Creating Your Pocket Within The Band
This is going to be geared towards the more advanced musician; we will be relying on already accumulated knowledge of listening skills, CAGED system and their corresponding barre chords, an ability to adapt your playing to multiple areas of your instrument.
I need you now to break down your band:
How many members?
What is the instrumentation?
What are the Frequency Ranges of these Instruments?
We have a duo: One Female Vocalist and One Guitarist. The role of the percussionist, bassist, and rhythm guitarist all fall to me. This leaves room to fill a plethora of space HOWEVER I will shy away from the high frequency range. Why? Because this is the range my vocalist will be in and with holes in literally every other range, my focus needs to be on filling those up.
We have a 5-Piece band: Female Vocal, Piano, Guitar, Bass, Drums. Between the piano and the bass player, the root note is being covered, so I can focus on the other chord tones (even delving into extended chord tones for additional color if wanted). The piano’s left hand & bassist will have the low frequencies covered, so I can focus on more of the mid-range on my guitar. Between the bass and drums I may not always need to be playing the rhythmic passage (unless to emphasize a section or should I do something contrary to create rhythmic dissonance) because they have the base rhythms down. THE MORE PLAYERS I AM WITH, THE LESS I MAY NEED TO PLAY, AND THE MORE INTENTIONAL I WILL HAVE TO BE.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Does what I’m playing benefit me or the band?
How do I serve the band?
How do I serve the song?
Am I needed or is my silence to a greater benefit?
Is there a frequency range that needs to be filled or supported?
Understanding everyone’s roles and sonic placement within the band provides the information to perform mature decisions as a musician. We don’t want musicians stepping on each other’s toes or taking over someone else’s role within the band. Be intentional with your chordal / note placement at each part of the song, and be strategic by consistently asking yourself the questions above.
** A special thank you to Reggi Beasley for our conversation relating to everything discussed above **