From jazz combos to rock bands, there are tons of different ways to make up a musical group. Whether you have a 15-person setup with a full horn line, or are performing with one other friend, there are four essential musical components you need to cover to fill out your sound.
You need a bass instrument to “hold down the low end”. While this can be a traditional upright bass or bass guitar, you can cover it with nearly any instrumentalist who specializes in the bass clef, like a jazz trombonist new York city ny. The bass instrument helps drive the drummer’s rhythm and provides melodic cues to the lead.
Driving percussion that keeps a steady beat dictates the tempo and groove of a song. While a full trap set is best, any percussion instrument can perform this function, from a tambourine to a conga drum. For guitar-based duos, it is possible to serve the function of a drummer with percussive rhythm guitar playing or gently keeping the beat by hitting the body of the guitar with the palm of the hand.
Speaking of rhythm guitar, it’s also important to have a “comp” instrument, usually piano or guitar. The function of comp-playing is to build on the melody of a bassline by playing the full chords that determine the key of the song. While you don’t “need” two comp instruments, having them just builds a bigger sound and can present opportunities for interesting musical interplay.
The lead instrument provides the melody. This can be a trumpet, sax, guitar, piano, or vocal. Comp instruments can take a break and serve as leads in smaller groups like rock trios as well. The lead is out in front, and “carries” the tune.
It’s possible to perform all these essentials with one or two people, as long roles are designated in each song and the bases are covered. Now, build your band and get playing!