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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Playing in a power trio or trio with singer

Rick Knight
Contributing Member

St Peters, MO USA

Standing in the back, by the drummer.
Jun 20th, 2016 11:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'm used to working with more people and am curious about whether and how a smaller group affects your approach to playing.

(This message was last edited by Rick Knight at 06:11 PM, Jun 20th, 2016)

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jun 20th, 2016 08:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

I like the trio form. I get to play more bass, do more fills. I've enjoyed big bands too, the convieniance of the small group, equipment, PA set ups is kind of nice too.

At the moment it's a guitar, mandolin and bass. Set up and breakdown are like 20 minutes.

Contributing Member


Hoarder of instruments
Jun 21st, 2016 02:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

I played in a trio during my full-time musician days (guitar/bass/drums). I still had to fit the groove but played a bit fuller. Our drummer was able to play a little more full without being too busy sounding.



Do'in the 5 string thing!
Jun 22nd, 2016 11:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

Playing in a trio plus one now and have many times over the years. Lot's of theories on how to approach this tone wise, playing wise, number of notes, etc. What works and sounds good to you may not to me - and that's cool.

In this format I want my tone to be "big", but not boomy or overpowering. Too many lows will decrease definition, and seems to sound worse in a three piece. I play rock and some metal covers I use a little overdrive / distortion (think SVT) for my normal tone, and where the bass line is mostly riding the root (think ZZ Top), I thicken the tone up with a little more low mids and overdrive. It really helps having a programmable SABDDI. Three different tones at your command with a stomp of a foot switch.

Locking with the drummer and keeping the pocket tight helps as well. I believe a good (not fancy
) drummer with great time is really important in a three piece band. There is really no place to hide!

I also mainly use a five string these days, which also allows me to fill space with fretted lower notes.

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Jun 25th, 2016 07:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've played a lot in 3 pieces, and my band of the last 5 years is a 3. On top of it, our guitar player, until this band, spent the last few decades as a rhythm player. This is his first "lead" experience.

I learned back in the 70's how to fill the holes, and sound a lot fuller. I tried everything I could think of over the years...chords, effects rigs using 300Hz and above through guitar effects into a small guitar amp in addition to my bass rig, octave above with or without that effects rig, etc.

I saw a video of how Steely Dan's "Aja" was recorded. Bass giant Chuck Rainey was a eye opener. I had tried up until that point to play very cleanly, limiting noise...fret and finger, as much as possible. Solo'd, Chuck's bass lines sounded like a war...clank, noise, percussive rattle...

But in the mix...perfect.

So here I am today...Rig with plenty of high end (6" midrange speaker and horn added to the bass drivers) fresh, bright roundwounds (Pro Steels) and lots of noise.

Our guitar player constantly remarks how easy it is for him to play because HE doesn't have to work to fill the holes. He feels free to do what he wants be it guitar chords, leads, or horn stabs.

I am a rather old school roots, pocket player, and don't overplay, but I can cover the holes, which also means, leaving the holes that are necessary to groove and thump. Ghost notes, noise and percussive junk are your friends.

Our drummer is good, and although he's not the "best" I've played with, I love his style and control. He plays well, but relatively simply, rarely ever using his toms. I played with him for 8 years back in the 70's in a country band, so we have a lot of history.

Plus we all get along.



Who is E. Sandoval?
Jun 25th, 2016 03:38 PM   Edit   Profile  

3 piece band is great. IMHO, it's way easier than a bigger band. You have a lot of room to play. 3 piece band is perfect if you have the right 3 people

Rick Knight
Contributing Member

St Peters, MO USA

Standing in the back, by the drummer.
Jun 27th, 2016 07:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for your input. We've been a guitar, bass, keys, drums, vocals band for years. Our keys guy is very talented and can fill a lot of space. Unfortunately, he is seriously ill and told us that he can't continue playing. We will look for another keys player, but it might be hard to find someone that good. If not, we will probably add another guitarist. In the meantime we are trio and vocals. Our first practice in that format sounded empty initially, but seemed to fill out as is progressed. Not sure whether that was due to adjustments in our playing or just getting used to what I was hearing.

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Jun 27th, 2016 04:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

Many of the bands I've been in were 3 piece. I liked it. It pushes each member to play the right thing all the time. No hiding in a trio. The first trio was in '72 or so. My current electric band is also a trio. It pays better too with one less mouth to feed.

The emptiness you mention will go away in time. Each of you will adjust and you will also begin to hear things as they are and not expect to hear that 4th instrument.

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Playing in a power trio or trio with singer

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