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Can you help me find my groove

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Oh! Henry, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. Well, I auditioned for a band and didn't get the gig. I was told that I just didn't have the groove or feeling, that it felt too mechanical. I'm aware that it's something I need to work on, but it's the first time I have this pointed out by a band. So instead of letting this get me down, I'm gonna use it to make me a better player and practice more.

    Do you guys have any tips or exercises I can use to help me find my groove? Maybe some good funky or groovy song I can learn? James Brown comes to mind but I want more ideas in different styles of music, not just funk or disco.

    Can something like "feeling" even be taught or am I doomed to be a groovless bass player all my life?

  2. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    You could have played the same notes for a different audition & they may have told you that you were a solid player that held down the low end & didn't try to take over the tunes - & hired you. Move on.
  3. EclecticElectrk


    Aug 26, 2008
    if you want feeling try some primus!
    that'll get you moving around the room. maybe thats not the band your expecting, but o man, theres some nice groove in those lines. what kind of band were u auditioning for? that'd probably help someone give u a good answer.
    dont be so pessimistic:)
  4. They never said it was bad, and they admited that they were being extremly picky. It's just that this whole thing kind of brought attention to a point I've already known for some time, that I'm lacking "feeling" in my playing. All the notes are there, and I can hold down a groove fairly well. But I want to be able to really "Feel the bass lines"

    I was for a Bon jovi Tribute band, :bag:

    I know that in tribute bands, you need to nail the lines down to perfection or close to it so I'm maybe being a little hard on myself, but that's ok because I want to become a better bassist, and the only way to achieve it is by improving what's weakest.

    I'm open to any and all suggestions regardless of style.

    EclecticElectrk are there any specific Primus songs you would suggest?
  5. emblymouse

    emblymouse exempt Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    It's great that you are looking to get something out of this experience.

    Before you can do it, you've got to be able to hear it. It may be that your first step would be to listen to what makes a feel what it is.

    It takes two to groove! Even if you are playing by yourself you are imagining that other player in your head to play off of.

    This stuff doesn't come quickly, but now you are aware and can start picking it up.
  6. RHCP
  7. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ

    I found my own groove by noodling to drum loops. I really recommend trying some of this...just simple looping bass lines that lock real tight with the drums. Then you start to recognize styles of drumming and how to groove with them, or on your own.
  8. I have 2 books which I can recommend. By memory they are: The first is by Patrick Pfeiffer called Improve your Groove and the other is Bass Grooves by Ed Friedland. The Pfeiffer book has an interesting theory about how to contstruct bass grooves and has many examples in varying players' styles. The Friedland Book analyses the features of particular genres. I particularly like the Pfeiffer one but wish I were better at it.
  9. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    I always find the claims of "just didn't have the groove/feeling" a bit dubious, if that is the only thing articulated as a "problem." If they don't want you, then they don't want you, but that doesn't mean at all that you don't already groove or don't already play with feeling.

    I would just think that if you truly have the notes right, and play them in the right places and in the right rhythms, then you've clearly done your work and the nuances of those intangeables such as "groove" and feeling" would surely come in time, if they didn't already exist.

    Don't be silly to think that you're "doomed to be grooveless all my life" based on comments of one band. Just practice/play more music. All kinds.

    The abilities of "groove" and "feel" are not for the privilaged/annointed/chosen few. I'm sure if you don't have it, or it's not strong or the right groove/feel, etc... than I'm sure you can get there!

  10. A Bon Jovi cover band? I would think that any groove would be way over the top! Let's face it, Bon Jovi isn't the swingingest band in the land. Makes me think they are full of crap.

    If you want to groove, you have to get it in your bones by listening. Soak yourself in Motown, Philly funk, all the great Ohio bands, Sly Stone, Prince. Get some old swing records from the 30s & 40s like Gene Krupa, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, the Dorseys, etc. Listen to old (Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, etc) and new (Stray Cats, Horton Heat) rockabilly. Listen, listen, and listen some more to swinging cats. There's a reason that groove used to come from certain geographic locales-- that's where people were drenched in the funk.

    I'd stay away from James Brown to begin with-- though extremely funky, his funk is upside down and will mostly confuse you. Find the groove the makes your rocks dance: 70s funk, motown, Irish, rockabilly, swing, Acadian, bluegrass, R&B, northern soul, hip hop, western swing, etc. There's all kind of groove-- find the one that inhabits your soul and listen, listen, listen.
  11. funkifiedsoul

    funkifiedsoul Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2007
    It can be learned, but it can't be taught. Books or excercise & chops will be of little help either, in my opinion. A 'groove' can come to life using only one note, but it has to be felt and driven from within. We've all heard players who have flawless technique and chops, maybe even can play with their feet, and yet, often we've had enough after 5 min. Groove isn't just about style, a great ballad can groove, although admittedly Bon Jovi is the last thing that comes to mind when I think of the word groove. Maybe they're just fools without groove themselves and you'll find yourself grooving your ass off with the next bunch. As the samurai warrior does with his sword, become one with your bass :bassist: and know that you are the music Grasshopper! (sorry, it's late) Ultimately it's for you to discover inwardly. Personally I think it has something to do with having a natural passion. (and God help us if the drummer hasn't got it!)
  12. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I think the band wanted more "kick-@$$" attitude. Dirtier, rougher playing. It's not about playing the notes super-cleanly with a light touch. Instead, imagine you're rocking out on a stage in front of 50 000 people giving the audience what they want: Rock.

    If you sounded "too technical" to them, my guess is that it's not your timing that is to blame here, but a lack of attitude. Hence my reply.
  13. Thanks for all you replies, there is some very good advice in here.

    I know I'm not a hopeless wreck that needs to hang up his bass and take up golf. I think Deacon_blues may have hit the nail on the head. I didn't play the music with the right attitude, which leads me to believe that I need to find the right feel for a paticular type of music and play with it. It's true that putting groove when none is needed is just as bad as not having any. That is where I need to put my efforts, to not just learn the notes but to feel the music.

    They admitted they were being very picky, and I must admit I was a little distracted that night, and probably under different circumstances I would have gotten the gig. (Oh yeah and the drummer's tempo was a little wobbly which didn't really help) But all that doesn't change the fact that I know what I need to work on and I'm getting some good advice on how to fix it.

    Are there any particular drum machines you guys would suggest?

    Keep it coming guys, I'm like a sponge right now!!! :D :bassist:
  14. Some great suggestions in here, I'm gonna look into some of these artists!!!!!
  15. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    depends on what kinda groove you're looking for. i can't play funk/r&b to save my life (unless it's some rock hybrid like RHCP), but i can do anything from the caribbean. totally different grooves altogether.

    when you find *your* groove, you'll know. :)
  16. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    That's a great attitude :) . IMO a great way to get the "feel" is to listen to some blues, as it's all about feel and groove. The likes of Buddy Guy, Albert, Freddy and BB King all had great bassists.

    On YouTube, look up bassists like Duck Dunn and Tommy Shannon.
  17. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    other than playing with people as much as you can, the best way i've improved my groove is to play with a metronome. play with the clicks on beats 2 and 4 - you'll feel it. if you can groove with a mechanical click, you can groove with anyone.
  18. rswooding


    Sep 12, 2008
    Richmond, Va.
    that some good advice I wrote that down thank you
  19. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Spend some time with a "good" drummer just jamming the rythm section.
    Drum machines have perfect time---but they don't have groove.
  20. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Keep Motown, Stax, P-Funk, etc. on rotation in your car stereo. Practice with just your foot tapping backbeats on a hard floor. Maybe get some books on funk to get some harmonic insight, but groove is more about feeling the rhythm than it is about the notes being played, so books will only get you so far.

    Pursuing a better groove is a great thing, but ultimately I'd take the "reason" you didn't get the gig with a grain of salt. For all you really know they didn't like your hair and didn't want to tell you that. Or some other bass player had a more natural hook up with that particular drummer.


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