First time playing with drums

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Currens1, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. Currens1


    Oct 30, 2012
    Hi there,

    Tomorrow afternoon will be my first public performance for the co-workers. It is a Christmas sing-song or whatever and there is a guitarist, bassist and drummer performing. This is my first time playing with a drummer and it all got set up Thursday. They provided me a set list of songs and chord sheets to practice. I told them that as a novice, I'd be keeping the basslines simple throughout. I figure it'd just be some Roots and Fifths mixed up with a few runs/licks in between. Sounds nice. The book I have talk all about "locking in with the drummer". From what I read, the drummer normally kicks on beats 1 and 3, snares on 2 on 4? So I hit note on note #1 and #3 if I'm just playing Roots and Fifths?

    Oh and something else that's been mentioned here. The drummer tells me he likes to kick once and then double kick the next time because it sorta "propels" the music forward. If he double kicks, do I hit my note twice?

    Also, I just have way way too much fun playing with others that I can't sit still, laugh, cannot relax and screw up all together at times. I do have Cerebral Palsy and I spose that doesn't help either. I attribute to being new at it and anything new is wickedly fun. I am OK at times, but gets all excited and tense up at times. Noone minds and they all tell me its in the name of fun but I hold myself to a high standard. Any tips anyone? 'd love to hear them! :)
  2. JackoBass


    May 13, 2010
    Always, always, always stay relaxed and allow yourself time to both mentally warm up and physically warm up. After that, play at a comfortable tempo and if things get too fast, play on the whole notes or give your drummer the death stare if he starts to take off. Or tell the drummer you're not afraid to walk over and kick his throne if he starts the song too fast or speeds up.

    Also don't forget to smile and breath. The fun you have, the more relaxed you'll be and it just might make the other guys relaxed enough to chill out too. Remember you can only control what you do so if you're prepared and warmed up that's most of it right there.
  3. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Locking in with the drums is easier than it sounds. I welcome a drummer and most songs do go well with locking in on the kick drum. However, some songs go better if you lock in on the high-hat. Your choice, it's a feel thing. Start with the kick drum, but, if you find yourself locked to the high-hat, don't sweat it as long as you both are using the same beat.

    I like to be as close to the drummer as I can get. No, not so I can mess with his throne, LOL.

    I can not help you with the double kick on 3, give it a double note and see what it sounds like, if you do not like it, just do one note. I think you will find with locking in with the drummer, you two will work out how to work together within a couple of songs. Just give it some time and enjoy the ride.
  4. Sometimes the drummer will hit opposite... Snare on 1 and 3. Clap out the rhythm while the drummer is playing and you will feel the beat. Follow that. As for doubling the kick drum, that'sa choice that makes you and the song unique. Have fun!
  5. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    "Locking in" with the drummer doesn't mean that you have to play a bass note every time the kick hits, nor does it mean you should only play a note to coincide with the kick and nowhere else. "Locking in" pretty much just means the bassist and the drummer listen to each other and keep a steady beat.

    It's kind of difficult to give more specific advice than that on your bass lines unless we know what tunes you're planning on doing. Whatever you do, just relax, breathe deeply, have fun and enjoy the gig. ;)
  6. Already In Use

    Already In Use

    Jan 3, 2010
    You will feel whats going on with your drummer. Just relax and let it all happen and come together..has that been stated yet? You'll have a great time and be just fine! Peace!

    BTW...mess with this a bit if ya like....
  7. Currens1


    Oct 30, 2012

    Thanks for your replies! I got to read them before I played!

    My first public performance as part of a 3-pc. group to a group of co-workers and their kids went very well. Everyone enjoyed themselves, adults were dancing and clapping and making remarks but the best audience was the little kids. They were dancing and filled with joy, holding hands in circles, singing and just being merry. What I could not get over was the sincere sheer excitement that was in the kids' eyes for tomorrow! They made a great audience and as a result, we became excited ourselves and tempo crept up. Our guitarist/singer said to us "slow it down" but it was mainly futile I'd reckon. We all enjoyed ourselves and the other mates said I done well. I was happy with my performance because the music sounded as it should!

    As for my actual performance with respect to the bass, I think I would rate myself a C or a C+ in grade, keeping in mind that an A is the best grade because we all make mistakes. I was nervous and relaxed only at times. The increase in tempo did not help too well either. Despite all of the odds against me (including poor back support on the chair), I feel that I done well and throughly enjoyed performing. There were a couple of songs requested and thus I had to wing them so to speak. Everybody seemed to enjoyed "Dirty Old Town" the most that was requested. We had a misses up singing it but she shyed out, so we had to pick up. Apparently its a favourite in the office. I like the song too. The practice I put in for this really paid off and I'm proud of myself. I think the whole nervousness thing and freezing up now and then will go away with experience performing.

    Any comments / questions, I would love to hear them! :)

    Cheers/Happy Holidays! Be safe in all you do! :)
  8. kicklock


    Jan 22, 2009
    If the drummer kicks on beat one of the bar, you hit the note once ON TOP of that kick. When he plays two quick kicks, or "doubles up" on the second hit, you can just PLAY ONE NOTE ON TOP OF the FIRST KICK of that pair. This makes it easier for you. Also, you might add a bit more sustain to that SECOND note you play, as it will help enhance the sound of the "double kick".
    IMHO, some of the BEST BASS parts on some of the BIGGEST SONGS have all used the above method, which you yourself described - pluckin' that ole bass note ON TOP of the kick drum ( on MOST kickdrum patterns ) - has created some of the most memorable songs of all time. Thanks for asking for the opinion, and Happy Holidays to you, too, and I hope 2013 is great for you, and brings you more gigs as you improve, and I hope you find that playing bass enriches your life, as it does mine. :)
  9. kicklock


    Jan 22, 2009
    Of course, I agree with bassybill that you don't always have to hit on the kick all the time, but hitting on the kick is a great starting point for a newbie to understand how drums & bass work to tighten a song. After getting that worked out, you can explore, adding fills, and so forth ( my additional two cents, unasked for, but given in good spirit ) :)
  10. James Judson

    James Judson

    Jul 16, 2009
    You got it right. You can not go wrong playing exactly the same as the kick. There are no rules to playing music. Soon as someone makes a rule you get to break that rule. Beethoven taught me that.

    My $.02 is position yourself so you can "see" the kick pedal. Being able to see a reflection or shadow is almost as good.
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Some of my favorite times in bands occur when the drummer actually listens to me. I always listen to what the drummer does, and when you're both doing it some really cool things can happen. Things like little triplet fills or double kicks sound bitchen when both instruments play them together. After you've played with a particular drummer for a few months or so, you can pretty much predict what he's going to do and go along for the ride.

    Just stay with the beat. If the drummer is doing a double kick on "and one," "one and," or "and three" you can do it along with him or not. It's not a big deal. You don't need to spend a lot of time thinking about it, because you'll feel it. When you do, play with it.
  12. If the audience had fun, then the gig was a success. Don't get hung up about making mistakes; most of the time the audience don't notice them anyway, and if they do, they don't care.

    Contrats on you first gig.