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Getting a Swing Feel

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Aug 17, 2017.


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  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis


    Not an exciting video, but I am steadily working on my reading and feel. This is the first two measures of Thelonius Monk's "Straight, No Chaser." I have Funk on the brain, and a I am trying to get a swing feel.

    Correction: I was given a transcription of the head, not the bass line!:smug:
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
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  2. I would suggest you to listen to a few versions of the tune and then try to read it again... (or don't read it at all, your ears are way better musical tools than your eyes)
     
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  3. Skeptismo

    Skeptismo

    Sep 5, 2011
    Washington
    Props to you for taking on this challenging piece! Which music are you reading from? \
     
  4. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I listened to Monk and Miles versions, and the actual bass lines sounded much trickier than what I am reading, but I will listen again.
     
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    It's photocopy from my teacher's fake book, I think.
     
  6. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I just realized that I was playing the head, not the bass line, after listening again.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
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  7. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    The way I look at it straight time is like walking. Swing/shuffle is like your heartbeat. Try this for example. Go for a walk and listen to how your feet fall in rhythm. Hum your favorite FUnk riff. Then put your hand on your heart and hum your favorite jazz tune.

    C/S,
    Rev J
     
  8. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    I just wanted to add that not all FUnk is in straight time.

    For example:



    Or:



    Or:



    Or:



    Or (finally):



    C/S,
    Rev J
     
  9. nolaguy

    nolaguy

    Jun 27, 2011
    It will help ALOT if you listen to swinging Jazz, without you instrument in your hands. Get used to the feel of how that music is supposed to sound and feel. Snap your fingers, clap hands, or tap your foot 2 or 4 to get a feel for it. It will take some time but it will seep in. Listen to the masters- Monk is a great place to start, but check out Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, etc. One thing that helped me was getting a chart or transcription of bass parts and following the part with a recording.
     
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  10. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I'll do it!
     
  11. csc2048b

    csc2048b

    Apr 4, 2010
    philippines
    not a bad job you're doing. would you care to play to a backing track? here's a midi file with just drums and piano:

     
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  12. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa

    Dec 25, 2011
    Canada
    I just pulled out my Real Book and it is a blues. Not that difficult. I understand your struggle as I can't play funk. I just don't have it in me. Jazz, blues, metal, rock and classical, no problem but not this.

    The rythm is not quite the same as what I have in my transcription.
     
  13. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    IMO: swing feel is truly a 'feel'. it's easy, i think, to feel it when listening, and more difficult to articulate when playing (on any instrument, but the bass is the most important). there are discussions about the triplet basis of swing, but when we play swing well = the discussions are mute...swing is it's own thing...a 'feel'.

    practice is part of it, of course. but playing swing with a drummer who gets it (like taking bass lessons from a drummer!) can save you a lot of time and grief. once you get it = you can pass it on to everyone you play with.

    i recommend medium tempo swing with lots of walking so that you get out of your 'pattern' brain and into your 'feel' brain. best of luck! :thumbsup:
     
  14. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Thanks!
     
  15. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    My teacher is bassist, but he often plays drums for me during the lesson.
     
  16. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    sure. i hope he is a good swing drummer for you...it's difficult to lock in that feel when others (especially drummers) don't have a great swing feel themselves.

    your teacher should know your playing almost as well as you: ask him/her about that walking thing. licks are cool, but learning to hold down the swing with your walk is 'everything', IMO. :thumbsup:
     
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  17. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    If I were teaching you about swing and getting a swinging feel knowing that you are a FUnk player I'd sit you down and put on "Mothership Connection" by P-Funk:



    or "Africa" by the Meters:



    New Orleans FUnk in general is quite heavy on the swing feel.

    C/A,
    Rev J
     
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  18. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I never thought of Mothership Connection as swinging, but if it is, it is!
     
  19. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    Think about note length and both-hand muting to emulate an upright or even tuba feel. It comes with practice. Work on "ear-playing" without charts so you can focus on technique until it's natural to you.
     
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  20. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    If you listen to the overall arrangement and the horn hits it is straight out of big band jazz. It also has that behind the beat lope and long , short , long rhythmic feel. Some of it sounds like bebop in the phrasing.with the anticipations. A lot of FUnk is based around a 3 against 4 feel where as a lot of FUnk is based around a 3 against 4 feel which is almost a double time version of the same thing. Remember that swing has various subtle feels.

    C/S,
    Rev J
     
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