Twin Guitar Sound: Tips and Lesson For Intermediate Players










One of the beauties of the electric guitar is that it lends itself so well to be blended with another guitar, it can act almost like a hornsection when it is put in context with another electric guitar. Off course, it all depends on the player and what he/she knows about the instrument.

               What is the Twin GuitarSound and How Do You Get It?

The Twin GuitarSound is simply the sound of two guitars playing two different parts which work together as one guitar. In other words: Two guitars are playing, but you  hear one sound because the sound “mashes” together to create one riff or chord.

    You can create that sound by:  # Playing Chords “against” each other: One guitarplayer plays one chord, the other guitar plays a totally different chord, but related to chord one.

                                                # One guitar plays a chord and holds back, while guitar One holds back, guitar Two kicks in with a riff, or part of a chord, so you hear guitar One and Two as one guitarsound.

                                                # Both guitars play same chord but in a different postion on the fretboard, Gtr One could play powerchord on low E and A string while Gtr. Two plays same chord but now as a triad (= chord with three tones) over the Top E,B and G string. The result is that Gtr.One sounds bassy while Gtr. Two sounds bright and clear.

                           When Using Effects:

It is really easy to make two guitars stand out of each other by using effects, one guitar could use distortion for the powerchords, while guitar two is played with clean and bright sound. Instead of clean you could think like: Use chorus, phase, flange or echo for guitar Two. Anything you can do to make the two guitars stand out will help. It does help if the parts themself already stand out, that is, before you start thinking about effects and other equipmentchoises!


                           Using Different Guitars:

A guitar equipped with humbuckers will match very well with a single coil equipped guitar. For example a Les Paul and a Stratocaster will match very well, but you still need to be carefull with the guitarparts, make sure the part  the Les Paul plays will not not drown out the parts of the Stratocaster.

Once you get used to this kind of thinking you will start to see an infinite amount of possibilities, you can even use different pick-up positions, think about what each guitar is playing and find the best, matching pick-up postion for this sound. It also helps if you can hear the sound in your head before you play, this will save you a lot of time and arguments with your bandmates.

Experiment as much as you can with all these different approaches to find out what works for you, keep things clear and playful.


Finally I have included one example of a Two guitarpart: Guitar Two Plays Powerchords over low E and A, while Guitar One Plays notes and chords using D, G  and B string. The Part reads as follows:




                    Cmaj7 C6               G

          E  ———————   ——————–

          B  ———————    –1—- 3———-

          G –5–5—4—-2—–    –2—–4———-   = Guitar One

          D –5–5—5—-2—–    –3—–5———–

          A ———————-      ——————-

          E ———————-      ——————–  

Count :     1   and 2     34                12     34


             C5                                F5   G5

          D-5–5—5–5–5-5-5-5-  ——————–

          A-3–3—3–3–3-3-3-3-  –3—-5———–  = Guitar Two

          E————————-   –1—-3———–

Count:    1and2and 3and4and      12    34


About the Chords:

Guitar One: Fret 4 Gstring creates the Maj7, Fret2 Gstring creates the 6th. The voicing for the F and G in the second bar are my own example, you can play them any way you like as long as you avoid playing chords on the low E and A, this to create contrast between Guitar One and Two.

Guitar Two: All chords are powerchords, a powerchord is a chord existing of two notes: The Root and the Perfect 5th. They are called powerchord because the chord gives a bassy, powerful sound. It is possible to create riffs and melodies with just powerchords. Most well-known powerchordriff is “Smoke on the Water”.


When you play the parts experiment with use of effects, guitar One could be left clean while guitar Two could use distortion.


Happy Playing and See You Next Time,