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Better Ear

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by RickenTalker, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. RickenTalker


    Nov 4, 2010
    I've been playing bass for two years and am eager to join a band. However the problem I have is that I'm terrible at trying to synchronize with other guitarists. Whats an easy way to get better at this? I know most of the basic theory behind how to write and play songs with guitarists, but I lack the ear. Would picking up acoustic guitar be a good way to get better at this?
  2. Warfender


    Oct 25, 2009
    Not sure what you are asking but if it is the higher register compared to your lower register then try training to programs such as Band-in-a-box. If it is just general ear training, do the above and also transcribing is a great tool for learning to train your ear. Hope this helps.
  3. By "synchronise" do you mean timing?

    I'd recommend picking up a drum machine and a copy of Ed Friedland's book, Bass Grooves, and working through that. Practice with a metronome, drummers, other musicians, your drum machine as much as possible, and RECORD YOURSELF.

    Also, a lot of beginning musicians try to play complex parts beyond their ability to play well, where they have the means to play a simple part in the pocket and do far more justice to the music. Don't be that guy.

    If you don't mean timing, there's interval trainer, etc software / websites around which might help - as will all of the above, and playing along to recordings. Try putting your mp3 collection on shuffle, play along with it trying your best to play the simplest thing you can play in key, perfectly in time. Record yourself, listen back to it and make sure you're not kidding yourself. Once you can do that perfectly, you might make it more interesting for yourself and work on your improvisation, etc.

    And, be patient. Developing your ear is a lifelong endeavour.
  4. When it comes to synchronising I try to synchronize with the drummer rather than the guitarist. I'm in a three-piece, and we have to lay down a solid foundation for the vocalist/guitarist to play to. So, if anything the guitarist synchronizes with me, and not the other way around. That way, if he needs to take a solo the sound and groove is still there.
  5. WardEarth

    WardEarth Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    Anchormanville, CA
    A tight sound comes from everyone being and playing together. Generally, the bass and drums are the foundation. Sounds to me like your there, you'll feel when everyone is connected. Stick with the drums, don't even listen to the guitarist until you and the drums are on auto-pilot (i.e. you are both comfortable with what you play).
    It can take some time before everyone is sync'd. Especially with transitions and endings.
  6. deadwtxsky


    Nov 20, 2010
    Are you talking about notes? start singing more. Sing any chance you get. It becomes internal when you start singing. sing the notes you play. More importantly try to play the notes you are singing.
  7. i found that playing with high calibre musicians really helped me, more so drummers. if you can, play with or jam with a drummer, who is a better drummer then you are bassist.

    try playing with as many as possible as well, everyone has different timing, flairs, rolls, and just general style. each one will help you expand as a bass player. playing in time is great practice, but sometimes drummers fall off time, you should be well practiced in that.
  8. This is something that I never had a major problem with. I think my ear is alot better than my actual 'Theory' as the most theory I know is the seven most used modes and a few other scales. I used to sit down with a song that I really wanted to learn and try figure it out in parts. Like learn the verse, then move onto the bridge/chorus etc. This will help your ear develop alot. Before this I used to learn with guitar pro which is good to get your hands going but you need to step it up and be able to really hear whats going on. Once you know the key of the song it's quite easy to jam with a guitarist. Try starting off with what the guitarist is doing. Don't be shy you can ask him what's the riff? What key is it in? And once your comfortable with the tempo and feel you know whats 'going on' try expand on it with a similar riff or even try a counter melody/groove. I hope this helps. But don't steer completely away from the drums. ;)

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