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Breaking out of a quarter-note rut when improv'ing

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Fassa Albrecht, Jan 1, 2012.


  1. This is something which is really frustrating me!


    My problem is that outside of 4/4 time when improvising, I end up getting lost. I just can't figure out how to play in anything other than quarter notes. This only seems to be an improvisational issue as well which is frustrating.

    And it's not because I can't play in different time sigs either- I play a lot of prog which isn't known for its standard time sigs.

    Anyone help? :help::help:
     
  2. parmezans

    parmezans

    Nov 25, 2011
    The first thing you should obviously do is set up a metronome to different tempos and play some scales along.
     
  3. ACalbass

    ACalbass

    Dec 16, 2011
    Start "singing" the notes,make up a melody,that will let you go off the usual quarter notes and will add half notes,8ths,16ths,rests.
    Or can forget about the tempo altogether,if you can follow the chord progression.
     
  4. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Montreal
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    An easy trick beside the metronome would be to feel comfortable with the 2 against 3. Then if you play in 5/4, you can break it down into 2 quarters + 2:3 or the other way around like this 2:3+2 quarters notes just like the Take Five bassline.

    if you have some 3/4 comping tracks or make some yourself, then jam just on that 3/4 to feel good at playing rhythmically on top.

    It might help to hear some rhythms cells.

    Then you can feel the odd meters as composite cells.
     
  5. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Cincinnati
    I would guess that you, like most western musicians, have heard way more music in 4/4 meter than any others, including 3/4. Improvising is creating, and any creative writing teacher will start you off by writing about things you know.
    So then, the trick is to become very familiar with the time signatures and/or tempos that are giving you the biggest problem.
     
  6. Cheers guys!
     

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