Too many guitars

Too many guitars

Hi there,
I run a school Ceilidh band that’s been pretty successful. We’ve got a great bunch of musicians who really embrace the music. Recently though I’ve had a massive number of guitarists join. While I want to encourage them all to play I don’t really want 7 people bashing away at the chords.

Does anyone have some suggestions of other parts guitarists could play? They’re reasonably skilled so some more challenging parts might work. I’ve considered rotatitng them for gigs and dances but this feels a little against the ethos I’m trying to encourage.

Any ideas welcome!

Re: Too many guitars

They’re probably there because it’s the only gig in town. Our tune learning session started to suffer from the same problem. The solution was to set up a separate ‘Guitar Club’. Now the local guitar learners have somewhere to do their thing, and our tune group is kept guitar free. (And if I’m honest, the Guitar Club is probably more popular than the session.)

Re: Too many guitars

Good idea dulahan, thanks.

I think it’s a symptom of school kids in general, there are just so many more guitarists about than any other instrument. Still, great to see plenty of youngsters really enjoying making folk music.

Are there any band with records about that use several guitars to play trad. Irish/Northumbrian tunes? It’d probably be good for inspiration.

Re: Too many guitars

Lety them do the same as the fiddles, accordions or whatever. Play tunes.

And

Re: Too many guitars

I mean to say:

And the ‘Guitar Club’ might be a good idea but then it might just end up with 7 people bashing away at chords! So don’t restrict it to guitars. I mean you don’t see many bands/orchestras with only guitars and nothing else.

Re: Too many guitars

The guitarists have to figure out what they would like to do. They can’t come in their millions and swamp the session, and it’s up to you to establish that boundary, but that being done they have to sort it out for themselves.
If they want to play tunes, a guitar orchestra could be a nice way to do it - three or four guitars comping in sync and a few playing the tune, rotating their parts Hot Club-style, that could be a lot of fun as long as they got some agreement on their changes. Get a mandolin or two, and maybe a bass, and you might hear something pretty neat. Trad purists would probably run screaming, but that’s good for them, it gets the blood moving.
Or they could pick tunes in the session, as long as they don’t mind if nobody hears them and they can hardly hear themselves. Or they could take turns, but with seven guitarists, that means none of them play very much.

Re: Too many guitars

One method of accompanying tunes is playing a bass note then a strum. Quite often the bass notes run in ascending or descending lines. Work out some lines for the guitars to play. Or work out a cut down version of the tune for them and when they are up to speed with that try them with the full tune. And yes, get some to try mandolin. It would take an awful lot of guitars playing one note to overpower a button accordion or a fiddle.

Re: Too many guitars

Hey, that sounds interesting, a bass note then a strum. So it would kind of go "boom", and then "chuck"? Yeah, what a good idea. And stringing it together it would go"
Boom Chuck, Boom Chuck, Boom Chuck, Boom Chuck, etc.

I bet that would be great to dance to.

Posted .

Re: Too many guitars

Now then, llig……
…..at least it would be better than the mindless continous strum, which is all that some new guitarists seem able to do. Just the idea of picking precise individual strings is progress.
Then we move forward from that.
Haven’t you got any videos from your first 6 months of playing ( anything ) to show us how bad you used to be ? After all, it must have taken at least a little time before you became the paragon of style, good taste, and muted criticism, that you are now ?

Re: Too many guitars

>>It would take an awful lot of guitars playing one note to overpower a button accordion or a fiddle

I just got this image of someone like Kevin Burke adding a guitar section to their live show. Picture it: Kevin’s working away at the tune, maybe Ged Foley strumming away, and then when he swings into the last B part, the whole guitar section stands up and pushes the whole thing over the top. They could have cheap little podiums with a stylized "KB" logo, and cheap suits, the works! Picture that instead of the trumpet-sounding overdub he did on John Stenson’s - it would be awesome.

Re: Too many guitars

Pete, the OP says that these guitarists are ‘reasonably skilled’, so your point is not really relevant.

Re: Too many guitars

have some retune the giutarsto "Bagdad’ - sorry thats a joke

Posted by .

Re: Too many guitars

llig
We used to refer to the bass note as Dum and the strum as Chick. So what we got was Dum Chick. Do you get Dum Chicks at your sessions?

Re: Too many guitars

@tuney - If you have to explain it is a joke right after telling it then it is not a very good one.

🙂

Re: Too many guitars

you can never have ‘too’ many guitars

Re: Too many guitars

I’d just like to put in my twohappenceworth, that I recently worked with a ceilidh band with four guitarists.
What, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, the ceilidh band years ?
It turns out they do a lot of singing between dances, and none of the guitarists want to leave theirs behind and rely on the others. They do have melody-line musicians as well. I did suggest maybe one of them should put down his guitar and play a bass instead, but the band leader wasn’t sure which one that ought to be. In the end I had taken along my bass and played that whilst calling ( I’m ambidextrous ). Or is it amphibious ?
But, yes, the original question is correct, you CAN have too many guitars, all strummed at once.
On the other hand, success is defined by some as dieing owning more guitars than anyone else.