Writing and arranging for two guitars... [Archive] - Metalguitarist.org

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09-20-2010, 02:33 PM
OK...it looks like me and the guitarist from my old university band are going to be writing together now, given our mutual lack of success at finding new bands since those days. At the moment we're bouncing ideas back and forth across MSN and trying to arrange a time to meet up properly. The music looks like it'll end up being Rush/Zepplin-influenced prog, given our pool of mutual influences...

Basically, it looks like I'll mostly be playing seven-string in drop A tuning, and taking care of most of the effects-based stuff, given that my co-guitarist has a much more purist Les-Paul+Marshall rig, with a fairly minimalistic pedalboard. Rather than having the whole band drop their tuning to match the sevens, we're talking about using its extra range like a baritone guitar to compliment the standard-tuned bass and guitar.
I'd like to incorporate some DADGAD and Open C-tuned stuff for variety as well, and possibly even some baritone six-string tunings (BbFBbEbFBb, CFBbEbGC, BFBbEbGCetc.), although I'm going to try and keep the number of tunings down just for the sake of being practical.

Basically, at this point I'm looking for some advice from all those seasoned members who've spend time in dual-guitar bands regarding pretty much everything...stacking tones, arranging, etc.

Anyone got any helpful suggestions?:)

The Dark Wolf
09-20-2010, 02:42 PM
1. Contrast. It sounds heavier, and more pleasing, to save unison or unison like voicings for certain sections. In other words, don't over use them. Most of the time, my guitarist and I are playing different things.

2. Break things up frequency-wise. I tend to play more of the baritone stuff, and use a lot of basic triads, power chords, and root/3rd diads. He plays the more upper register stuff. I straddle bass/guitar, he straddles lead/rhythm.

3. Add harmonies. The sound of two guitars playing contrapuntal-esq melodies is very cool, and it's why we love bands like Maiden.

4. Rhythmic contrast is interesting, but something I generally am both sparse, and careful with. Used judiciously, however, it can really bring a part of a song out.

09-20-2010, 03:53 PM
4. Rhythmic contrast is interesting, but something I generally am both sparse, and careful with. Used judiciously, however, it can really bring a part of a song out.

This is something I personally love, but that I see few bands doing.

For example, both guitars will be playing rhythm guitar, but they will be playing entirely different (but complimentary) rhythm guitar. I'm sure it must annoy some fans who try to learn a song which is impossible to play unless you have both guitars playing different rhythmic parts.

09-20-2010, 05:24 PM
Reminds me of a Cynic or King Crimson approach. Post some soundbites when you get something!

09-20-2010, 07:39 PM
Definitely will do dude (however long that takes :lol:)!

Cheers guys! Great ideas! :)

We'll definitely be going for orchestrating guitars rather than just stacking up the same riff 100000+ times at once when it comes to arranging parts; helps having a mutual love of Queensryche! I've actually been experimenting a lot of 'Ryche-style poly-chordal stuff recently, where each guitar plays a different three or four note chord voicing which blend together to make a more complex chord.