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Thread: Backup

  1. #1

    Default Backup

    Anyone recommend strums on open chords to back up one vocalist and guitar? The guitar is on the quiet side so I'm looking for something that doesn't overpower it (in this case not looking to chop either). Various types of music but mainly old timey, folk or slower bluegrass ballads.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Backup

    Let me rephrase this. I am comfortable with most basic strumming patterns but find a lot of them overabrasive at times. Looking to soften things up a little.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Backup

    Do what the guitar player is Not doing. If he/she is playing basic rhythms, play some fills ... If the guitar is l playing a lot of bass walks and fills, play basic rhythm. Listen to some Skaggs and Rice and Skaggs/Whitley
    Jean

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  4. #4
    Registered User Fred Keller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup

    Listen to Compton/Grier or Compton/Newberry too. And I would add it depends on what you and your partner like to hear. There's plenty of room between spare and busy for you to do things. You have picking hand and fretting hand options. On the picking hand, a straight 1/2/3/4 downstroke-on-every-beat is possibly one of the simplest beats. You can vary that up in a hundred ways. On the fretting hand you have fills, bass runs (yes, they're not as low as an actual bass but they get heard), chromatic chord walks, chromatic notes, counter melodies and harmonies.
    Lost on the trails of The Deep North

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    Default Re: Backup

    In this type of situation, I often pick patterns using the chord notes, do little tremolo fills, some double stops - anything to add a little movement and interest in the background.
    Mitch Russell

  7. #6
    Registered User MandoSquirrel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup

    Open strings, crosspicking, arpeggios....
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  8. #7

    Default Re: Backup

    Awesome guys. This is exactly what I was looking for. I was really wanting to see what others do. Thanks again

  9. #8
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup

    Crosspicking is my standard 'filler' or bedding for others to use.
    It's good brain exercise too so I don't drift off like I would strumming.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

  10. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup

    Less is more when backing up a vocalist. The vocalist should be out front and backup should be supportive of the vocals. Single notes should be fills -- fill the spaces between. You and the guitarist should be unified in backup -- I like the concept of playing what the guitarist is not, but also knowing when not to play. There may be times when each of you want to drop out and let the other take over. Also dynamics are important. Bottom line: use your ears. If you are rehearsing, record and listen to what it sounds like.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Dec-07-2012 at 10:56am.
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  11. #10
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    Default Re: Backup

    A high-pitched, tensioned, stringy mandolin sounds abrasive? Well, I never...

    What the learned folks have said above. Hold yer pick loosely and play with taste. And don't play too hard.

    Monroe, toward the end of his time down here on earth, did an interview and talked about a new tune he had written. He said a bass would be all that you'd need, maybe a guitar..."If he was quiet with it...". That right there is a gem, and applies to the abrasion issue.

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  13. #11
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    Default Re: Backup

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    ... Also dynamics are important.
    A quiet double-stop tremolo (that is, 2 notes of the current chord), swelling up from barely perceptible and then down again, can be a breathtaking accompaniment. But only on occasion - once it becomes expected, it loses a lot.
    - Ed

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  14. #12
    Carpe Mandolinium
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    Default Re: Backup

    If you just want a softer tone on straight strumming, put down the pick and use your nails or fingertips.
    == JOHN ==



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