Had another practice with the band for the fun day in September. Pete the keyboard player was out again this evening as his wife's just had a baby. Jackie the sax player was off too, so it was just guitar, bass and drums plus 3 vocalists.
Last time I found it really hard work - Pete covers a lot of space, and is one of the few players I feel happy that when I stop playing everything will hold together and carry on. But tonight, instead of doing the keyboard-heavy pieces we worked through a bunch of other stuff. The practice paid off, and it sounded, if not tight, then still pretty decent all the same. We need at least one more session to sort out starts and finishes and just run through the whole set, but it's definitely coming together.
It's interesting playing this style of stuff - largely funk/reggae/pop with a strong disco feel to some of the songs (there was a bit of YMCA going on behind 'I will survive' tonight). In fact I had to really fight the tendency to put space into rythms for 'Kiss Me', where a strong acoustic guitar feel is needed and chords all need to ring on into each other. The one problem is that I'm playing so much rythm guitar that my hands have virtually forgotten how to solo.
I used Amelia (she's the cream A15) for the first time with this band. I've replaced the pickup selector switch as the old one was so loose that 1 knock would make it change too easily. It sounds like a rich yet cutting strat, which is just the right tone for this kind of music: fat yet a little clinging. The new red and black strat does the clinging and cutting well but isn't fat enough. My No.1 strat is really fat but doesn't cut or cling enough, but Amelia does this really well - tone heading well toward P90 country. I wonder what they did to those PUs to make her sound so juicy?
Still debating which other guitar to use for the rock work. JJ is great playingwise but doesn't have the power to really push a high-gain solo. I do have some other PUs that I'm tempted to try in the R/B strat bridge for high gain. Otherwise it may well fall to the A20 (the black washburn next to Amelia) as that guitar really sings, even with moderate amounts of gain. Maybe I'll take all 3, as I plan to use the R/B strat for the rock'n'roll band (for those Buddy Holly numbers). We'll see.