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Grooves you can use over any chord

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by progrmr, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    So I have an audition for a church gig this evening, first audition in years (living room rockstar here) :hyper:

    Thing is they didn't give me any material to prepare - want me to show up and play. That should be OK as long as they have chord charts as my ear isn't the greatest. Also I have a guitar background so I can watch the guitarist and follow the chord (hopefully they don't capo lol!)

    Anyway since I'm going to be playing the chords without having ever heard these songs before (most likely) I am trying to come up with simple grooves that are better than just hitting roots in quarter or 8th notes. Something that I use over any chord to sound a tad more interesting.

    I have a couple but thought I'd see what the group had to offer - any simple but effective grooves that'll work over any chord?
  2. Zootsuitbass


    Mar 13, 2011
    Rhythm.... Get some clear ideas of rhythm ready.

    2 bar ideas

    4 Bar ideas

    "Fills" that feel rhythmically appropriate to you ideas. Again just rhythm.

    Chords are notes and you need the right ones to represent the sounds of them. BUT rhythm is the key.

    Pitches? You can think ,, Low,Low,high,,, L,H,L while getting this together.


    Take this apply to songs you know...play along.

    On the day? Roots and Fives played with authority.
  3. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    I don't know if you'll be expected to show off some crazy grooves tonight, but I've never played with a church band.

    I'd just keep it simple. Play the root on the first downbeat, lock in the rhythm with drummer and possibly rhythm guitar, maybe add in the odd fifth, or other chord tone, but that would be all I'd really do. I'd just make sure I got the chords down and landed on the root on the first downbeat of each chord change everytime.
  4. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Not to change the subject, but.... Why on earth would they not give you at least a short list of songs in advance -- so you could at least become familiar with them before auditioning? :confused:
  5. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
  6. This. There's no magic groove that works for every chord, and you shouldn't try to learn a new trick at the last minute before an audition. Just do what you know how to do, and do it as well as you can. If that means playing the root on the downbeat and a few other chord tones sprinkled in there, that's fine; sometimes that's all a church bassist needs to do. Just make sure you lock in with the drummer.

    Having said that, one of my favorite tricks is doing a chromatic walkup from the 6, landing on the 1 right when the song gets back to the root chord. So if the song is in the key of G, and you're on the C chord, play a C, then E, F, F#, and then G on the downbeat when it gets back to the G chord. This doesn't work in every situation (it's better for upbeat gospel songs) but you could try it. Good luck!
  7. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    Yea, not sure - I think the guy I was talking to wasn't sure what songs to tell me to prepare. The gig is a new Saturday evening service and they don't even have a dedicated worship team leader for that service. So I think I was talking to the pastor and he was going to have someone else actually do the audition.

    I agree it's not "the way it should go" IMO - but can't hurt to show up and see what's going on :)

    Thanks for the all the advice...Once I see the chord changes I'll be able to create some movement by simple chromatic leads into the next chord. I've tried enough walking bass to have that down pretty well.

    What I'm looking for (and I will probably wind up just roots/fifths) is something like this (G -> C change here):


    I could use that same "daaaaaaaaaaaaaa da da" sound over all the chords and with some leading sound OK.

    If you all can think of anything similar post it up, otherwise I'll just wing it lol!
  8. thunderbyrd


    Nov 29, 2006
    i play with our P&W team every Sunday, and i'm a very uneducated player. i've got about 3 licks i can use pretty much at all times that carry me through just fine. the main thing i do is i try to lock in the root note and the bass drum. but i know that's going to get dull and boring pretty fast, though you can never go wrong with it!

    the one lick i play alot is: say you're in G and going to go to, well, really any other chord. play the g at the 3d fret, play the d (5th) at the 5th fret, then slide the d up one step to e at the 7th fret (the e is the 6th, i think). if you are changing chords at this point, then go to your new root note next. it will generally sound ok.

    this lick is good to play even if you are not changing chords. one thing i really don't like to play on bass is root-octave, root octave. this lick is a good way ( to my ears, anyway) to break that up.
  9. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer
  10. I agree with the general consensus, there is no one groove that will work with every song. Though I find, with worship in particular, I'm usually playing diamonds, quarters, or eights (and sixteenths if it's a Hillsong United tune :D ). Best bet is to try lock with the kick of the drummer and stick to the root, if you will be playing with one at the audition that is. If there is no drummer, keep it simple and solid. Some worship leaders are cool with a little flash here and there, but they are mostly concerned if you can hold it down.
  11. St. Louis Scot

    St. Louis Scot

    Sep 16, 2013
    Austin, Tx
    I play in Worship bands, and sometimes we have songs lists ahead of times, and sometimes we show up and we play what is put in front of us. Typically we have lead sheets, but the key could change at anytime.

    Now, that may just be the cats that I play with and we are used to each other. But if you lock in with the drummer, follow your chords, and simplify you will do fine. Many Worship leaders want the bassist (at first) to hang on to the quarter notes and eighth notes until you've proven your chops. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't groove. Remember that with Worship and Gospel, it isn't about all-eyes-on-us. But always give the very best you have to give. You'll do fine.
  12. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI

    I would ask them if they prepare for worship services any better than they prepare for auditions.
  13. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Not a lot more to add, however, roots and lock with the kick drum AND hit the chord changes on the correct lyric syllable. That will get you being ask to come back.

    Expect to get lost. Praise moves forward as the Spirit move it, i.e. the Chorus may be sung repeatedly, how many times, depends on the Spirit. If you get lost pedal the tonic root till you see where everyone went.

    We mark in the margins of our fake chord the normal order the song will take. Like this:

    Inrto - First two lines of verse one.
    Instrumental break - lead guitar
    Chorus & tag last line. If we are lucky it'll pretty well stay this way, if not, be ready to pound out the tonic root till you can find your place.

    Roots and keep it locked on the kick drum. Hit the chord changes dead on. The beat is the thing, don't worry about the groove. The lyrics are the reason for the song. Don't step on the lyrics. The groove can come next week. O'h right, next week we will have 6 new songs.......

    If the song is major R-3-5-6 will give you something, but, the chord changes will be coming so quick just worry about getting the roots.

    Have fun. Its church, they gotta be good to you in church.
    :D Good luck and have fun.
  14. St. Louis Scot

    St. Louis Scot

    Sep 16, 2013
    Austin, Tx
    Lol. Are there Worship songs that AREN'T R 3 5 6?! ;)
  15. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005

  16. St. Louis Scot

    St. Louis Scot

    Sep 16, 2013
    Austin, Tx
    Okay. If you're going to bring Fred into it, now it's a Master's class. :ninja:
  17. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer
    Hey, the bass is a transitional instrument so just transition all over the fingerboard. Tell them you like to play chromatically. :bassist:

    Yeah, I'm no help.

    There is a possibility you will not know some or any songs they ask you to try so make sure you come prepared with songs you know. If you know any of the songs below you should be ok and don't be afraid to keep it simple.

    10,000 Reasons - Matt Redman
    How Great is Our God - Chris Tomlin
    Our God - Chris Tomlin
    One Thing Remains - Brian & Jen Johnson
    You Are Good - Brian & Jen Johnson
    How He Loves - David Crowder
    You Won't Relent - Jesus Culture
    Everlasting God - Brenton Brown
  18. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer
    Man, I wish Fred would quit ripping off my riffs! :eek: I was just trying to help a brother out with a few tricks and he stole my whole bag. :D
  19. dieselbass


    May 15, 2010
    Davis CA
    Agreed. Lock in with the drummer if you get to audition with one. Play simple but confident. Make the song groove in the context you have to work with. And remember, in P&W, bass/drums are there to serve the song.
  20. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    Well there wasn't even a drummer - me and the pastor who kinda plays guitar...I just played through the changes as best I could and I'm on the Saturday evening service for March 8th. 5 songs to learn in two weeks.... piece of cake!!