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Covering a kick drum with a bass note

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Anglerfish, Dec 25, 2016.

  1. Anglerfish


    Dec 1, 2015
    Should I always cover a kick drum with a bass note or may I leave it "naked" sometimes?

    When I was making music on my computer I felt like it is better to not leave a kick drum alone without a bass played over it. Exceptions could be drum fills including a kick drum or some parts where drums play alone with no bass at all. But in a regular groove I always tried to keep kick covered.

    But when after joining an originals band I started doubting if it's really that necessary. Are there any articles on this topic? What is your experience and opinion? Can you give any examples of songs with a groove where bass sometimes let kick play alone and it sounds good?
  2. I have some books on rhythm, however they bo not get into following the bass kick drum. Google will call up some videos on the subject.

    I try to cover his pattern best I can. I do not worry about covering his fills, just keep the beat going, giving him something to come home to.

    If he brings out his brushes I back off and play one root note at the chord change -- only. And there are some slow vocals where we both just lay out for the entire song.

    It depends on the song, but, count on following his kick. After awhile you will feel when not to... I know, I hate when the old guys say to feel it.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
    Ductapeman and Whousedtoplay like this.
  3. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    There are no rules. No law says you have to play on the downbeat.
    Budbear, Icemanaroonie, pcake and 7 others like this.
  4. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I can't think of any reason why someone would have to "cover" up every kick drum beat with a bass note. Where is the pocket supposed to develop?
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Breaking those rules has usually produced something new and exciting. If every "serious musician" played by the "rules" we would all still be doing gregorian chants.
  6. Jloch86


    Aug 1, 2016
    New Jersey
    There are plenty of reggae songs where the bass doesn't follow the drum pattern.
    Will_White and gebass6 like this.
  7. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I've taken two years of music theory. I know there are rules - my point is that if a part works, it works. As others have said, there are plenty of tunes where the bass does not mimic the kick drum. In addition to reggae, it often occurs in jazz.
    lancimouspitt and Whousedtoplay like this.
  8. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
  9. dalahorse


    Apr 14, 2010
    As a drummer myself, I love setting up a groove with the bass. But I really don't want the bass playing over every bass drum note. Just like the bassist doesn't want me kicking on every bass note. Neither is the right way to go unless, perhaps, you play country or polkas all day long.

    Note that I'm also primarily a metal drummer. So I'd be seriously amazed if the bassist can actually cover all of my double bass notes!
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
    Roxbororob, Passinwind and hintz like this.
  10. hintz


    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    I believe Gene Simmons said in an interview years ago "I dont give a #$%& what the kick drum does!" LOL .... It all depends on style! Yeah, there are "rules" and we all should at least be aware of them, but breaking them is where the magic happens!! Let your ears be your guide.
    Whousedtoplay and gebass6 like this.
  11. Hahaha


    Sep 26, 2003
    Olympia, WA USA
    My practice is to cover the primary elements of the groove and then let there be some *conversation* between the bass and kick. Agree on an eighth note or sixteenth note feel. That will determine where the accents and pushes occur. Of course there are situations where you would want to line up perfectly with the kick to create a hypnotic groove. It all comes down to what the song calls for.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
    PDGood, Whousedtoplay and dalahorse like this.
  12. AMp'D.2play

    AMp'D.2play Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    I think Danny "Mo" Morris explains it pretty well. Sometimes you want to match the kick. Other times, you want to "converse" with the kick. In either case, you want to be aware of what the kick is doing.

    Here's another take on the same subject with Danny Mo, courtesy of Scott's Bass Lessons:

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
    LowEndWooly, Ewo, Ekulati and 3 others like this.
  13. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Jule-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    There is no "always" in music: if it sounds good, it is good.
    hintz likes this.
  14. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Jule-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    No law against playing kick on the upbeat either ;)
    hintz, Boone_Mc and Whousedtoplay like this.
  15. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Calm down. I don't think any of us are suggesting that there simply aren't any "norms" in various style of music. In fact, those norms literally define the styles themselves. However, you seem to have a very rigid attitude toward something that is, first and foremost, art. All forms of art have norms but they are far from rules. Impressionist painter literally became Impressionists because they broke from the style that was considered the norm before Impressionist painting became the norm.

    Short version: You seem to take the "rules" so seriously that I have to wonder what the experience of writing a song would be like with you.

    Perhaps your writing style (much like mine) gets you misunderstood in some cases. My apologies if it seemed as though we were piling on there.
    hintz and Whousedtoplay like this.
  16. Fxpmusic


    Jul 5, 2013
    IMG_0242.JPG Rules?
  17. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    There's no law about playing a kit with a kick at all, or playing with drums at all either. Fire a drummer for Christmas, its the Talkbass way. Yel_wink.
  18. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    previated devert

    IMO, it's about "feel", pocket, groove, whatever you call that feeling where the pieces all work together. If that calls for doubling the kick, do it.
    If not, don't.

    You should know when it has that feel imo, whatever the style or rules of the music. That's a big part of playing bass.
    songwriter21 and Fxpmusic like this.
  19. Jloch86


    Aug 1, 2016
    New Jersey
    Right. There aren't "rules" in music like THOU SHALT NOT PLAY A PERFECT FOURTH AND A ROOT AT THE SAME TIME, there are "facts" of music which can be used as a guideline to create whatever you want. A "fact" is that a minor third is an interval of three half steps but there's no "rule" that says you have to always play it at a certain time.

    It always comes down to what sounds good - creating tension, and how that tension is released. A bass line that follows in line with what the drummer is doing pretty much always sounds good, but that doesn't mean it won't sound good if the bass DIDN'T do that. People either like something or they don't and there's no songwriting formula that will produce a smash hit every time. It's about tapping in to people's emotions. You gotta hit them right in the nuts or it'll just be background music. Bass lines that sync up with the drummer usually hit people right in the nuts.
    hintz likes this.
  20. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    In real life the relationship between drummer and bass player in jazz/blues/rock etc. is a fluid agreement between individuals of where the time is played in relation to the center of the beat. Particular genres may be defined by certain conventions but nothing is absolute. The answer to the OP's question isn't so much in a discussion forum thread rather it's to be found in the music. Go forth and listen your ass off for the rest of your life.

    If you're not sure where to start this is as good a place as any.
    hintz, themarshall and moles like this.

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