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> Lead Guitar?, Question about lead and some other stuff...
draftzero
post Feb 11 2009, 03:41 AM
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I recently joined my church's band and I have no experience in actually playing in a band. All the songs are really easy chords, the main singer usually plays rhythm and I think he is expecting for me to play along with him the same chords, which wouldn't make sense to me as from what i understand two rhythm guitars will pretty much sound the same right?

Is there a point to having 2 guitars playing rhythm or is it better to have one rhythm/one lead? I'm guessing playing lead would add another level to the music... unfortunately the only "lead" experience i have is just playing a few solos here and there (sweet child of mine, canon rock, etc). Most of the songs that they play do not have any tabs for lead, so i might actually have to make up my own riffs and melodies, i've done them for a few songs, but the melodies are very simple... was wondering if anyone had any suggestions... sometimes i just end up arpeggiating the chords, which sounds ok, but very bland.

FYI: i have a general understanding of music theory and know the pentatonic scales pretty well. Although I can't really move around the scales. For example when i'm improvising i still stay in the box.

THANKS!

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Ramiro Delforte
post Feb 11 2009, 03:54 AM
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Well, you could use simple triads (but actually real three note chords, and by that I mean only play three strings) like the onces used in funk, many Red Hot Chilli Peppers use that concept.
Depending on the harmony also you could superimpose other chord in order to add tensions.
For example: Em7 over C = the Em7 adds the B and the D (the major 7th and the major 9th) to the C major chord.
Other concept would be that you fill the empty spaces, breaks, not singing moments, etc.
Just listen bands with two guitar players too get some arrangement notion.

Let me know if this helped a little if not I can expand and search for some hearable examples.


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Zephyr
post Feb 11 2009, 04:08 AM
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I've played with my church's worship band for a year or two now, and I think the most important thing is to keep it simple. At first I was a little lost as well, this is not exactly my kind of music, but there are really just a few things to keep in mind.

#1: Keep it clean! And I mean this in more ways than one. As far as your tone, praise and worship music rarely calls for distortion, you will usually find a clean or slightly overdriven tone will fit the songs best. There are exceptions to this, some songs might need a driving rhythm guitar during the chorus or something like that, and if you attend a more contemporary church, you may be doing some more "rockish" tunes. But whether you're playing lead or rhythm, keep it minimal.

#2: Similar to the first, but don't be overbearing. The guitar should not be distracting, it's more of an accent than the focus in this style. If you are playing any sort of lead, keep it simple. Just following the triads is a great start if you don't know your theory too much yet, but you have freedom here - just keep it simple, this isn't really the correct situation for speedpicking triplets, sweep picking, and such. This also depends on your church, the others members of the team, and the audience: if they are more traditional people, guitar should probably be very minimal, if they are more contemporary, they may be expecting a little more from you. It doesn't have to be boring, though, even in a traditional context.

#3: If you're playing "rhythm guitar," it doesn't mean you have to stand there mindlessly strumming the simple chords all through the song. Try different chord voicings, arpeggiation, or whatever you feel fits the song best. You don't have to follow the chords exactly, either, you can use substitutions of extended chords, as long as they fit.

P.S. There are benefits to having multiple guitarists. At my church, we have 4 guitars, and we still make it work! We are a more contemporary church, so things are a little easier to work with. The singer (my uncle, actually) plays acoustic, and he usually just strums along, mostly open chords. Another acoustic guitarist does some more complex stuff, fingerpicking, or fancier rhythms, or sometimes just adding to the ambiance. The other electric guitarist mostly does the more driving rhythm kind of stuff, power chords if the song calls for it, or just strumming away. I usually just fill in wherever it needs to be filled in, using different chord voicings, playing melodies or leads here and there, just whatever the song calls for. Just remember that the most important thing is the music, so make that the first priority!

P.P.S. huh.gif laugh.gif Oftentimes, if you are playing lead, your line will probably either be the melody of the song or very similar to it. If you're lucky, you will have a lead sheet with the melody on it, but if not, it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out by ear. The melody is also likely to follow the chord shape pretty closely.

This post has been edited by Zephyr: Feb 11 2009, 04:32 AM
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Pedja Simovic
post Feb 11 2009, 04:26 AM
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Playing arpeggios or chord tones are always safe play regardless of style of music.
I suggest working on rhythm and phrasing more while working on arpeggios. That should give you lots of interesting melodic ideas already !


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draftzero
post Feb 11 2009, 04:52 AM
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Yea, i'd say my church leans more on the contemporary side (at least at the time i attend, mainly the teens/young adults go this one)... I definitely want to keep it simple.. I think I understand what you mean by the triad chords... kinda like "Island in the Sun" by Weezer?

Thanks for the advice guys... i guess i'll have to do a bit more digging in theory. As I don't quite understand how the superimposing works.

Mainly, i just don't want to be part of the band and seem useless...

Like the lineup for this sunday is
All The Earth Will Sing Your Praises (i've found the riff/solos for this and got them down)
Seek Ye First (I've come up with a melody for this)

Still searching for riffs/trying to make up one:
Open The Eyes of My Heart
Amazed by Jared Anderson

This post has been edited by draftzero: Feb 11 2009, 04:55 AM
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MickeM
post Feb 11 2009, 09:10 AM
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Two rhythm guitars can make things very colorful if you do it right. But like you say, playing the exact same chords is useless.
But if the two of you play the chords at different positions it becomes more full, so for example one guitar strums all chords base on the low E or A string while the other guitar base on the D or G string.

Another option is for one guitar to play the chords while the other plays a figure. For an example listen closely to Long Train Running by the Doobie Brothers. One strums the chords while if you listen you'll hear the other is repeating a figure.

Hope that gives you a couple hints and ideas for your songs.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 11 2009, 02:33 PM
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If there is a situation for playing two rhythm guitars your best role in that kind of a band would be to play rhythm using:

- arpeggiated chords (possibly fingerpicking in the rhythm of the song)
- inverted chords on different positions where top top note follows other instrument/voice
- slash chords where the bass follows some other instrument/voice


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