Practice routine

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bmrj1, Jan 20, 2014.


  1. Bmrj1

    Bmrj1

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Hey guys I know you've probably seen this question a million times but what do YOU do during an accomplished practice session?? I find myself getting lost so maybe I could get some ideas. Thanks :D
  2. Rev J

    Rev J

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Location:
    Berkeley, Ca.
    I've had to take a break for medical reasons but here was my practice regimen before I had my accident.

    Some say there are 3 basic elements to music. Harmony, Melody, and Rhythm. I disagree to me there are 4. Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, and Technique. Plus I usually add Groove and Repertoire.

    Here's how I break down my practice with materials. By the way I'm doing this on a 6 string bass with a looper.

    Harmony: 3 and 4 octave 7th arpeggios. Since C Major 7 is the one chord in C and the four chord in G I loop chords from the key of C or G and practice arpeggios against them listening for tension and release.

    Melody: 3 and 4 octave pentatonic scales starting on each note of the pentatonic. Since there is are no half steps in pentatonic scales the notes of a C Major Pentatonic are all in the keys of C, F, and G so I do the same thing I did with the arpeggios with those keys.

    Rhythm: I took lessons from Kai Eckhardt a few years ago and he gave me some Polyrythm exercises to work from that have every combination of accents from eighth notes to thirty second notes.

    Technique: Alex Websters "Extreme Metal Bass". Even though I don't play in that genre I kind of view it as going to the gym. It takes a lot of technique to pump out sixteenth notes at 160+ BPM. Then I also use Joe Santarres Slap Bass book from Berklee starting from the pentatonic exercises in the back. Once I've done that I'll add Victor Wootens Chapter from "Bass Lessons With The Greats" to bump it up a level.

    Groove: I'm working through The Collective's book "Afro-Caribbean & Brazilian Rhythms For The Bass" and "Afro-Cuban Bass Grooves" by Manny Patino, and Jorge Moreno. I have the Clave Patterns programmed into my Drum Machine along with the drum grooves from the Collective book. First I play the bass lines with just the Clave going until I feel how the bass line locks in then I play them with the full drum pattern. Usually I'll play the examples in the Collective book then the examples of the same type of groove from the Patino book. To me Afro-Cuban etc. rhythms are the back bone of most Western music so that helps me keep the roots and will help me understand all the rest of the music I may encounter.

    Repertoire: I have books of transcriptions of Jaco, and Stanley Clarke plus various back issues of Bass Player. For this section I'll work through Jaco, Stanley and any other thing that interests me. With the Jaco and Stanley stuff I start with the slowest stuff and work my way to the faster stuff. Given that both players sometimes use the bass as a Groove Instrument or a Melody Instrument it gives me a balanced view of the instrument.

    C/S,
    Rev J
  3. Bmrj1

    Bmrj1

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Wow! Thank you man! How long did that take? If I may ask..
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    Another way to look at it is the old wedding saying, "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue". So your practice routine would be to warm up on something familiar that you know you can play well without a great effort. Then get to work on whatever is coming up that you have to be prepared for, or the next step in technique or music knowledge. After that try some music that you might have heard that has nothing to do with bass, like a commercial theme song or the melody of something you know from childhood or a trombone or cello solo. After that relax and play some music that fits a soulful mood. Something that reminds you of why you are a musician. That way, after you put the instrument up, you'll be looking forward to your next practice session.
  5. Bmrj1

    Bmrj1

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    That's another great approach. I'll be trying both of your ideas. Thanks so much
  6. Rev J

    Rev J

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Location:
    Berkeley, Ca.
    Usually about 2 hours. I'd do the Harmony, Melody, and Rhythm portion in the morning. The Technique, Groove, and Repertoire portion in the evening.

    C/S,
    Rev J
  7. Nephilymbass

    Nephilymbass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    Fayetteville Ft Bragg NC
    Lately i really only practice maybe once or twice a week and any other time i pick up a bass it's basically playing unplugged just to keep my hands in shape.

    Our band practices are pretty organized. We've been together for over a decade and eventually came up with a formula for practice that works for everyone. We always start with one or two warm up songs that are easy to play. Then we spend time writing songs and sharing ideas. Take a break and talk and often eat, make any changes to the set list . Then we round out practice by running through our set just like we will onstage, crowd interaction and everything is rehearsed.

    For practicing by myself its normally plugging into my pod hd connected to my laptop and just going through YouTube stuff i can find. Usually its lesson type videos where I'm specifically trying to learn something new
  8. zonoluc

    zonoluc

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Great suggestions here. To keep my playing sharp, I'll often put on a radio station and play along with something unfamiliar. Regardless of genre, it forces you to apply technique and theory, plus really use your ears.
  9. Bmrj1

    Bmrj1

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Wow more ideas to put on the to do list! I need to look into one of those pods, they seem to be pretty popular for practice. Can you record with them? I love the radio idea because it gives you a broad catalogue of styles. I'm gonna get to work!

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