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Translating Songs Written Acoustically To Full Band?


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I've written several songs with just acoustic guitar. My genre is kind of like Jimmy Eat World mixed with Lifehouse. My problem is I just can't seem to convert the music to a fullband/rock format. Whenever I do I hate the sound. I'm not trying to copy any other musicians, but I have a sound in my head I just cant manage to get. Any advice on this?

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Well obviously, the acoustic version has to carry everything, rhythm & harmony primarily, plus you might have a riff or fills between sections. In the full band, a lot of the heavy lifting on the rhythm side is carried by the drums & bass. This allows, indeed, demands the guitar part to open up and give some space to those instruments. This also means the guitar part can play a counter-melody to the vocal, and retain its character as "rhythm" guitar, and also can play stripped down chord voicings and still sound full.

You might Google some tablature for the bands that are similar to the style you're going for, and see how they break up parts between the instruments. Full band tabs would be the best, but even guitar only tabs would probably be illuminating.

Hope this helps.

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  • 1 month later...

I've written several songs with just acoustic guitar. My genre is kind of like Jimmy Eat World mixed with Lifehouse. My problem is I just can't seem to convert the music to a fullband/rock format. Whenever I do I hate the sound. I'm not trying to copy any other musicians, but I have a sound in my head I just cant manage to get. Any advice on this?

sounds like you need a producer , A good one wil probably find some ideas that work

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had the good fortune of having a drummer/guitarist as a best friend when learning to play guitar and first starting writing music. When you co write with someone it opens a lot of doors and requires you to be flexible from the begining. No one is willing to work with you if you aren't willing to work with them.

To step out of that for a minute two of my all time favorite singer songwriters are terrible at arrangement. James Taylor and Norah Jones. Everyone around them has to some how wrap what they are doing around the big banana's performance. It's something I've had to do in the past and was well compensated so I didn't mind that much. Being an accompianist to someone who views the world from a one man band perspective can be daunting and an art form in and of itself though few are celebrated for that ability.

Getting back on track.

After being in a few bands and going in a solo direction the best investment I ever made was in a 4 track cassette recorder. If you try to put everything into the first track you'll find out how little room there is for other instruments. You learn to make pockets so they can be filled up and you begin to study how other instruments are used to compliment the primary one. You begin to think about the bigger picture and accept that first ideas are not always the best. You also get a handle on how other instruments handle things in a band. Having too much technology can do more harm then good If you walk into a song thinking to yourself you don't have to play your best you can fix it later. Well one mistake becomes two becomes three and you keep on telling yourself a punch in here will work and it doesn't. Or I can just pull up any drum loop as long as it's the right tempo and it will work. Then it doesn't. And you spend all your time looking for loops that aren't related anywhere to what you are/were doing.

The best thing to do is to write things down before recording. Know every measure by being able to point to it on a piece of paper. Know that not all the instruments need to be playing all the time and that more doesn't mean better. When you listen to songs, listen to how they are produced. What instruments are playing when the song begins. What instruments are added later. Where is the pause.

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