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Do you count?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by danqi, Jun 24, 2002.

  1. Yes

    19 vote(s)
  2. No

    53 vote(s)
  3. Sometimes

    76 vote(s)
  1. danqi


    May 21, 2001
    Do you actually count when playing? You know like 1-e-&-a-2-e.... for 16th, etc.

    If you do, how do you manage to keep up with the counting when playing fast stuff?

    If you don't, how do you manage to play more complicated stuff with a lot of rests or off-beat 16th for example?
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I prefer NOT to count(really).
    Sometimes, I 'hear' the rhythm I'm trying to play in my head(all that "1e&a" stuff). ;)

    That said-
    In the shed, I will practice counting.
    I may write out a certain figure, count it out, & play it without deviation(I tend to deviate a lot).

    There are times when I MUST count...
    ODD times(still working on that bug-a-boo)
    "Hits" that the band plays together(especially if it's 'weird' or has a lotta rests amongst the 'hits').

    As far as counting when playing 'fast stuff'...
    Have you considered counting 'slow' while playing 'fast'?
    ...maybe counting in 1/2 time vs. all the "1e&a" stuff?
  3. Cort45


    Mar 1, 2002
    US, TX, Austin
    if im reading music then i count but if im playing with other people then i just tap my foot or somthing to keep the beat.
  4. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    When learning complex new rhythms I've found it helpful to count. I like to eventually get to the point where I can just "feel" it - like now for simple odd times (5,7) I don't need to count.

    There's also "big picture" counting - play 7 bars of this pattern, 12 bars of this pattern, etc. Again at first I count, but eventually like to be able to "feel" the overall pattern.

    However, if you're *not* counting, and you get lost, you might not be able to get back "on". It's a trade-off however: it's always possible (and actually quite likely) to mis-count, and that gives you a false sense of confidence. If something sounds wrong you might just blindly keep going.
  5. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I count when I'm reading music. If I'm just out playing a rock/country/blues/ect. tune, I never count. I have enough natural rymthm/timing that I know how long to hold notes and when to change chords. Strange time singatures sometimes require me to count, but I haven't played anything in an odd time signature in while.
  6. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Oh, to answer your other questions: I don't often count 16ths - and if I do, it's at a slow practice tempo. Mostly I count quarters or eighths.

    Learning to play the off-beat is a whole beast unto itself. You can practice that skill specifically by repeating a single note on the off-beat with a metronome. Further, you can move to 16ths and play only every third, fourth, fifth, etc pulse.

    Counting itself can be an exercise - counting quarters while playing sixtenths in patterns of 13 or something like that. The skills learned doing that (specifically dividing your attention between the counting and the playing) will help you out everywhere. I used to not be able to talk and play at the same time :).
  7. When I'm actually playing, I just sing the rhythm in my mind and play along, but I do count rests at times to make sure I come back in correctly.
  8. supergreg


    Jan 20, 2002
    I almost always count. It always comes handy when someone gives a syncapated groove to learn.
  9. melvin


    Apr 28, 2001
    I count when Im playing something with an odd time signature. When it gets into wierd syncopated grooves then I tap my foot, but I rarely, if ever, start with the 1 e & a stuff.
  10. i guess i concur with a large majority here then...i only count when i need to to get a rhythm- otherwords i prefer to "feel" the groove as opposed to tapping it out.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think JimK and Gard covered it mostly - if there are unison parts or tricky hits, or rests where you have to come back in together, then I will be counting in my head. Sometimes, when we have had last minute substitutes, say a percusssionist, I have actually counted for them to hear on these parts.
  12. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    tis like wot bruce sed... i be cowntin wen i nede to...

    if there's a space before we all come in together, or if we're finalising the arrangements or whatever.
    most of the time i dont need to actually count, it's just there, maan.
  13. After 30 plus years of playing and reading percussion music (especially tympani), the one thing I can do on bass is read the rhythm of the notes easily enough. Finally, there is one thing I can do right!
  14. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I dont usually count while Im playing unless theres a rest, this way I dont come in too early or to late.
  15. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Very rarely do I actually count when playing, usually I'm just tapping my foot or whatever to keep the Mi-T-Fine(tm) groove happening. When I do count, 99% of the time it's rests or a whole note that's some odd length of time.
  16. PunkerTrav


    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    I voted "yes" because when I'm am playign something for the first time or so, I always count. However, I play it several times it just becomes memorized, for lack of a better word,

  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Not consciously. If I'm playing songs I'm familiar with I'm playing along with the playback of the song in my head so it's not necessary. On syncopated stuff with rests I still don't count with numbers, I'll work off the instruments I'm playing with or put in imaginary drum (or other) fills to cover the rests and timing. I have no idea if that's wierd... it works for me. Sometimes I'm playing in 5/4 or 7/4 and don't really think about it unless someone asks... it's as natural as 3/4 or 4/4 to me. So are some of the more Zappa-esques forays into odd times.
  18. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I count, but usually, I try to internalize the count so It's more of an instinct than a conscious act.

    I count rests, though,
  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I don't usually count while playing, but when trading 8's, 4's, or whatever with a drummer, I ALWAYS count...it keeps 'em honest.
  20. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    I chose sometimes, because it depends.

    I don't count when I am playing bass, unless I am reading music, or playing (or not) through a rest.

    I always count when I am playing tuba, or any other concert instrument. It is second nature to do that because the tuba part is more rests thwen not in many cases.

    No matter what I am playing, I use cues a lot. I listen to it one time, and count it out. I listen to it to find a certain sound or phrase before I come in. Then I learn it, memorize it, and use it.

    It all depends.

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