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Blues jam observation about Space

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by behemecoytl, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. behemecoytl


    Oct 1, 2008
    I've been going to a local blues jam lately, and it's a great place to hear many different levels of musicianship... several bassists showed up the other night- and all of them could play, knew the 12 bar forms and all the right notes... but some grooved much better than others. it occurred to me that the ones that groove are leaving spaces- they know when notes should End... while others might play some impressive, complex lines, or even just hold it down, but they let each note blend into the next, and it sounds like sloppy mud.

    it seems to me that the difference between intermediate and advanced levels of playing is all about knowing where and how-long to leave spaces in the music... the precision of those spaces makes the groove move.

    just posting this as a point of discussion, since I know yall care about bass stuff round here, and my girlfriend doesn't want to talk about it anymore...
  2. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    I found that I use that contrast often when I'm jamming. When repeating the same line, or slight variations, I will switch between sustained, blended notes, to shorter muted notes, and back again. The contrast makes both methods feel groovy, to me.............
  3. Its not the notes you play, it's the notes you don't play.....
  4. behemecoytl


    Oct 1, 2008
    that's an excellent tip- like different flows, the change in space keeps it interesting
  5. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    Use of spaces make all the difference in the world,it's really an art in itself.
  6. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    An important part of being a competent bass player is having complete control of the note from start to finish. Leaving spaces - or not - is one factor of playing the right part for the song.
  7. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    I made that discovery a few years ago when making backup tracks with bass and a drum machine. I was working on Dylan's From A Buick 6, very easy bass part any 15 year old could play. When I started playing guitar to the bass/drum tape something was sounding terribly wrong. It took me a while to figure out that by letting some notes go just a little too long the groove was shot. The interaction between drums and bass can be critical. Sometimes cutting the note off a little short so it isn't there when the snare hits can make it or break it.
  8. m_bisson


    May 26, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Us drummers call these mysterious 'spaces' by another name: rests.
  9. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Sometimes yes, but not necessarily. I could play a steady string of 8th notes (a walking line, for example), but by altering the length of the note decay, I can get a different feel. A rest has the same value as a note. The example that GlennW used about leaving space for the snare hit is a common place for a rest.
  10. nyuck nyuck nyuck nyuck :D
  11. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    As my high school jazz band director always used to say, attacks and releases. Attacks and releases.
  12. That's what my soccer coach used to say, too!
  13. Rocks


    Mar 9, 2009
    Willoughby, Ohio
    I used to play in a metal band back in the 80's and there was no room for spaces :bassist: Now that I'm a bit older and have played a larger variety of music I do find myself muting out notes as I feel they have rang long enough. I pick with everything sticking out of my right hand, any finger and thumb is welcome to join in and play or mute as needed. It makes it much easier to stop one note from ringing while playing others when I'm forming chord patterns with my left hand.
  14. Frohman


    Nov 24, 2009
    So your high school jazz band director and soccer coach is my ex-girlfriend? Peculiar...

    ... considering the fact she's 15.
  15. EdHunter


    Jan 14, 2010
    There's more to it than jsut stopping and starting. Knowing what goes where, and with the other musicians is surely the real mark of a great bassist?
  16. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member


    One of my favorite things to try when working up a new song with a rock band I used to be in was to play a rest on every other snare hit. It usually made great sense, and helped a groove come together. :)
  17. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Paul Spencer Denman revealed the clues to me sometime in my late teens. Amazingly "speaking" silences.
  18. Just like in life, know when to STFU...
  19. Wait! Your high school jazz band director taught you kegels too?
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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