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  1. #1

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    How do you guys go about arranging two rhythm guitars playing bossa behind a horn player taking the melody? This is a recurring jam type situation, so we're not finely enough in tune to hold down a bossa rhythm guitar in different registers, I've tried that. I've experimented with fitting in a single note rhythm part, that kinda works. Laying out is an option of course. But how do you approach a situation like this?

    Bossa seem to favour a particular rhythmic approach which to an intermediate like myself feels a little constraining when I'm trying to find a way for us to not get in each other's ways. i find it much easier to arrange/edit my playing on a straight ahead tune


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  3. #2

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    But why two guitars both doing rhythm?

    Personally, I wouldn't do it. Two guitars only doing rhythm is difficult. First, you need to be absolutely crisp otherwise it'll sound a mess. Second, you'll have to vary the sounds otherwise it's going to sound all the same every tune.

    I suppose the obvious thing is that one guitar puts down the basic pattern. Then the other one comps randomly over that with little patterns, much like a jazz comper would do with a band, playing inversions higher up, of course. And it would have to sound authentic. Or he could pick the notes like a folk guitar to make patterns. Or a combination. Or he can take a solo.

    It'll be hard, you'll have to be very good. Being Brazilian would help a lot and I'm not joking. I've never seen anything for two guitars both doing Bossa rhythm at the same time.

    Sorry, hope others can come up with something more positive. Best of luck.

  4. #3

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    Tell me why you want two guitars both doing rhythm.

  5. #4

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    The basic - traditional - Bossa rhythm pattern is for ONE guitar only. A second guitar would take on the role of the optional keyboard in a group setting : instead of the punctuated 8th note pattern you could lay down the chord like on the "one" , let it ring - on a faster tune like "one note samba" or "Triste" that usually works but with a slower tempo you have to thin it out. Work out a counter-line when you're preparing for the session, some sort of arranged parts- you'll learn a lot !

  6. #5

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    Use the bar method.

    One of you plays the bossa rhythm.

    The other one goes to the bar and has a drink.

  7. #6

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    2nd guitar could play bass patterns, perhaps with an octave pedal. Otherwise, orchestrations; listen to Ogerman with Gilberto. Hopefully rhythm guitar is nylon-string, then the electric guitar would have a sonic space for itself.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    2nd guitar could play bass patterns, perhaps with an octave pedal. Otherwise, orchestrations; listen to Ogerman with Gilberto. Hopefully rhythm guitar is nylon-string, then the electric guitar would have a sonic space for itself.
    I was counting on that - anything else would make it very hard to pull off. You do need two different types of guitars ..... when you listen to some slower Bossa tunes by Sergio Mendes, Ivan Lins, Gal Costa etc. you'll almost always hear the nylonstring guitar
    back in the mix along with a sparse sprinkling of a wiry Strat somewhere ....

  9. #8

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    The OP doesn't say if these two guitars and a horn player are part of a band or alone. Is there a bassist? Are there other instruments as well? What's the set-up?

    The second guitar could do something with the bassline, I'd thought of that, but most bossa bass patterns are just strict 1 and 3 (as far as I know) so it wouldn't add much to the basic pattern. Maybe I'm wrong there. Usually, of course, there's a drum beat going on too.

    But I do know you've got to be pretty damn good to do any of it effectively. It really has to be spot on.

  10. #9

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    There's only one guitar on this and the bass isn't playing 1 and 3. It's not easy stuff.

    Last edited by ragman1; 11-13-2020 at 07:59 PM.

  11. #10

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    This is done. Listen to Djavan, Serrado, for example.

    One idea is to create one comping pattern out of two comping instruments.

    Typically, one plays pulse and one plays ornamentation. Say the pulse guitar is doing Joao Gilberto's pattern 1 2 3+ (thinking in 4/4). The other guitar then plays long chords an eighth note before each chord change. Both can elaborate from there, cautiously.

    Or, you decide on a clave (aka tamborim pattern) and divide it up between the comping instruments. Everybody has to play predictably and sparsely, or mud will ensue.

    Perhaps curiously, this may be easiest during a bass solo. At that point, the drummer usually quiets down, you don't have to worry about conflicting with the bass line, and the comping instruments can hear each other really well (which isn't always so easy with full drums, horn and two comping instruments). So, you can divide the bar up. One instrument plays in the first half of the bar, the other instrument in the second. That's pretty basic, but, before long, you'll start hearing it and be able to embellish. The drummer should be phrasing with the underlying clave (tamborim) of the tune and the comping instruments need to phrase with that too. BTW, a Brazilian may tell you that there is no "Bossa Nova beat" but, rather, every song is different.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 11-13-2020 at 06:54 PM.

  12. #11

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    Check out these three .... so nice.
    Malone just taps , simple and effective.

  13. #12

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  14. #13

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    For something like Blue Bossa, I don't think you need to play a strict bossa nova rhythm. A samba would do. One guitar can hold down a simple samba with beats on one, one &, and four and. It repeats every bar so is predictable. The other guitar is then free to add the odd spatial or arpeggiated chord here and there, quietly, being sure not to mess up the pulse or get in the way of hte other guitar. Or simply play bass ie root and 5th on beat one and three. If the bass is muted with the right hand this can add a nice bassy, percussive effect.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    Check out these three .... so nice.
    Malone just taps , simple and effective.
    Romero Lubambo is one of the great Brazilian guitarists. Check out Trio Da Paz, among many other things he has done.

    I like that Mr. Malone, no slouch himself, deferred to Romero on the comping. Herb Ellis used to do something similar with Oscar.

  16. #15

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    You might be interested to check also these three, or any of them in duets (for example with Nelson Faria):

  17. #16

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  18. #17

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  19. #18

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    Here's two guitars, both comping, backing a vocalist. I think this is an example of the two guitar thing being done well.

  20. #19

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    I think if you understand a little bit about samba it can help. For instance guitar normally plays Surdo (bass drum/thumb) and Tamborim (high drum/fingers) patterns, but you could add in a more florid high register Agogo (bells) or Cavaco (soprano guitar/ukulele) pattern over the top.

    Just make sure you don’t get your patterns crossed and it should work out.

    I would be careful not to double the bass (surdo) part?

  21. #20

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    For ensembles single notes and octave figures often a good choice

  22. #21

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    First guitarist plays the strict basic one bar bossa pattern continuously. The other guitarist plays fancier comping rhythms to ornament around the basic pattern. Often soft double time samba type stuff works.