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Back to Basics?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by baddarryl, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. baddarryl

    baddarryl Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    Hi all. I have played off and on for many years. Just a bedroom player. I have played on a Worship Team for the last year. We rock a bit harder than most churches for sure. There is plenty of slow music and room for bass fills, phrasing etc. As a novice player (in my mind) I am maybe overplaying a little. As a team we don't really practice so I often find myself struggling to find the pocket. We work with a drummer who is good enough to adapt to hold a cadence regardless. More of a jazz guy than rock so sometimes I find it difficult to locate the downbeat as he doesn't really play with the authority I am used to. Only sometimes that is.

    So today I have a discussion with our keyboard/sax player about the role of the bass. He is a professional, famous player so I take his advise soundly. He pointed out today that it was difficult to sense the chord changes and that all the ghost notes and fills meant squat if the downbeat wasn't spot on. Also how the root on the bass anchors the chord, and how to accent the chord changes. Fair, it was a little exaggerated by the fact that our sub woofer was mysteriously off today, but I still get his point. I can feel my own wobbliness at times in the slow stuff. Maybe not as bad as I think, maybe it is.

    So what is the best way just to get that rock solid, unshakable groove regardless of style or speed? Thanks guys.
  2. Bassguy87564


    Jul 5, 2006

    this video gives ways of building up your internal groove or internal metronome. One thing I do that help is to memorize the changes and how they sound so when I play I know if playing with the changes or not. I am pretty much internalizing the song so I know what its suppose to sound like. Also with that style of music the bass tends to be simpler and sticks with the root its cool to do fills but always land on the right chord on the down beat.
  3. baddarryl

    baddarryl Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2008
    Cape Fear!
    Another obstacle to this is the arrangements, tunings, and keys constantly change. We may get a chord sheet that doesn't match the mp3 and then the worship leader will change the rhythm that I have practiced at rehearsal at 7:30 Sun morning before we go live at 9! Often playing the song only once. Almost like improvisation. I have always learned songs by ear and through memorization, until now. Now I find I get dependent on the chord sheets because of the way I must learn. I might get a chord sheet in A, the song on the mp3 is in C# so I will shift when practicing to get the rhythm and be in tune with the mp3. Then on Sunday play whats on the sheet. Hard to memorize that way for me. With 9 people on stage songs can be different every time we play. How to live in this environment is also a challenge in itself.
  4. tobie


    Nov 26, 2008
    What you're describing above is the reason I prefer playing and practicing scale 'patterns' (incorporating the Nasville numbering system). Band leaders might, can and will decide on key changes in the middle of songs whenever they feel like it and without first discussing the idea with anyone (after all, it's in the middle of a song)! ;)

    If I get a chord sheet I quickly make sure I know which chord reflects which number. Should the key change in the middle of a song, I reposition my fretting hand based on the new Root position and keep on playing from the same chord sheet.

    Rythm is a different issue. I don't take for granted that a rythm practised will be the same rythm in live. A slight variation by the drummer might require a variation in rythm.
  5. Nashville numbers have come up in several posts lately. I used them when my band mate and I were just starting to play with each other. He had not worked out what key he wanted to sing each specific song in -- so he would change in mid-song, sure, he would say something like; "Going to C". But, reading the chard chart and transposing on the fly just did not work out for me. Switching from D-G-A to C-F-G was confusing.

    So Nashville numbers helped. I'm a "pattern" type of guy so I just need to place the major scale pattern then my generic R-5 or R-3-5-b7 takes over. If you too play from patterns you might give Nashville numbers a try.

    Just thought of this -- Scales (tonic pentatonic) instead of chord tones came in handy during the time he was vacillating between keys. If he said; "Going to C" out came the C pentatonic for the rest of the song.

    For one reason or the other I don't use chord sheets anymore, relying upon jamming a progression - the comments your keyboardist made have value. I could do a better job of nailing the changes.
  6. dcallred


    Jul 10, 2005
    Stamford, CT
    Laugh while you can monkey boy
    As a bass player your number one job is to know where the drummer thinks the 1 is. Your number two job is to be in the correct chord/key. When in doubt, go with rule one.

    A lot of time you can't hear the kick drum so you need to learn to know where it should be in the timing. All drummers will play something that shows you their overall timing. Listen for the high hat or snare ride. That will be their fast timing, probably 8ths or 16ths. In rock the snare will be the back beat on 2 or 4, so the in between will be either the 1 or 3. After a while you will get a feel for which one is correct. You need to learn to listen to the drums like you have learned to listen to the bass. Learn wht the drummer is doing and why.

    To learn to groove, load up the iPod with music and go for a walk. Left foot 1 & 3, right foot 2 & 4. Do this until you can't NOT walk to the beat.
  7. smeet

    smeet Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Not a panacea, but you should check out Amazing Slow Downer software (http://www.ronimusic.com/). It has a stupid name, but it's awesome. You can independently change the pitch or the speed of an audio file, and set loop points to practice a difficult section or whatever.

    You could for instance use it to learn a song in all 12 keys. If you do that, you can say you really know the song. It's also a great transcription tool.
  8. Bassguy87564


    Jul 5, 2006
    I can see the problem, but that goes with what I was saying before with Internalizing the music and also what tobie was saying about the Nashville way of doing things. I should have been clear about what internalizing the music means. When I say internalize a song you have the chord progression, melody and feel of the tune to the point where you can do every part in your head. So when your practicing by your self dont just listen to what you have to do, listen also to everyone else part. So listen for the spelling of the chord(if its maj., min., dim., or aug.). Also try to sing everyone else part, this really helps you internalize each part. This is what I do for when I play (or atleast try to do :smug:). With most of the jazz combos I play with that have singers we have to transpose the tune to fit the singers key. Some times that brings us into keys the group really doesn't want to improvise with cause its hard. So what the keyboardist does is at the end of the form he will play some II - V's to bring it to a better key. Having the song internalized you know what the tonal centers are suppose to be and if you hear a change in it you can follow where those centers are going. If you really want to become a master of this I will recommend taking music theory cause this will help you Identify chord that imply a key change.
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