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'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

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'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby jellyjim » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:40 pm

Hi

I'm involved with a project that I am finding increasingly challenging and not in a good way. It's live bass, live vocals (with effects), sequenced drums and synth (with some live manipulation) and myself on guitar. On the surface it's 'krautrock' where 'repetition is change'.

Some of the more recent material (I don't do the writing) stays on a single chord. There are no changes. With so little harmonic movement I struggle to add anything interesting to it. Perhaps I lack any imagination? Perhaps I'm simply not a sophisticated enough musician? There's a (very busy) bass line, a vocal melody (typical chorus, verse structure to some extent), an underlying synth pad (a chord, G major) and a repeating arpeggiated synth line.

I think I've reached the conclusion that there simply isn't any room for guitar, both figuratively and literally. Between the bass and the synth there's no space in terms of the frequency range of the individual voices. The melody is very diatonic and very major sounding. Playing single note lines seems either redundant or interferes with either the vocal, the arpeggio or the bass and if it's not the root, a third or a fifth it doesn't fit harmonically. I've tried playing non chord tones but without harmonic movement and because the key center is so opinionated, if you will, and none of the other instruments are playing outside the chord tones either, it just sounds like the guitar is out on a limb for the sake of it. I've tried rhythmic variation too but the arpeggiated synth is unwavering and the drum pattern so utterly 'motorik' that, again, it either to jars or feels like being different simply for the sake of it.

Of course this is, to some extent, how krautrock is supposed to be so I've been exploring staying on one chord and seeing where that might go. Different neck postions, inversions and stacking roots, thirds or fifths only, is all I can think of. It's change certainly but it feels like change without meaning.

So my first question is; am I missing something? How would you approach a song with one chord?

One answer that occurs to me is to, through the use of effects, approach the guitar as something more 'textural' where there is no harmonic movement but interest comes from other changes such as modulations of timbre, filtering, slow attacks, sync'd tremelo and so on.

My second question is; can anyone suggest example of such an approach and recommend an effects processor best suited to such an encdeavour?

I'd like things to work out but I'm increasingly of the opinion that I don't really have anything to offer the project and that I should perhaps bow out.

Thanks!
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby Ramirez » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:48 pm

jellyjim wrote:I should perhaps e-bow out.


Fixed that for you...
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby jellyjim » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:51 pm

Ramirez wrote:
jellyjim wrote:I should perhaps e-bow out.


Fixed that for you...

haha, yeah that's a good idea, that kind of thing

even so ... one chord ... ONE!!! ffs
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby Rich Hanson » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:52 pm

Maybe arpeggios through tempo-synced delays?
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby Wonks » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:53 pm

A chance to apply different modulation FX; phaser, chorus, flange etc?
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby jellyjim » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:02 pm

Wonks wrote:A chance to apply different modulation FX; phaser, chorus, flange etc?

Yup, doing that kind of stuff but static at the moment

I need to get some foot pedal action in there and the e-bow is worth considering

The other thing is it's all 130bpm+ so it ain't gentle! This is not ambient music

I guess I'm in part asking 'can you recommend an effects processor that lends itself to experimental stuff, soundscapes etc'

I suppose any do, it just depends how you approach them
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby blinddrew » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:38 pm

Depending on what's in your pedal locker already, I'd be looking at an analogue delay (or a digital one with some kind of degradation option), some trippy stereo reverb type thing, maybe a couple of a-b switchers so you can create some switchable loops, and accept that you're going to spend a certain amount of the gig sitting on the floor tweaking knobs Johnny-Greenwood-style.
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby Random Guitarist » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:00 pm

Ask yourself, what would Robert Fripp do?
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby jellyjim » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:15 pm

Random Guitarist wrote:Ask yourself, what would Robert Fripp do?

Not play over songs with one chord in them? :headbang:
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby zenguitar » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:16 pm

Fripp would sit on his stool, listen to the bass part, the synth pad and the arpeggiated part. Then he would play all three note for note perfect at the same time.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby BigRedX » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:16 pm

Play with alternate tunings.

If this was me I'd try tuning the 6th, 4th and 2nd string to the notes within the chord and then play melodies against them on the other strings. It doesn't matter what you tune those to but for ease of use I'd use 3rds or 4ths.

So if you song just uses Emaj as its one chord I'd be tuned from lowest to highest E Ab Ab B B E or something like that and then play with alternating drone and melody picking.
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby jellyjim » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:18 pm

zenguitar wrote:Fripp would sit on his stool, listen to the bass part, the synth pad and the arpeggiated part. Then he would play all three note for note perfect at the same time.

Andy :beamup:

Please Robert, be my guest.
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby jellyjim » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:19 pm

BigRedX wrote:Play with alternate tunings.

If this was me I'd try tuning the 6th, 4th and 2nd string to the notes within the chord and then play melodies against them on the other strings. It doesn't matter what you tune those to but for ease of use I'd use 3rds or 4ths.

So if you song just uses Emaj as its one chord I'd be tuned from lowest to highest E Ab Ab B B E or something like that and then play with alternating drone and melody picking.

nice, a ball ache live (re-tuning) but yeah nice
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Oct 23, 2018 3:45 pm

This is a fascinating thread! :thumbup:

I do think that Bob Fripp might provide some wonderful inspiration - try having a listen to this YouTube video from about 5 minutes in to hear his contributions to David Bowie's 'Heroes':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ClNGJXUWvk

It's nearly all feedback around a few notes/harmonics, but SO effective! 8-)


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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby CS70 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:21 pm

Very tough to say anything without actually listening. Is it possible to hear the track, or part of it?
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby jellyjim » Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:38 pm

CS70 wrote:Very tough to say anything without actually listening. Is it possible to hear the track, or part of it?

ok sure but just short and i'll remove them soon-ish as i don't have permission plus no guide vocal for same reason but the melody is pretty much chord tones and certainly within diatonic major scale (G)

loop 1 - verse/chorus

break - break

loop 2 - basic pattern with synth
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby blinddrew » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:30 pm

Hmmm, there's not a lot of space there. How constant is the vocal line? Is it pretty much there throughout or fairly sporadic?
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby jellyjim » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:34 pm

blinddrew wrote:Hmmm, there's not a lot of space there. How constant is the vocal line? Is it pretty much there throughout or fairly sporadic?

No, there bloody isn't! :headbang:

Intro 16 bars
Instrumental #1 16 bars
Vocal #1 48 bars
Break 32 bars
Instrumental #2 16 bars
Vocal #2 48 bars
Instrumental #3 32 bars
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby blinddrew » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:43 pm

Sorry, poorly phrased question. When the vocalist is singing, is there space between lines and phrases or is it more dense (like a rap)?
I can hear spaces where I would do stuff but obviously 1) I'm only listening to 15 seconds not trying to fill out an entire set, and 2) I don't know how busy the vocals get.
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Re: 'Textural' guitar effects to add interest where there is no harmonic movement

Postby jellyjim » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:45 pm

fairly spacious
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