Do you count or feel rythms?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by kaljultdgl, Feb 1, 2020.

  1. kaljultdgl


    Oct 21, 2019
    I have been playing bass for a very long time, but I don't know much about music theory. Some people have told me that I don't have any issues with time in my playing. I play rythms by feel and don't think about anything when I play.
    Sometimes I come accross rythms that I just can't "feel". One good example is Metallica - Anesthesia (the bass solo). In the very beginning there are basic 4/4 bars and 8th notes. But for me it feels really hard to keep track of time when I'm repeating 3 notes in 8th notes. The song makes me count "one two three one two three" so I don't know where the real "one" is.
    I tried to bob my head and keep counting the time but then I couldn't hear or "feel" the notes I was playing.

    I guess practicing more with a metronome would help :D
    Does anyone else have problems with these kind of rythms?
    johnnynitro and jdh3000 like this.
  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    Do you count or feel rythms?
    both: it depends!

    most of the time i can feel it after hearing it. sometimes it's trickier than it sounds: so i count. looking at the part (reading music) can be helpful in this case = mechanically reading and playing the part until it becomes a feel.
  3. Both.

    Practise exercises similar to the song you’re struggling with.
    MonetBass, Nashrakh, JoshS and 5 others like this.
  4. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    If you don't 'get' the rhythm then all a metronome will do is make you practice it wrong at constant tempo. IME, the quickest way to understand a rhythm is to write it out in standard notation. Take as long as it takes to get it written out correctly, then learn it from the notation. That way if you forget or get confused by anything you have a solid reference to go back to.
    mambo4, LeeNunn, bfields and 7 others like this.
  5. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012

    If you're going to count three-note polymeters in 4/4 as groups of three, at least learn to align the emphasis with the meter, so that you're counting "One two three one Two three one two Three one two three One two three one..."

    Personally I find it easier to recognize those sort of polymeters as a "sound object", a recognizable figure that I know how it goes without having to count it or feel it per se. But that does take time and practice.
  6. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    As stated above, both. Whatever gets you thru the night.
  7. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    Another both. I mostly sing under my breath with the lead vocalist and follow the kick drum beat. Understand 90% of my playing is done with a sheet of fake chord on the music stand. Good Ole Boy Bands get by with this in East Texas. That seems to get it done for me. Now for some reason when I play a Blues progression I do count it out.

    If jamming I go with the flow.

    Good luck.
  8. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    If you ever listen to Animals As Leader,you will find it impossible to count.
    It's by feel.
  9. kaljultdgl


    Oct 21, 2019
    Thank you! This seem lika a good idea and I'll give this a try.
  10. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.

    Just depends on the song and how much attention I have to pay to it and everything else being played around me.
    jdh3000 likes this.
  11. Ggaa


    Nov 26, 2018
    The slower the song, the more I count. Luckily our drummer is rock steady too.
  12. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Same as everyone else said... but I'll add...

    That song is all over the faarikkken place. Unless in a Metallica tribute band, you couldn't pay me enough to learn that :) . And if I were in a Metallica tribute, I'd fight long and hard NOT to play it :) .
    DrMole, Davbassdude, CBRXJ and 3 others like this.
  13. REV

    REV Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I generally feel, except for "Papa was a Rollin' Stone".
  14. Liam Wald

    Liam Wald Supporting Member

    May 17, 2011
    California Coast
    If you need to count to learn a song that is okay. But once you learn it and internalize it you should play it from the heart and play it with soul. When counting you are playing it from the brain. If you play from the brain in performance it will never be great. May as well phone it in.
    Music is a heart and soul thing not a brain thing.
  15. Robscott


    Mar 20, 2017
    Tonbridge UK
    Nearly always by feel. Once or twice I count. If I play Black Dog I guess!
  16. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    I do both. There are some tunes or rhythms I just have to count. There are some sections of tunes I really have no idea what’s going on rythymically so I just try to lock in with the drummer and feel my way through it

    the whole counting thing is something I’ve gotten conflicting information on from different instructors. Some say not to count, some I’ve seen counting themselves.

    at this point in the game I just do whatever gets me though a tune without screwing up
    jdh3000, wildman2 and pellomoco14 like this.
  17. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    If you read music, you can comprehend and replicate all sorts of complicated rhythms.
    And use a metronome to boot. I read music without an instrument with or w/o a metronome as practice.

    I use a method called sharpshooting to feel rhythmal. You choose a particular 8th note like the & of 3 and call it against a metronome without counting. Move up to 16ths when 8ths are solid.
    Nashrakh and pellomoco14 like this.
  18. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    "Poppa was a Rolling Stone" is a good rhythm to sharpshoot without counting.
    pellomoco14 likes this.
  19. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Feel but verify by subdividing with a metronome.
  20. I count and/or feel rhythms. Both, interchangeabley. For your problem with anesthesia I would change how you are counting if you’re losing track of where “one” is.

    First of all, these groups of three 1/8th notes are called 1/8 note triplets. Instead of “ONE two three, TWO two three,” as suggested above, I’d recommend taking away the numbers in your head and just focus on the actual beats. So try something like, “ONE a lah, TWO a lah, THREE a lah, FOUR a lah.” You could add any words or syllables for the notes that aren’t falling on the beats. “ONE stink bug, TWO stink bug.” I think syllables that flow off the tongue audibly actually work better in your mind too, so “ONE stink bug” might not work as easily as “ONE a lah,” but you get the point?
    Bflat likes this.
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