5 Creative Ways To Use 2 Electric Guitars

Guitar

At Worship Artistry we arrange master recordings to be played by a 5-piece band, but what do you do when you have 2 electric guitar players on the same stage and all the main parts are covered? In this post, I’m going to give you some tips on ways to get the most out of the pairing.

Now, I shouldn’t have to say this but based on some responses I’ve gotten on Facebook: “This article doesn’t cover every possible thing you can do, just some of my favorites.” Okay trolls? Geez.

5. Double Lead Lines

This is a criminally underutilized technique! Two lead guitars playing the exact same thing with slightly different tones can take a hook from good to freaking awesome. The slight variation in tone and playing style adds so much sonic power. You can also play the same line in different octaves. It sounds different than an octave pedal or playing octaves with one player. The key is to lock in with the other player and to not overuse it. Wait for that hook that defines the song or launches that bridge and use it there.

4. Take 2 Different parts of the same Chord

If you’ve taken the Triads Lesson, you know about picking up the high range of the guitar, but for the most part those shapes are only half of the “full” bar chord. Have one player take the top range and let the other take the lower. Leave one tone clean and one tone dirty or reverb out one and leave the other dry. You can also vary the rhythms with one playing 8th notes and the other playing 16th's. It will add a depth to the sound that won’t be there with only a single guitar.

The most important things to do with 2 electric guitars is to plan and communicate!!!

3. Divide The Labor

I might be getting out there a little, but I love this one. Take a simple lead line from the song and have one player take the on beats and the other take the off beats or some combination of that. If you can split the players between left and right speakers even better.

2. Emphasize

You know how rappers often have a guy marching around stage with them that just yells random words in unison? You can do that on guitar as well. Have one player take the full lead line and have the second only play certain notes of the same line. The emphasizer will sound best if that part could still stand on it’s own without the lead line.

1. Harmonize

Okay, don’t overuse this one. You aren’t trying to be the Allman Brothers (or are you?). A few tastefully done harmonies should get the job done. If you aren't sure how to harmonize check out this 101 lesson on guitar harmony.

Conclusion

The most important things to do with 2 electric guitars is to plan and communicate!!! If you don’t know what the other guy (or gal) is going to do, you can’t build a coherent idea and you’ll probably just end up creating a wall of chords that may or may not sound good. Get creative and as always, make sure you are on the same page with the rest of your band. Watch the video below to hear these ideas in action.

Login to post comments.

Comments

Come Thou Fount

Jason,

Gonna need more

than that ;)

More!!

Jason,
Sometimes when you over produce a hymn it looses something.
The version you played on Porch Songs.....way better than Gateway's
Just my opinion.

Thanks Bill

I feel the same...though the church at large seems to connect more with Gateway's version. Have you seen this?
https://worshipartistry.com/greenroom/guitar/acoustic-hymns-come-thou-fount

And by that I mean "modern church"

It bums me out, though that they dropped the whole Ebenezer line.

Come Thou Fount

They probably found it offensive.

Come Thou Fount

No not yet but I will. I have been working on Lord I need You.

That's a great song

I love Matt Maher's spirit

Come Thou Fount

Man!! I knew you were good but I didn't realize how good till I heard that.
A very smooth and more importantly Spirit filled rendition. Congratulation's.

Matt

Yeah I'm really amazed how humble some of these guy's are. Stu G. ,Jeffery Kunde, James Duke.
Really humble guy's.

I think it's because

they have a true understanding of what they are really doing...

electric rhythm

I've found that when I play 2nd electric guitar I can add a driving rhythm on electric to complement the other guy playing the high parts. For example on Unstoppable God I do that with dotted-eighth delay. We generally have an acoustic but it's played very simply in the first 3 frets so I try to stick to the middle of the neck.
One thing we struggle with, and it's common with volunteer sound techs, is just never being heard in the mix. Our Worship Pastor wishes we'd never get feedback from the congregation on that, but much of it is just sound guys going on auto-pilot.
Nobody should stand out in the mix all the time, especially with a band of 5 or more instruments. I'm always hearing from those super-humble ( annoying :-) ) worship musicians who just "don't concern themselves with how or if they're heard in the house." But it is enough to make one want to serve in another capacity.

Randy - Bellingham

I feel your pain

I constantly heard the same thing for years. Relationship with sound techs can be frustrating especially when they are more "tech" than sound. One thing I've found helpful is to set some rough parameters on the board i.e. Lead guitar should be in this range, acoustic in this, etc. It's not a catch-all but it can at least get things started in the right direction. Hmmm...I feel another green room post coming on.

Jason - (Also in Bellingham)

Try painting

I'm certainly not the first to do this but I use a $1 paint brush and a really washed out delay to create synth pad sounds. Works best with minimalist chords and up higher on the neck. Doesn't work on every song but it's great for adding ambience.

Wow.

I've used cello bows, springs and screws but I somehow never thought of a paint brush. Great idea.

the wonderful world of the second electric guitar!

Great post Jason, your tips are spot on. Having been the lead guitarist my entire life, the needs of my current church are for second electric, very occasional backfill for our first electric guitarist, and occasionally on electric bass.

I think electric 2 is actually quite fun in that it takes a combination of creativity and restraint to serve the needed purpose. Creativity in the sense of mostly staying out of the range of electric 1 but jumping quickly in and out of range when emphasis is needed, using partial chords, and using effects only when needed. Restraint in the sense of knowing when to play and when not to play.

Since our worship team are all volunteers and thus working folk, we do not have the time available to get together and work out parts in advance, so I learn the guitar 2 parts as best as possible in advance and then spend the rehearsal time applying tips such as your supply here and by carefully listening to the first electric to (hopefully) develop effective second electric parts.

I then cement these in prior to Sunday service leaving me more free to flow into worship.

Your song lessons are fantastic but I don't know if many have the second electric parts. Is this something that WA would be willing to provide? These would be very helpful for those of us with limited time to sort out the parts by listening! The broad use of echo and reverb tends to create quite a wash of sound, so it can be time consuming to figure these out.

Thanks for all you do and I am greatly enjoying my subscription!

Great thoughts!

As of now we are staying focused on the 5 piece but in newer lessons I have been trying to be more conscious of giving tips for the second guitarist.

How do I share with members who have accounts with me on here?

I would like to be able to tag a lesson and send it to any of the 3 other members on my plan.

How do I do that with Facebook (I don't do twitter face)?

Thanks!

Best bet

is to just copy the url and send it.