I had a chance this weekend to spend some quality headphone time with some of my favorite dual guitar bands: The Strokes, Radiohead, The Rolling Stones to name a few. I have always loved two guitars players that together can create a sonic landscape that extends way beyond what either player can do on their own. Add that in the context of a great song and you have what I consider to be the best of both worlds and the music I love most. The craft of each player creating a sound space that neither overpowers the other or gets lost in the mix is no easy task. This craft usually requires many years of live performance and studio sessions with an “ears wide open” mind set towards guitar, amp and FX choices that work well together. Weather it’s the soulful dance of Richards and Taylor on “Exile on main street”, The piston revved attack of Valensi and Hammond Jr on “Is this it?”, or the shimmering industrial guitar wasteland created on “OK Computer” you can easily see there is so much more to playing guitar than just playing guitar.
A challenge to all you players out there that reside in bands with two or more guitar players: the next time you have the urge to turn your guitar amp up because you feel you should be “heard more” or “want to be louder”, try altering your tone, playing style and attitude to meld in with what the song is asking for rather than just turning up the volume. In the end if you can master this craft, your band will be better, your songs will be better, and your fans with hear you loud and clear.
Other recommended listening:
- Radiohead: The Bends
- The Stokes: Room on Fire
- The RollingStones: Goats Head Soup
- Tom Petty: Wildflowers
- The Black Crowes: Southern Harmony and Musical Companion