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Harmonizing Guitars

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(@rparker)
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If you see a stage with 4 or 5 guitars just strumming away, some sort of harmonizing is going on. Does the results of harmonizing guitars require absolute strum for strum for strum playing, or is it still a case of two or more gutars playing together, but not the same. Each one having their job to do in similar fshion to say a rhythm ad lead tandem doing they're things.

I tried harmonizing guitars on Mother earlier in the week and I didn't think it sounded bad, but they were not always 100% robotic, so to speak. The second guitar might have taken a 1/2 bar off, or maybe the first one accentuatted a chord when the second one didn't. One was accoustic and one was clean electric.....with a dab or chorus and delay mixed in.

I guess what I'm asking is that are there hard, set in stone rules that need to be followed when doing harmonizing guitars? Any advice is appreciated as always.

Thanks

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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(@anonymous)
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a click track or pre-recorded rhythm is a must to keep you sync'ed up. other than that, it's kind of a pain. even recording a single line of vocal harmony, i rarely get it in one take. just like playing the guitar, there's a learning curve.


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
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I'm still unsure of what consitutes harmonizing. If everyone is strumming the same chords that's not harmonizing from what I understand, but if they are playing diiferent voicings is that considered harmonizing?

I play some harmonized leads with our other guitar player and it's not just us playing the same note in the same position or same note in a different position it's playing different intervals at the same time.

But that's my understanding of it and I may be all screwed up.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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(@hyperborea)
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I'm still unsure of what consitutes harmonizing. If everyone is strumming the same chords that's not harmonizing from what I understand, but if they are playing diiferent voicings is that considered harmonizing?

I don't think that playing the same chords even in different voicings is harmonizing but I'll defer to the theory gurus.

What I understand harmonizing with chords to be is to have the different instruments (guitars in this case) play different chords that add up to something else. So, if the song has a C7 (C E G B) in a bar then for two guitars you can have one of them play a C chord (C E G) and another play an E minor chord (E G B). Together that makes the C7 chord. They don't even have to play the same rhythm and in fact that can sound more interesting if they don't. This can be broken down further and you can have the two guitars play smaller fragments of the chord (playing double stops). You can also sometimes get it so that one of the guitars stays on the same chord (or perhaps only a double stop) for a while and the other one changes what it is playing to change the resulting chord from the combination.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


   
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(@moonrider)
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If you see a stage with 4 or 5 guitars just strumming away, some sort of harmonizing is going on. Does the results of harmonizing guitars require absolute strum for strum for strum playing, or is it still a case of two or more gutars playing together, but not the same. Each one having their job to do in similar fshion to say a rhythm ad lead tandem doing they're things.

I tried harmonizing guitars on Mother earlier in the week and I didn't think it sounded bad, but they were not always 100% robotic, so to speak. The second guitar might have taken a 1/2 bar off, or maybe the first one accentuatted a chord when the second one didn't. One was accoustic and one was clean electric.....with a dab or chorus and delay mixed in.

I guess what I'm asking is that are there hard, set in stone rules that need to be followed when doing harmonizing guitars? Any advice is appreciated as always.

Thanks

Are you talking about doubling guitars Roy? E. G. Two guitars playing the same part? If that's case, you need to duplicate the parts as closely as you can. That being said, you're only human, and even at best there's going to be the millesecond timing differences that are what make doubling a part so effective. It's a subtle thing that seems to make it sound like one FAT sounding guitar.

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(@jackson-c)
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i wanted to ask that can we harmonize with barre chords? I tried Harmonizing with barre chords such as G Minor, F Major etc, it sounded really cool to me but i thought i should ask u if harmonizing with barre chords is in the rule book or not,

Left Handed Guitars


   
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(@pear-tart)
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Like what Jackson C said, how about barre chords? I was at a concert recently and there were two guitarists-- one playing acoustic electric, the other an electric. It seemed like the acoustic guy was playing open chords (sometimes with a capo, I think) and the electric player was just playing the same chords but as barre chords. It seemed to work out to me... But would you use the same rhythm/strum sort of thing or different?


   
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(@anonymous)
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pear: playing in unison and playing syncopated are both options.

this is a situation you see a lot in music, since there is no right or wrong or final goal. the more you learn, the more options you have. which one you choose depends on what you want to hear.


   
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(@alangreen)
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If you're looking to do something with chords so that the overall effect isn't just muddy, then a capo is probably your best bet; throw it on your guitar and transpose the chords down. The prime example is from Hotel California, where the chords are played using a capo at the 7th fret, with the Em fingering being used to create a Bm chord - it saves having to do all that barre chord work.

Melody or solos? Turn to the Iron Maiden book of how to make it sound effortless and classy. Basically, your 2nd guitar is playing the same as your lead but a third up. So, staying in key, when the first guitar plays an A, the second plays a C or C#. It sounds pretty good if the 2nd guitar plays "an octave down and a third up" - playing the C or C# below the A, for example.

Do the two guitars have to play identically? Not all the time. It's slightly more important to be sync'd when playing chords, but with melodic lines you can phase in different note values between the two parts which will give you dissonances that resolve back just like passing notes do in regular single line melody.

Obviously, you can't expect to put two guitarists together and let them loose on a song without any forward planning. The chord playing might survive, but if you suddenly get to the solo and two guitarists go off doing their own shredding thing with dive bombs, pic scrapes and tapped patterns a la Eddie Van H then it's going to sound ghastly; you'll need to orchestrate that bit before you let people play it.

A :-)

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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Ok let me see if I have this straight since I don't really see a definitive answer in any of the replys.

Playing chords in different positions or barre chords does NOT equal harmonization doing those things is just a doubling of the guitar parts and will result in a fuller fatter sound.

To actually harmonize the guitars are playing totally different notes, as Hyberborea mnetioned if you wanted to harmonize with chords and you wanted to produce the sound of a C7 chord one could play a C the other an E.

When you are talking solo's/melody then each guitar is playing some interval as Alan mentioned in his post.

But if you are trying to harmonize with chords (and I'll use Hyper's) example if the two gutiars aren't hitting those chords at the same time how are they harmonizing? If one plays while the other doesn't how would you get the effect of the C and E harmonizing? I would think that only happened when each chord was struck.

Am I missing something?

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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(@coolnama)
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But if you are trying to harmonize with chords (and I'll use Hyper's) example if the two gutiars aren't hitting those chords at the same time how are they harmonizing? If one plays while the other doesn't how would you get the effect of the C and E harmonizing? I would think that only happened when each chord was struck.

They are hitting them at the same time, just not at the EXACT same time with the exact same pattern, there will always be a slight difference, thats what makes it sound fuller, AND if you are harmonizing chords well it has a different sound too ( C7 )

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(@hyperborea)
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To actually harmonize the guitars are playing totally different notes, as Hyberborea mnetioned if you wanted to harmonize with chords and you wanted to produce the sound of a C7 chord one could play a C the other an E.

When you are talking solo's/melody then each guitar is playing some interval as Alan mentioned in his post.

But if you are trying to harmonize with chords (and I'll use Hyper's) example if the two gutiars aren't hitting those chords at the same time how are they harmonizing? If one plays while the other doesn't how would you get the effect of the C and E harmonizing? I would think that only happened when each chord was struck.

They don't have to be at the same time because there is a bit of "persistence" when you are listening to sound much as there is a persistence of vision. A movie looks to most people like smooth continuous motion but it's really 24 still motion frames every second (probably with each one shown 2 or 3 times for a total of 48 or 72 pictures every second). The brain kind of fills in the gaps from the senses.

It works similarly with audio. You can have the bass player playing a steady C note on the base on the 1 and the 3 (or the 2 and the 4) and the guitar player can play an E minor chord (E G B) and the listener will get the effect of hearing a C7 chord. You could do something similar with two guitars (as in my above example) and having one play a C chord (C E G) and one playing an E minor (E G B) and they don't have to be playing in synch. Sometimes you may want to and sometimes not.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


   
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