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Critique my new band?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by mikegordon, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. mikegordon


    Feb 17, 2014
    Hey all -

    Not sure if this is the right section of the forum, but I'm looking for advice on a new band I've just joined as a guitarist.

    Here are a couple of short improvised grooves from a jam we had. -

    They are both pretty simple grooves, but we are not locking in as a unit, and it sounds to me like it's the bass thats the root of the problem. Might be the drummer's accents and possible lack of swing as well. (or hell, maybe it's ME!)

    Anyways, from a rhythmic standpoint what are you hearing going on here?

    Any advice or critique would be great! Thanks.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  2. Eric_71

    Eric_71 Supporting Member

    Jul 22, 2011
    I listened to it. I think you're right: 80% bass, maybe 15% drums (occasionally he seems to trip over himself), maybe 5% guitar.

    Bass sounds like he is trying to play lead guitar. I liked the ideas of the clips though. Thanks for sharing.
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    The bassist has absolutely no idea what he's doing.
  4. Tazz


    Jan 21, 2014
    I think the bassist might have been playing a different song altogether.
  5. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U Banned

    Jan 30, 2014
    I'd ask the bass guy to tune up a little, and check out some Bob Marley songs, for bass inspiration. Learn to fully use that quarter note. I like what he's doing with the bass halfway through the 2nd jam. The more one chords songs you guys jam on, the better he'll get at that.
  6. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    I hear 3 guys who don't know where the pocket is. I suggest a click to get you dialed in.
  7. In my 3-piece group, the real key is to keep it simple. Fewer players means that whatever you do is that much more exposed--so make it good, keep it simple.

    That said, I offer the following, and applaud your quest for objective feedback.

    The drummer seems to be locked into a never-ending cycle of trying to end a phrase with a small fill. That doesn't do much to establish a groove for others to stay in for very long, rather inspires everyone to also play like a constant set of fills and phrase endings. That may be his favorite beat, but every drumbeat has limitations, and that's what this one sounds like to me. BTW, it's the same beat on both clips, FWIW.

    Relax, take turns playing the interesting thing, give each other some space. The bass is doing some interesting things melodically, but he shouldn't make a whole tune using this tactic. Again, useful as embellishment, but definitely not doing the chores.

    It's clear that when you all want to bring in the shout chorus, you've got the energy waiting. The funny thing is, I got a little tired out listening to the clips...it sounds like you all are working really hard.

    Sounds like a fun jam, but I see why you're looking for some feedback on how to make it better.

    All the best,

  8. Listening is much like seeing there is peripheral and central. Its hard (especially for newbs) to listen (focus) on more that one instrument an a time, so you're going to have to choose.

    Start by designating a leader lets just say the guitar:
    Guitarist listen to the Drummer,
    Drummer listen to the Bassist,
    Bassist listen to the Guitarist.
    Then try switching who you are focusing on, do this until you can focus both well. :rolleyes: Then you can ignore them and just have fun. :D
  9. CJAZ


    Dec 19, 2013
    The rhythm section does not have much of a sense of rhythm or time. At the very least they are not playing together. The bass player is too forward in the mix but does not appear to have much of an idea where he is going or what the others are playing. There is no groove there.

    Just my thoughts
  10. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    Sorry, I must have missed something. You're asking for critique of an improvised jam?

    It's an improvised jam - the whole point is there's no right or wrong way to do it.

    You're clearly not an avante gard jazz troupe that will be able to attract a paying audience to hear you improvise, but that doesn't sound to me like what you're trying to accomplish. Even if you were, the only way to get to that level is for each player to master their instrument, then forget everything they've learned so they can focus on mastering listening and reacting to each other.

    If you're trying for more of a Deadhead style of jam band, you're pretty much already there. The Dead were only really amazing about 2% of the time, the rest was meandering flubs. Fortunately, they played and were recorded constantly, so those fleeting revelatory moments are captured.

    If you're trying for neither of the above, then you need to actually create something before there will be anything to critique.

    It's a jam. Let loose and get weird. It's the auditory equivalent of a journal - an incoherent mess of ideas that you use to springboard into developing a real work. No one wants to read your journal, and you shouldn't really want them to either.

    There's nothing to critique here.
  11. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    As mentioned, Improvising has no rules.
    You can't effectively nail down what's not working because everyone is successfully doing their own thing.

    No target = can't miss, can't measure how far off, can't see how to correct.

    If you want to learn to tighten up, uncover weak spots and correct bad habits, stop improvising and learn some well defined parts or existing grooves.
  12. mikegordon


    Feb 17, 2014
    Thanks for all of the advice guys. Very appreciated.

    I know I probably shouldn't have posted an improv clip, since that's not really the goal of the project, but felt it gave a sense of each of our 'skills' in the groove.

    I'm glad everyone agrees something is off here, so hopefully we can get it fixed. Going to try some of the listening exercises on some written grooves we have and hopefully can get the drummer and bassist super locked in.

    I'm probably going to have to give feedback to the bassist, so should it be that the only notes to play should match the kick drum at first? What's the easiest way to instruct someone to lock in with a drummer for funk beats?
  13. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    There's no way you're going to be able to "instruct" him on this.

    There's no hard and fast rules - it's locked in when it's locked in. The only way to lock it in is to play it over and over again until it's right. Have them play to a metronome if it's not happening after a few practices.

    But this is all assuming the actual parts themselves have been settled on. If your players are still in the process of writing, leave them alone and let them do their thing.
  14. Yeah, it's going to be tough telling another band member how he should play...

    What I have found to be a fairly harmless way to inspire some much-needed excellence in fellow band members is to share some examples of how things should be done. Our 3-piece uses a web-based group work tool (Wiggio.com), where we share videos, comments, news, calendars, etc...

    If it were me, I'd post a few video links of some nice funk grooves and ask the group to listen and comment. Here are three from a quick Youtube search of "funk bass and drums". Enjoy:




    All the best,