think if you can get one of the guitars to be a steel string acoustic, it will open up more possibilities ie Eagles, Traveling Willburys, Crowded House/Split Enz...

Last edited by drawback; 07/03/19 08:28 PM. Reason: more came to mind

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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: samuelblupowitz] #2997164 07/03/19 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by samuelblupowitz
Ooh what about Queen? Assuming you have a vocalist who can hack it (no small feat), you could work some magic, given how many of their songs have orchestrated guitar parts plus keys!

Iron Maiden doesn't have keys, but you could MAKE some keys parts, dang it.

Boston comes to mind - with the same caveat about the vocals.


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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997170 07/03/19 09:27 PM
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Many Tom Petty songs sound like they have 3 guitarists playing - they have a "wall of guitars" sound. We recently started covering "Running Down A Dream", and a multi-instrumentalist in our band covers the strumma-strumma in the chorus on an acoustelectric. So we have 3 guitarists play on that. If you listen carefully to Led Zep Rock and Roll, there are three guitar parts (the 3rd is the clangy thing). Our "multi" guy is our 3rd guitarist when we play that song.

Any song that has a lead-style guitar line which is part of the fabric of the song needs an extra guitarist. Having a guitarist cover a clav part on Superstition, mentioned above, is one example. We play "Life in the Fast Lane", which has a lead line as part of the song fabric during the choruses. "Cake By The Ocean" has a significant lead line throughout the song - you can't hope to cover this song without at least 2 guitarists (forget the video - it's not 1 guitarist).

I say that a 3rd guitarist can work, if people are willing to learn specific parts played in a specific way. But if someone wants to get up and strum away without regard to what the others are playing, then the experience will probably suck.

Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997175 07/03/19 10:26 PM
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eric Offline OP
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Great suggestions, thanks so much for the insights! I am trying to avoid dipping into the deep southern rock if I can avoid it - we do a few "bro country" tunes that please the crowd and will occasionally pull out Sweet Home Alabama, but that's about as far into those genres as I care to go with this group. smile

Queen is a good idea. We have dabbled into a bit of it in the past - Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Another One Bites the Dust, but nothing much recently. Tom Petty is right in our wheelhouse. We already do about a half dozen Petty songs and I'm content to keep adding them. We used to play Life in the Fast Lane and we do Cake By the Ocean (though it's taking a break on the back burner as it was over played a bit). Journey, Asia, .38 Special, Steely Dan are good ideas.

Thanks and keep them coming!

Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: timwat] #2997200 07/04/19 03:00 AM
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Originally Posted by timwat
I think it's the same answer as two guitars with keyboards.

In those situations, ideally both guitar slingers will be generous to allow keyboards to be heard.

Add a 3rd guitar and it just means everyone has exercise that much more restraint, not change repertoire.

IMHO.


Some wise soul being interviewed on the Concert for George (Harrison) DVD said pros know when NOT to play. The topic was duplicated+ instruments present in the stage band. In this case there were guitarists and drummers on top of guitarists and drummers. The final mix sounded fantastic but you do see at least one non-pro strumming away who was dialed out in the end. On the other hand, when Bob Dylan performed on The Tonight Show (when Johnny Carson was host in the 80's) it seemed as though he had invited all of his friends to be in his backup band. There were too many musicians on stage and every single one of them played like they were the only musician in the band. Consequently it sounded like POOP.

Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997205 07/04/19 04:10 AM
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Doesn't just have to be bands with 3 guitars. There are tons of songs by bands with even just one guitar where they did a bunch of overdubs in the studio. I recall some of the cars songs having quite a few guitar overdubs if you listen really close. Some of the Police stuff as well. They won't be prominent parts, just little ear candy here and there.


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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997209 07/04/19 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by eric

the band now has three guitar players!


unless you are a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, no band needs three guitar players, no matter how good they are. facepalm
Love you bro, don't mean to piss on your parade.


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: davedoerfler] #2997212 07/04/19 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by davedoerfler
Originally Posted by eric

the band now has three guitar players!


unless you are a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, no band needs three guitar players, no matter how good they are. facepalm
Love you bro, don't mean to piss on your parade.


Metal band, fusion band, or one where all three have very different setups and fill different roles, i.e. one plays a lot of pad stuff (shimmer reverbs, delays, etc), another rhythm, and one lead.

Or my preferred lineup - One Acoustic guitar, One Electric guitar, and One BASS GUITAR. laugh


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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997219 07/04/19 05:49 AM
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One guitar? With Keys? You are almost dead!!!! Two,guitars? You have already disappeared!!!! 3 guitars? You are vaporized, no trace could be fond about a potential keys player....But this will be a tough investigation by the guitars-keys regulations police...


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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997233 07/04/19 09:53 AM
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For Once In My Life has three clear/distinct guitar parts.

But in general, the success of this lineup is going to depend on how restrained/tasteful your plank spankers are. Easy on the distortion, moderate volume, don't hit six strings when two will do...

Cheers, Mike.


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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: davedoerfler] #2997248 07/04/19 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by davedoerfler
Originally Posted by eric

the band now has three guitar players!


unless you are a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, no band needs three guitar players, no matter how good they are. facepalm
Love you bro, don't mean to piss on your parade.

We're a six piece band with two guitars and me on keys. Our lead singer wanted to get a third guitarist to go for the Lynyrd Skynyrd vibe. Fortunately, I and the two guitarist weren't happy with the idea, so we didn't go that way. Dodged a bullet! laugh


Joe
Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: stoken6] #2997249 07/04/19 01:38 PM
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Had a reason to watch a video of Tom Petty in the late 70s.

Yes, two guitars, but Petty is typically playing a minimal rhythm guitar, because he’s fronting the band with incredible singing and stage work. My inner voice was asking ‘how can he do this regularly’?

Lots of room for Benmont, including many songs where he is laying down the rhythm. Lots of parallels with two boards in the E-Street band, but one guy. This would be a sweet place for a keyboard player.

But fast forward 30 years. Petty, quite rightly, has added a sixth player. Functionally to support his vocals and rhythm playing on stage because dammit, he wasn’t a spring chicken. But the keys , including the iconic licks, are all sitting way back in the mix. My heart sinks. The keys are ‘specials’, not fundaments.

Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: PianoMan51] #2997257 07/04/19 02:32 PM
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Bands have to work on stage dynamics. Lets face it, rock music started as guitar based music, keyboards were never in front of everything. Most of the bands I played in on keys were for embellishment. I played the required parts to the song, and sat in the background most of the time. Such is life on keys.


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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: davedoerfler] #2997259 07/04/19 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by davedoerfler
Originally Posted by eric

the band now has three guitar players!


unless you are a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, no band needs three guitar players, no matter how good they are. facepalm
Love you bro, don't mean to piss on your parade.


I've been gigging since 1981. No band needs three guitar players, not even a Skynyrd cover band.

One guitar player is my limit. I play rhythm guitar as a 2nd instrument, so I can double parts or play rhythm behind a lead when needed. Done.

Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997270 07/04/19 03:54 PM
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Let’s see now,, 3 Strats and 3 hats, 3 incredibly loud Twin Reverbs,,3 twenty five minute solos per song, playing with absolutely no dynamics x3,, and 3 egomaniacs,,,

Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997281 07/04/19 05:18 PM
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I agree with the one guitar limit per band. Too many bad experiences. Especially when guitar players feel that the keyboard's role is to play a few intros here and there, and comp behind their solos.


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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997308 07/05/19 02:20 AM
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3 guitars is at least one too many in a live band. 2 guitars is often nice to have but one needs to accept the back seat and play accent rhythm and not just create a wall of sound or double the other main rhythm constantly. If he will actually be that compliment, then its a nice addition. i recommend you just pick rock songs with prominent keys that are apart/different from the guitar parts - then let the three axe slingers fight it out for their guitar space. There aren’t enough songs that benefit from 3 guitars to warrant it imo so they will step on each other or one will just stop playing at times.

We have one cover band around here with 3 ex-journeymen guitarists from lots of different bands. They are all very good in their own right - lead guitarist level good - but the trio sounds sort of ridiculous as they never worked out a clear separation or purpose for the three of them to be playing so they all just play the same heavy rock rhythm parts at the same time. Pointless. Its spinal tap stupid imo. During leads, which they did manage to divvy out and agree to, its down to 2 rhythm guitars which often drown out the lead lol.


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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997360 07/05/19 05:01 PM
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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: Synthaholic] #2997375 07/05/19 06:44 PM
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If there's something most bands need, it's more guitar



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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997379 07/05/19 07:00 PM
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Well, I watched the “ Guitarkestra” video,,, the ER doctors assured me that I’ll be back on solid food towards the end of the month,,,

Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: eric] #2997384 07/05/19 07:18 PM
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Now why would you want to ruin a perfectly good band with a keyboardist by adding another guitar player to it? :-)

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Re: Songs/bands to cover with three guitars and keyboards [Re: waygetter] #2997389 07/05/19 08:07 PM
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So most of these guys are being fairly respectful and not hogging the sonic space too much - and yet this highlights a problem I have with guitar-driven bands. The tonal texture is monotonous, there's very little variety. (I agree that some very talented guitarists can work in a wide sonic palette, but they are in the minority. Most will have "blues distortion", "rock distortion" and "metal distortion" with a perhaps clean tone if you're lucky). Mix keys and guitars and you have a lot of opportunity for aural interplay: big rock power chords alongside Hammond, boogie piano licks over a Chuck Berry riff, Rhodes-based jazz with flatwound strings, etc.)

Cheers, Mike.


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