Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Can someone help me keep time?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by CitricGuy, Aug 31, 2003.


  1. I've been playing for almost two years now and for one reason or another my timing has me down. :( When I play back a recording I'ts like I was playing in my own little world. Does anyone know of any timing exercises that could help me? Anything that could help me keep/create/"find" a beat would be a major help. I'll save my complaining about tone and technique for later, timing seems to be my biggest problem right now =(
     
  2. Two things:

    1) metronome
    2) practice

    in any order, but you need both...

    - Wil
     
  3. tapping your foot helps.
    use it like bass drum, and set out a simple beat; 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,... etc ;)

    and make sure the strong beat is coming on the first beat, make sure you can feel that beat!!
     
  4. James S

    James S

    Apr 17, 2002
    New Hampshire
    CitricGuy,

    I think you have answered your own question.

    Play along with a recording that is has a very simple bass line that is easy to hear. If you match what you hear you will not be playing in your own world.

    The challenge here is to NOT do your own thing. i.e. you own world.

    If you can say "one- two- three- four" in time with a metronome you can play with good time. You just need to make it a priority when you pick up the bass.
     
  5. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    As agonizingly painful and boring as it might be, you might want to try what my teacher recommended for me- get a metronome and play REALLY REALLY slowly.

    Once I played my first ballad at 70 bpm I learned that playing slowly is MUCH more difficult than ripping off sixteenth notes at whatever tempo the drummer's medication is allowing. Set your metronome at its slowest speed- usually 50-60 bpm. Play a scale (major or minor, go wild ;)) as accurately as you can, one note per beat. If you were to record the metronome and yourself and play it back, you would probably cringe. I usually do. But devoting part of your practice time to this will greatly improve your time. Just strive to place EVERY note RIGHT there with the beat, and it will begin to flow with a little practice. You can speed up your 'nome if you get bored, but commit yourself- for the first ten minutes of practice, play the slowest at the slowest possible tempo you can.
     
  6. Funkateer

    Funkateer

    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    ... if you don't turn off your mind beforehand. Check some of the other threads for *ways* to play with the metronome. It doesn't have to be boring, and with a little imagination and (for instance) with the 'nome clicking on 2 and 4, you can get downright funky.
     
  7. Metronomes are great, but don't neglect to practice without one sometimes. Otherwise, when you play with a real drummer you might have a problem locking in.

    Other ideas: think like a drummer; play steady eighth notes; tap your foot, bob your head, feel the rhythm; play octaves (low note on downbeat, high note on backbeat).

    Also, try slapping. It took me a few weeks to play rhythmically slapping, but almost a year to get it down fingerstyle.
     
  8. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    LOL!

    No one can help you, you just have to work on it!

    Two things:

    1) get in a band with a decent drummer (might be difficult if you cant keep time)

    and

    2) get a metronome and play to it ALL the time!
     
  9. get a mate even if there not a "drummer" to get like a drum kit [ at school or something] or sauce pans or something will do lol and get him to keep a beat for you :) if he's a nice mate he'll do that for it :p me and my bands drummer did :> and now look at me :D im goin out with the drummer :>
     
  10. One thing that helps me is making sure the volume of the recording/drummer/metronome isn't engulfed. Turn the volume down a little so you can hear both parties.