Two guitars, no bass.

moracnoymoracnoy Opening Act
edited November 2009 in The Rock Band Network
I was thinking about trying to chart some songs that my various relatives have put out, and I ran into a problem. My aunt does vocals and guitar style music, and I think people might like it on Rock Band. But, It might be annoying to people to have only two instruments, so I thought it might be possible to chart the second, more rhythm-like guitar that's on some of the songs, to bass.

Is this flat-out not allowed? Or would it be allowed under certain circumstances?

Comments

  • DanB91DanB91 Rising Star
    edited October 2009
  • shadowracershadowracer Rising Star
    edited October 2009
    It would totally not work.
  • MarsPhoenixMarsPhoenix Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    I know the circumstances are different in this case, but could Harmonix comment on Big Bottom, since Guitar is playing a Bass there? I know that Guitar is the 'more important' instrument in RB and that the Bass in question is played as a lead guitar in ways, but I think it would be good to note this as an exception in the docs, or something.
  • MarklefordMarkleford Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    From Rock Band Network - Developer Quotes and Clarification:
    HMXEnosity said:
    We've done some creative charting before. Piano or Organ solo on Guitar for example. I think it will be encouraged as long as it's tasteful. I have a song coming out for RBN where a bleepy synth is authored to guitar. There's no guitar in the track so it's tasteful.
    I don't think people are right in saying "not allowed" or "would totally not work".

    The key, in fact, is whether it *does* work, namely for the benefit of the players. Does it make sense? Is it more fun to play than sitting out entirely? And (as HMXEnosity indicates) is it done tastefully?

    Historically, HMX has charted alternate instruments primarily when one of the usual parts is not represented in the original song, or if such a part is minimal when another more "active" instrument is available.

    If the original song has no bass, but *does* have two guitar parts, then tracking both guitar parts makes a heck of a lot of sense to me. Otherwise, you're making one person sit out of a four person game, *and* eliminating it for set-lists entirely if you have two guitarists. That's no fun, which is the purpose of the game, remember?

    - m
  • Alright_ComputerAlright_Computer Butt Neck
    edited October 2009
    To the people saying it's "not allowed", check out the Sleater-Kinney song on the main Rock Band platform. No bass, just two guitars, but it has a playable "bass" part in the game. As long as it's tasteful, like HMXEnosity said, it should work. That means no weedly-weedly guitar solos charted to bass, but if the second guitar is mostly low notes, then you should go for it.

    Oh, and like others have said, they charted bass to guitar on Big Bottom, so it would make sense that the reverse would be true as well.
  • UltraceUltrace Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    Alright_Computer;3138629 said:
    To the people saying it's "not allowed", check out the Sleater-Kinney song on the main Rock Band platform. No bass, just two guitars, but it has a playable "bass" part in the game. As long as it's tasteful, like HMXEnosity said, it should work. That means no weedly-weedly guitar solos charted to bass, but if the second guitar is mostly low notes, then you should go for it.

    Oh, and like others have said, they charted bass to guitar on Big Bottom, so it would make sense that the reverse would be true as well.
    Sleater-Kinney is different; the second guitar for them was played as a bass. In the OP's case, he is talking about using a guitar which is played as a guitar and putting it on bass charting. Unless the guitar is downtuned or otherwise effect-ed to make it sound like a bass, it won't be allowed. Can we say, in black and white, what's not allowed by the rules? No, but we can say what won't pass review if it's put out there, and a second straight-up guitar charted on bass won't.
  • MarsPhoenixMarsPhoenix Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    Yeah, it'd be nice to get something official. If the guitar is low enough, I think it should get the okay.
  • Alright_ComputerAlright_Computer Butt Neck
    edited October 2009
    Ultrace;3138671 said:
    Sleater-Kinney is different; the second guitar for them was played as a bass. In the OP's case, he is talking about using a guitar which is played as a guitar and putting it on bass charting. Unless the guitar is downtuned or otherwise effect-ed to make it sound like a bass, it won't be allowed. Can we say, in black and white, what's not allowed by the rules? No, but we can say what won't pass review if it's put out there, and a second straight-up guitar charted on bass won't.
    Well, I think we'd actually have to hear the songs to see if the second guitar is "bass-y" enough to pass peer review. I was just saying that it could work in theory.
  • moracnoymoracnoy Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    Thanks for the responses! I'm not sure if it would work yet either, but I did think it was odd that the first two people to comment said it absolutely wouldn't be allowed. I thought it would be like the other people said, and if there was no bass at all, and the other guitar was bassy enough then it might work.
  • UltraceUltrace Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    Alright_Computer;3138808 said:
    Well, I think we'd actually have to hear the songs to see if the second guitar is "bass-y" enough to pass peer review. I was just saying that it could work in theory.
    That's exactly what I'm saying -- if the guitar sound is modified enough to pass for something like bass, then it will probably make it through; the majority of reviewers would accept the sound as a bass. This is the theory. But if the sound were distinctly guitar, there would be an issue.
  • UltraceUltrace Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    moracnoy;3138895 said:
    Thanks for the responses! I'm not sure if it would work yet either, but I did think it was odd that the first two people to comment said it absolutely wouldn't be allowed. I thought it would be like the other people said, and if there was no bass at all, and the other guitar was bassy enough then it might work.
    Admittedly, your original post said nothing about making the second guitar sound like a bass; on reading it, I would have assumed you were just talking about slotting a plain old guitar in there, as I believe they did.
  • MarklefordMarkleford Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    Ultrace;3138671 said:
    Can we say, in black and white, what's not allowed by the rules? No, but we can say what won't pass review if it's put out there, and a second straight-up guitar charted on bass won't.
    Well, either it *will* be in the rules, or *anyone* will have the opportunity to vote how they'd like in the peer review. While you might fail it, I think I would pass it, because this example passes the "tasteful" guideline, in my eyes.

    Given that HMX has charted harmonica and turntable to guitar in the past, I'm not getting the feeling that they'll be too uptight about it. :)

    However, until HMX themselves says that something *won't* be allowed, I don't think that anyone else can say "no" for sure. The above quote from HMXEnosity leads me to believe that common sense should win out, and that if there was no original bass part then your options should be open.

    We'll just have to wait and see if it's clarified.

    - m
  • TheNobleRobotTheNobleRobot Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    This is one area where the failing is in the design of the game. I remember that Guitar Hero III's two-player mode would have some songs be "Guitar/Bass" and some songs be "LeadGuitar/RhythmGuitar," which makes sense depending on the content in the song. If the rhythm guitar is more fun to play than the bass, what's wrong with excluding the bass from the gameplay, even if it is in the song?

    I would like for future RB games to allow for this, and even allow for 5-part songs. Most singers in real rock bands also play guitar, so I think it's about time that RB caught up and added a rhythm guitar lane. I was really disappointed when Beatles:RB didn't have this, seeing as how they did add 3-part harmonies to make it more realistic (kudos, of course). Of course, I can see how this would be difficult to do (it would require changing the midi spec, after all, and raise backward compatibility issues), and as GH5 shows, having 4 note highways on the screen can indeed get crowded (although keeping it optional is key).

    However, at the very least, in the here and now, there should be no insistence that the second guitar controller must be a bass or "bass-y" track.

    For RBN, I think that the standards for this kind of thing are going to be set by the "peers" in peer review, and that's us. So I say chart it for Lead/Rhythm and don't look back.
  • MarsPhoenixMarsPhoenix Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    4 lanes on the bottom screen would get rather crowded, and inclusion of a Rhythm section means that the Lead guitar would not have any of that section in it, which would make Lead a rather boring part in many songs. Good idea on paper, but there's too many problems with it.
  • UltraceUltrace Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    Markleford;3139235 said:
    Well, either it *will* be in the rules, or *anyone* will have the opportunity to vote how they'd like in the peer review. While you might fail it, I think I would pass it, because this example passes the "tasteful" guideline, in my eyes.
    So you would give a pass to a song where a guitar was clearly put in as a bass? I believe that's a wrong move and I hope you're in the vast minority for it.

    What Harmonix has done in the past with charting things to guitar was based on the additional instrument being the driving sound in the song in the absence of guitar; they charted the strings to bass in a Pearl Jam song because the string was playing the part of bass there. In all cases that I'm aware of, what was being charted effectively took the place of the instrument it was put into. That's the difference between what Harmonix has done and what's proposed here.

    I hope that either documentation or the will of the majority will give a little clearer definition than HMXEnosity provided. Charting rhythm or backup guitar to bass (as opposed to charting farts, or the death screams of kittens or something) might be tasteful; that doesn't mean it should be done.
  • MarklefordMarkleford Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    Ultrace;3140367 said:
    So you would give a pass to a song where a guitar was clearly put in as a bass? I believe that's a wrong move and I hope you're in the vast minority for it.
    Well, if there were no bass *at all* in the song at all, I would certainly approve that decision.

    I play real bass too, so I certainly would *never* say that a rhythm guitar part would be preferable if there's a bass available. However, as a *gamer* I'd rather play a rhythm guitar part than sit out of the song entirely as the bassist. (...let alone the fact that HMX currently forces you to exit Quickplay mode and log out the bassist for the track to be available in the setlist!)
    they charted the strings to bass in a Pearl Jam song because the string was playing the part of bass there. In all cases that I'm aware of, what was being charted effectively took the place of the instrument it was put into.
    Yes, also similarly in Tap's "Saucy Jack", where they charted tuba. Certainly, where there's "low frequency content" to be leveraged, I certainly see it as preferable.

    However, for my particular stake in this, I'm charting a prog song where both the bassist and guitarist switch to acoustic guitars for a duet in the middle section of the song. At the very least, I'm glad that the bass will still be playing bass for the rock-out sections, but I'd *like* the bass-gamer to be able to play the second guitar part, as the *real* bass player actually does, rather than sitting out and twiddling thumbs.

    Think about Geddy Lee playing his double-neck Rickenbacker bass/guitar in the classic Rush concert video "Exit Stage Left". It would still be still the same player, but part of the song would be on guitar. (You can even buy a double-neck in the RB2 Rock Shop. ;))
    That's the difference between what Harmonix has done and what's proposed here.
    However, we also have to give some leeway for the fact that the Rock Band landscape is changing, particularly in incorporating a much wider array of genres. What "Harmonix has done" in the past has *also* been to only use songs with 4 traditional rock instruments, but that has also fallen by the wayside over time, and for RBN they have *explicitly* stated that you only need *one* instrument to publish a track.

    Mind, *I* certainly won't buy a track with one instrument. Who would? To me, RB is about having fun with as many people as possible. If that means supporting an alternate part for a non-existent bass line? I'm totally there.

    Besides, if people despise playing other instruments under the role of "bass player", they can always sit out. Nobody is forcing them to play an alternate part.
    I hope that either documentation or the will of the majority will give a little clearer definition than HMXEnosity provided.
    Yes, it definitely calls out for clarification. But that's my major beef here: I don't think people can give a definitive "not allowed" answer until it's been clarified. It is simply misleading to claim that anyone knows for sure, given the above quote from a HMX representative.

    All we can say is whether or not *we*, as peer reviewers, would allow it. And even in that case, we have no idea how these "votes" are weighted, or whether an "appeal" process can allow a track to pass by a few negative votes.

    - m
  • JormJorm Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    I'm with Markleford on this. I intend to be a part of the review process, and focus on reviewing bass as that's my primary instrument.

    We know that HMX has been creative in the past when the situation called for it. I don't think playing rhythm guitar as the bass part in the complete absence of any other more appropriate instrument track, lacks 'taste'.

    Perhaps things do need to be further clarified by HMX.

    My order of precedence would be:
    If an actual bass guitar is present, it should be charted.

    If no bass guitar present, chart the instrument that most closely serves the function of a bass in the song- be it tuba or organ or whatever. Do not slap in the rhythm guitar here if there's another more appropriate instrument available.

    If there's no instrument serving the function of the bass, chart a second guitar (if present) to bass. Give bass something, rather than nothing.

    I'd rather more parts playable than adhering to a purist's position. Non-bass to bass should be a rare occurrence, but if the situation calls for it, why not?

    Now, if HMX comes out and expressly states that this is a no go, then of course what they say goes.
  • DanB91DanB91 Rising Star
    edited October 2009
    moracnoy;3138895 said:
    Thanks for the responses! I'm not sure if it would work yet either, but I did think it was odd that the first two people to comment said it absolutely wouldn't be allowed. I thought it would be like the other people said, and if there was no bass at all, and the other guitar was bassy enough then it might work.
    Sorry about not giving reason. I cannot find the thread now, but I read that bass must cannot be a track to "catch" any other instrument, which I would say is what you are asking to do.
  • TheNobleRobotTheNobleRobot Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    MarsPhoenix;3140076 said:
    4 lanes on the bottom screen would get rather crowded, and inclusion of a Rhythm section means that the Lead guitar would not have any of that section in it, which would make Lead a rather boring part in many songs. Good idea on paper, but there's too many problems with it.
    I think you misunderstand my position. I'm trying to say that the game should be flexible to the needs of a song. You seem to be insisting that there must be *one* arrangement for all songs. I don't disagree that some songs would have a boring lead part if the rhythm part were charted to a second lane, but I'm not saying that you *have* to have a second guitar lane for every song. I'm just saying that a future RB game can easily allow more than one configuration, especially if Harmonix is serious about expanding the DLC library, and particularly to accommodate the future potential of RBN.

    I don't see what's wrong with Rock Band 3 allowing 2 guitar parts and a bass part if they're all interesting (Smashing Pumpkins, anyone). If the player has an HDTV, why *not* allow 4 lanes? Now, if they're playing on a 16" SDTV, 3 lanes is already too many, and no one is forcing anyone to with that many players.

    And if a song has two guitars but they're not interesting enough to be separate lanes, then we can still just author one "combined" guitar lane as always (hell, why not allow the game to have 3 guitar tracks, lead, rhythm, and combined, so it can be played with either one or two guitar players?).

    But... assuming that the game spec never changes, and sticking to the RBN debate, I still don't see what's wrong with authoring the 2 "most interesting parts" to the 2 guitar controllers, depending what's actually in the song. The most interesting part should be charted to guitar and the second most interesting part should be charted to bass. Exceptions can be made at the author's discretion to preserve verisimilitude, so a super-interesting piano part won't be charted to guitar if there is a nearly as interesting guitar part in the song, of course. Likewise, the bass should be authored to bass as long as it's interesting enough, but I know I have written a few songs where the bass part is repetitive and could *actually* be played with fewer than 5 notes, so why not author the more interesting rhythm guitar part to that controller?

    The only real problem is that the second guitar controller is called "bass" by the game, but I don't get why we can't just ignore that, as long as it serves the gameplay, just as Harmonix has done on occasion.

    Ideally, a song should chart bass to bass and all the guitars to guitar, that should remain the standard, and no one is arguing with that, but for RBN, there are going to be literally *hundreds* of songs where adhering slavishly to that standard will make a less enjoyable gameplay experience. So why do it?
  • HMXMister_GameHMXMister_Game Harmonix Developer
    edited October 2009
    There's no reason we would automatically fail this. Ultimately it's up to the community to decide whether a specific song has adhered to our standards.

    Ultimately, someone is going to be paying money for this song. Our intention is that they have a fun and enjoyable Rock Band experience, and feel that their money was well spent.
  • darknessmoondarknessmoon Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
  • MrOwn1MrOwn1 Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    Im pretty sure if Harmonix has charted:
    Piano
    Harmonica
    Turntable
    Mellotron
    Violin
    Synths
    and BASS (2 bass guitars?) to guitar, then you can chart a rhythm guitar to bass.
  • LuigiHannLuigiHann Stormtrooper
    edited October 2009
    Markleford;3140543 said:
    However, for my particular stake in this, I'm charting a prog song where both the bassist and guitarist switch to acoustic guitars for a duet in the middle section of the song. At the very least, I'm glad that the bass will still be playing bass for the rock-out sections, but I'd *like* the bass-gamer to be able to play the second guitar part, as the *real* bass player actually does, rather than sitting out and twiddling thumbs.
    - m
    I really hope you get to chart and release it like that. It sounds very classy.
  • Tono_FyrTono_Fyr Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    MarsPhoenix;3140076 said:
    4 lanes on the bottom screen would get rather crowded, and inclusion of a Rhythm section means that the Lead guitar would not have any of that section in it, which would make Lead a rather boring part in many songs. Good idea on paper, but there's too many problems with it.
    In real bands, I've never met and/or seen a lead guitarist who didn't play rhythm when he wasn't playing leads. Having a rhythm guitar would not be a reason to remove rhythm sections from lead, because that's simply not how it's done.

    Ultrace: I fail to see why this is such an issue. If you have two guitars, and you don't have any bass, then charting guitar to bass is the only logical step. You're so opposed to it for seemingly no reason at all. "It's bass, and it should always be bass" is just a narrow minded way to chart for this game. Under that thought process, the recent Kansas songs would not be nearly as much fun on guitar. If the guitar isn't 'sacred', then no instrument is.
  • RockAuthorsRockAuthors Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    I see no problem with charting that way, as long as it adheres to the standards, and is fun to play in the end, I personally think it should be acceptable.

    In 3 piece bands, like the late great Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble group, the bass guitar is pretty much the rhythm guitar.
  • DavyinaTogaDavyinaToga Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    MrOwn1;3176622 said:
    Im pretty sure if Harmonix has charted:
    Piano
    Harmonica
    Turntable
    Mellotron
    Violin
    Synths
    and BASS (2 bass guitars?) to guitar, then you can chart a rhythm guitar to bass.
    All those instruments, when assigned to the guitar, still filled the function of the guitar: a melodic contrapuntal line (meaning it's against the vocals, for you non-artists ;) ) and/or solos. That's why Bass has had tuba, synth, etc charted to it, too. That lends itself to the "taste" argument. "Taste" also seems to me, if you have a bass line, then it disappears for a few sections (say 20 seconds worth) then you don't go "HEY BUM HERE'S SOME RHYTHM CHORDS I'LL TOSS OUT FOR YOU BRIEFLY." Keeping it consistent is very important.

    And remember, you can do a little 'creative mixing' for RBN. It's something that every band should know may happen to their songs.
    The docs specify that it's a good idea to bring up the low-mid range on bass to help make it "punch" enough so that the player can hear what they're actually playing. If you want to add the rhythm part to bass, see how it sounds when you bring out those low strings (Think Basitar ;) ). You might be able to get away with it, then.
  • MrOwn1MrOwn1 Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    DavyinaToga;3187851 said:
    All those instruments, when assigned to the guitar, still filled the function of the guitar: a melodic contrapuntal line (meaning it's against the vocals, for you non-artists ;) ) and/or solos. That's why Bass has had tuba, synth, etc charted to it, too. That lends itself to the "taste" argument. "Taste" also seems to me, if you have a bass line, then it disappears for a few sections (say 20 seconds worth) then you don't go "HEY BUM HERE'S SOME RHYTHM CHORDS I'LL TOSS OUT FOR YOU BRIEFLY." Keeping it consistent is very important.

    And remember, you can do a little 'creative mixing' for RBN. It's something that every band should know may happen to their songs.
    The docs specify that it's a good idea to bring up the low-mid range on bass to help make it "punch" enough so that the player can hear what they're actually playing. If you want to add the rhythm part to bass, see how it sounds when you bring out those low strings (Think Basitar ;) ). You might be able to get away with it, then.
    Okay, first off,
    1. If someone does go "HEY MAYBE ILL PUT SUM GITAR ON BASS SOOO IT WONT BE BURING LULZ", then they are freaking ******ed, and
    2. It's called a Baritone. :)

    Other than that, I totally agree.
  • ZiggyXNAMVPZiggyXNAMVP Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    I think it is ******ed to not be able to do two guitars with no bass. :)
  • edited October 2009
    If you have Bass in a song, our authoring rules state that you must author the Bass. It's OK to author two guitars if there isn't a Bass part.
  • ZiggyXNAMVPZiggyXNAMVP Opening Act
    edited October 2009
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