Rock and country music both have their share of Guitar Bands. These bands range from groups like The Ventures with their surf sound ,to Bluegrass , to Metallica with their pounding metal music.
There’s plenty of room for good guitar bands and if you want to start one here’s what to do:
Decide the kind of music you want to play. What’s the style. Be specific and stay with it long enough to give it a chance. If you do change your style that will come later.
Find players who can hang with you and get along.
I will tell you up front that if you do not have a leader, it will be difficult. It is best to have one leader with a vision for the band. Is that you? If not, get one.
The leader will make all kinds of decisions and that cuts out so much junk you can’t believe it. Most bands fuss and fight over petty little things. They end up not making good music. That problem is solved with a single leader. When there is a disagreement, the leader settles it and everybody keeps moving ahead. When that is understood things are so much easier. A good leader will allow all kinds of ideas and creative input so don’t be a tyrant.
Your guitar band must practice together. Usually the set up is drums ,bass, rhythm and lead guitars. Vocals, too. Find a place to gather, set up and play. Make this a regular thing and put it on the calendar.
Get 30 songs together. Originals, covers, whatever. Get them on a sheet of paper as a list. Figure the songs out and practice them start to finish. You might get to five songs or more per practice.
Important note: During practice keep it serious. When you stop the song to regroup or clarify a certain point, no hot doggin around on your instrument. That is distracting and leads to more distraction.
To be clear, when you are in practice session, try to make a rule that when you stop to talk about making the song better, or to start over and try something different, the bass player is not over in the corner hitting random notes and the drummer is not trying new beats out. Everybody is paying attention.
At practice sessions, work through as many songs as you can and stop. Schedule your next practice right then and decide the details if possible.
Guitar bands are no different than any other band. It takes leadership, organization and practice to make good music.
One consideration that will help a lot is tuning. When you have three or more guitars working together, you need to be certain you are in excellent tune. Get a tuner of some kind and check often to be sure everybody is right on it.
Here are more tips:
Use dynamics. Don’t play everything at the same volume. Get softer for certain parts and louder to build tension.
Arrangement tip: When a lead instrument is playing, make sure the other instruments are not playing in the same space as the lead. That goes for vocals, too.
Here’s an example: If the lead guitar is playing a C chord run at the first and third fret positions, make sure the rhythm guitar is not playing there too. It’s a good idea to have the rhythm playing C anywhere else but where the lead is playing.
When the vocalist is singing, be aware that the guitars should not be playing the vocalist’s notes too. This helps create a sense of space-balance that is more pleasing to listen to.
There are plenty of exceptions to this guideline but play with it and you will hear the difference.
Guitar Bands can be great fun. It takes real work to get to the fun so get on the phone and call the players, show some leadership and make some good music.