Two Piece Bands

wolfgang

Senior Member
Hey everyone. I haven't been around, even to lurk, very much in the past few months. School's been keeping me busy. I don't play as much as I used to, or would like to.
The rock trio I've been a part of for the last two years is also starting to fade away. We haven't come to a conscious decision to break up yet (which we should). Right now we just seem to be ignoring the elephant in the room. Basically the three of us just haven't all been available at the same time to practice or anything. So there have been very few shows in the last half a year because there simply isn't time to practice for them or properly promote them. Things have just kind of grown stale and I want to move on.
That being said, I think I have time for a band now and have spoken with a friend of mine about starting a two piece band, with guitar and drums. I know it will be difficult to get a good sound, but I enjoy a challenge. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with two piece groups and if there's anything I can watch out for from the getgo. Group dynamic, specific drum/cymbal sounds I might want to go for, etc. Anything! I'm all ears :D

tl;dr
What's it like to be in a two piece band?

Thanks!
 

Fabo

Member
Two piece bands work great, contrary to what many people think. I'm in a two piece metal band right now and we get shit done very quickly. Guitarist doesn't have to teach another one the riffs or a bass player his notes and for solo's I can sometimes follow his lead or we'll have a solo rhythm that works well. For shows everything sounds great as well. We don't need to worry about 2 or 3 other people losing time or anything and with a powerful enough amp and drum set it sounds great. Also set up is quick as hell. So 2 piece band = pretty damn good.
 

cap'n

Member
The Gay Blades and The White Stripes pull off being a guitarist/drummer combo very well.
I've also had personal experience with this. I'd say that as long as the dynamics between you and the guitarist are good (musically and otherwise) then you can create a lot of good.
And I follow the general rule: If it feels right, it is right. So, if you guys jam and something comes out of it that just feels 'right', run with it. You have nothing to lose.
Trying to obtain a very full sound through the guitar and the drums is a must also, seeing as you aren't rolling with a bassist. I'd personally tune my drums to be very resonant to fill up as much sound as possible, though that might pan out live. For the guitar, amp and pedal selection are important I'd assume.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've never been a band where there were only two people on stage, but I was in a band where there were only two actual members, me and the singer. It was great for a while, because we were the most determined from our previous band, and without other members holding us back and dragging us down, we were able to accomplish a lot in a short period of time.

We had additional people on stage to fill out the band, but they weren't full members, and they seemed fine with it.

The downside became when the singer developed some problems. There was no way to just fire the singer and find a new one, because that was 1/2 the band.

On a different note, I once saw a flyer for a guy who was looking for a drummer for a 2 pc. He sang, played guitar and keys, with bass pedals. I was very interested in the possibility, but he never returned my phone calls. Oh well.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Not a band per se, but I did several gigs a few years ago with just an acoustic guitarist and myself on the kit. We tried it on the fly after another one of the singer/guitarists was unable to play....we were already booked, so it was a 'make it work or die trying' situation. To my utter surprise, it worked very well......so much so that we took on a few more gigs as a duo with this set up. I used to do a fair bit of work with these guys as a conga player ("player"?? hmmm....well, debatable, but you get the drift).....but I think the fact that I'd at least played with him before helped me 'find my feet' in this situation.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself but was always mindful of holding back a little so as not to drown out the single acoustic and vox.
 

wolfgang

Senior Member
Thanks for the comments guys! So far this is very encouraging.

Fabo - I would love to hear your band! Sounds like you've got a good thing going there.

cap'n - I plan on using my Bonham set for this band. So there should be plenty of resonance, as well as some low end from the size of the drums. I figure it'd make us sound fuller.

DED - Sorry to hear that guy never returned your call. Sounds like there was some potential in that.
 

cap'n

Member
That sounds great. Big drums are definitely a great contributer. The drummer for The Gay Blades runs a 26" bass drum with a 16" floor tom. Two cymbals, a crash ride and his hats. I'm assuming he runs a 14" snare too. Their sound is full as can be. I think the guitarist uses bass pedals ala Jack White.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFV9fiwM7po
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Here's one covering a moldy oldie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHc727lEA6U

In addition to previous suggestions, the Japandroids: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zychqu5CGZ4

I guess Fripp and Eno don't count :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REkbY-eEuus

My band's singer and I are on the lookout for a good guitarist with whom we can form a 3-piece unit - two instruments and a singer, which is similar. More freedom, smaller footprint, less organisation - both logistical and musical, fewer tastes to cater to ... bring it on.
 

Fabo

Member
This is us as of last year, but on the recording the guitarist did 2 tracks and added a bass himself, so I guess we cheated a little lol. But we do sound better live. Since we've only really played small places so far (i.e. bars) we don't really need everything miced since people are close and there's a great balance of sound.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOQ3UJf7Bic
 

Frost

Silver Member
Depends on what kind of music as to the kind of sound you want to accomplish.

Two piece Black Metal is common, but far from most peoples cup of tea.

Based off the fact a fair few guys have mentioned The Black Keys or similar blues orientated rock artists, I just thought I'd plug an excellent Australian band.

The Blackwater Fever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnlGgNA2JMw
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I would also add Middle Class Rut as a pretty cool 2-piece. They add other instruments in the studio, but live it's just the two of them (guitar and drums, both sing).

I was in a 2 piece for a few years. It was ridiculously loud wall-of-noise guitar playing, but really well done. Sonically, there's a lot of room for drums to really define things in that kind of a setup. That made it really fun. I'd do it again.
 
One of the bands I toured with this summer was a drummer/guitarist combo with tracks to cover everything else...they ended up having one the best sounds (in no small part to the tracks either) because the guitarist only had to lock into the drummer. I should mention that the guitarist was also lead vocals, but that's probably not a surprise. They had a great pop-rock sound.

With a different style you could probably go without tracks, anything with energy probably needs at least bass though.
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
Certainly the money per band member goes up when you play gigs!
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
My main band is a 2 piece at the moment. It's me on drums and my friend on piano, we both sing. This has been a very interesting endeavor because my the singer is a very lilting soprano with not a lot of power but is an absolute beast on the piano. It's been an interesting exercise in dynamics I have to exercise restraint as to not drown her out but really lay down a fat boisterous groove on instrumental parts and when I sing.

Really big plus on the setup times and all that jazz. It's a lot easier to work with just one person but you have to be a good creative fit or it'll never work.
 

thechief7676

Senior Member
Check out JEFF the brotherhood.

My band got to share the same stage with them this past summer. These guys are awesome. Plus the guitar player was rockin 3 strings!
 

Frost

Silver Member
Certainly the money per band member goes up when you play gigs!

Even more if you can find a way to ditch the guitarist and still sound cool. I have friends in a seven piece band, they don't make much money.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I played ina two-piece for about five years and we even put out a CD. I had a fusion drumkit with congas and hand percussion, while the singer/songwriter played guitar and a Clavinova. He could split the keyboard and play acoustic bass with his left hand and piano with his right. If you are both skilled musicians and play well together, you can certainly do it. Occasionally we'd have a guest singer or harmonica player sit in.

The logistics of everything are much easier and the pay goes much further.
 
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