How to Play Fill-In With the Guitar
This information is for playing good country music.
I’ve been teaching country guitar lessons for several years now and one of the most asked questions is,” how do you play behind a singer?”
If you are the lead guitar player you only want to put your runs and fill-ins where there are spaces between the lyrics. You can play chords while the singer is singing, but not loud enough to cover the singer up.
Now the next question is “what do I play in those spaces?” Very important question. One way is, use your imagination and create some notes that create the feeling’ of the mood of the song. You may try bending the strings for effects. Another way is, play little runs that create the mood. (Like Grady Martin did on El Paso). Most people don’t know how to do this. They just play notes all the time while the singer is singing. This is wrong!!!!
You never cover up a singer or for that matter other instruments. Usually each player knows when he is supposed to play. You switch off on verses or the bridge of a song. This is where practice comes in. You work out the details with the other players. Like guitar take the first verse, steel take the second, fiddle take the bridge. You can make this for every song in the set or change it up. Sometimes the steel will sound better on the bridge.
Most important don’t cover the singer up if you want to keep a job.
Can you imagine having a jam session with 4 lead players all trying to play at the same time? That is not music, that just making noise. It just does not work.
Listen to the country recordings and pay attention to the fill-ins.
While the guitar is playing you don’t hear the steel. While the steel is playing you don’t hear the lead guitar.
I hope this information helps in your playing.