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In this post, I was given some tips on arranging electric guitars. However, I would like to do further reading on the subject (spreads, range, register, coupling, doubling, unisons, etc), and I can't find anything outside of the realm of jazz/big band and classical music. I am wondering: is there another stringed instrument (orchestral) that is similar enough to an electric guitar that I can use it as a proxy for an electric guitar? For example, if I study orchestration for "strings", would I learn a thing or two that can be applied to the electric guitar?

FYI, i'm working with a pop/rock setup--electric bass, two electric guitars, a vocal, and drum kit.

Thanks!

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  • When you say “orchestration”, what other instruments do you want to have the electric guitar playing along with? Generally orchestration is a study of using different instruments together. May 4 at 2:14
  • How you arrange music for guitar, bass and drums depends very much on music style; perhaps it's one of important style defining elements. In this view, your question is quite broad. May 4 at 2:24
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Orchestrating the instruments in a rock band is pretty straightforward. Generally the guitars play above the bass. The challenges are not invading the bass territory and not drowning out the singer.

In terms of how to study it, the best answer is by analyzing the existing literature. Bands like Led Zeppelin (in recordings), Metallica, and AC/DC have very effective multi-guitar arrangements. Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden also come to mind - “Fell On Black Days” by Soundgarden stands out in my mind in terms of its guitar arrangement.

Also the Eagles and some songs by The Beatles. Pop music in the 1980s and from today are less likely to have multiple guitar parts, so I wouldn’t look too closely there. Country music is another place with more lush guitar arrangements. Also Eric Clapton - I think “Layla” has five or more guitar parts.

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  • "The challenges are not invading the bass territory" If you studied the music I listen to, it might seem that the challenge is "we keep running out of notes on the low end of the guitar". And no matter how poorly you arrange your guitars, the bass will still have an entire octave below the guitars, unless you use some unusual alternate tunings.
    – Edward
    May 4 at 20:57

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