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Guitar players/singers/leader who cant follow bass

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by IvanMike, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    just a vent or 2
    of the projects i've been involved with in the last few years almost all have involved guitar players, singers, and band leaders who can't follow the bass to save their lives. The worst ones had problems following the drums, but that's a different story altogether.
    Even now, my current guitar player is great - as long as our drummer is present for practice. Practice without the drummer is almost a complete waste - the poor guy can't follow me rythmically to save his life.
    Chime in people - i hate to feel alone, is it realy that hard to find people who can follow you even if you are playing R-V quarter notes? :meh:
  2. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA

    Learning to folllow or learning tempo skills is something that a guitarist/pianist/singer almost never has a chance to learn unless they are involved in some sort of structured group that teaches them to do so.

    There are lots of different aspects to being a good musician. Your have to know how to play your axe- and you also have to have "Musicianship" traits that you will only come to realize if you play with others for a long time.

    Every couple of practices with my band I take out my metronome, plug it into a spare guitar amp in the room, and blast the tempo so everyone (even the drummer) can get a feel for a standard tempo. Maybe you can use this technique to help your group out?
  3. The reason most guitarists can't follow bass is because (generally) guitar is the melody instrument and Bass is the rhythm section. They think we are supposed to follow them!! The best band experiences happen when everyone listens to eachother and knows exactly what they are contributing to the music. Every member is important!
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    it's funny that my current situation is the most irritating. Honestly my guitar player is good, and i give him credit for the double duty of playing and singing. Just during times when he and i get together sans drummer i want to choke him.
    One of the funniest situations occured when i was in a church group. The leader was a singer acoustic guitar player - a real nice woman. But if she felt the tempo was wrong - me and the drummer be damned!!
    She was also guilty of tempo changes during tunes, a victim of the fatal disease "softer means slower, louder means faster"
  5. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    They need that hi hat click, click, click, to keep time. I would simply play with a nome through the PA or something and have everyone play to that if a drummer can't be present.
  6. mattmcnewf


    May 27, 2004
    Well my guitarist can lock in if hes not singing. But When hes singing he constantly goes to a off beat. Usually i ignore and assume his timing is bad. But last show we were useing big amps he crank himself. So i couldn't here anybass neither could the drummer. So we were constantly skipping beats which would never hapen if i could here myself
  7. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Good Guitar players always have a tendency to play along with the bass lines. They don't always religiously follow, but at least chime in enough that the listener notices.
  8. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    If you do your job right, they won't have to follow you. You'll be able to shove them all over the stage. :D
  9. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I've found this to be pretty true in my band, unless I keep a *really* solid like. Sometimes I like to hit the offbeat, or play just ahead or behind it, and with a drummer, that's cool. But when I'm just playing with the one guitarist, sans drummer, I can't do that -- gotta stay right on the beat, no rhythmic surprises at all. That's not to say that it's boring, just not totally out of left field. I still enjoy playing with him and all, but I do notice a tendency to play very differently with him than, say, a particular drummer at school.
    The reason? Well, all instruments have to varying responsibilities in varying degrees -- harmonic, and rhythmic. Drums are clearly mostly rhythmic, and little harmonic. Guitars? Almost all harmonic, and as long as they're on time, that fills up the rhythmic. The responsibilities of bass are split much more evenly, and they tip in either direction depending on who you're playing with. With a guitarist, your harmonic responsibilities take a backseat compared to the rhythmic ones, 'cause your drummer isn't there -- you need to fill a huge gap. When playing with a drummer, it shifts the other way -- you're filling in for the lack of an almost purely harmonic instrument. In a band, you're the bridge -- and when playing in a duo, you're the bridge AND what's supposed to be on the other side.
  10. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    no doubt - how much simpler can i get than R-V on the one and three?
  11. draginon


    Oct 4, 2004
    I guess I feel fortunate for growing up in church all my life (playing the drums) and having rythm. I play the bass, with 2 of my cousins who play the guitar and drums and we usually can play on the same tempo without any problems... Our lead guitar player on the other hand, as good as he is, has problems with rythm
  12. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    I have just recently joind a Country/Blues/ Southern Rock band. Last week we had a bad rehearsal. I Guess the leader of the band(guitarest) said we should do the first five songs on the CD. Well I practiced on them all week, my stuff was down. Well I can tell that the drummer and Rhythm guitarist didn't even listen to them. Example: "the leader"- Lets do "drift away". Drummer- ummm Oh yeah Ive heard that song before. *** Should of been listing to it all week.

    But here is what really pisses me off. The leader of the band is wanting everybody to have there parts down and getting mad because they don't,and he dosn't even have his parts down.
    Another Example. Terri Clarks "Better things to do."

    Leader: You need to come in with the bass.
    Me: Dude I don't come in untill she starts singing "maybe that was true.
    Leader: are you sure.

    Me: thinking to myself well if you listen to the freaking song
    you would know.
    I can't even tell what song they are even playing untill the singer comes in.

    If I get anymore BS, next week I think im going have to put his ego in check. And let him know that I have a BA degree in Guitar. And that for a metal head I can make that guitar sound more like country then what he is doing.

    But right now im just sitting back and not wanting to cause any friction between anyone because my wife is friends with the singer(who has a killer voice)

    I am thinking next week also that i might stand up and say: Im not going to stay in a band. Where someone keeps telling everybody that they need to learn there parts when that person dosn't even know theirs.

    Sorry for the rant. but this happen last night and im pretty ticked off.
  13. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI

    I found it's best to confront issues like this when it happens. Ego's and bad habits only grow stronger with time! You can say "remember last week when you said, did, didn't do this or that", or you can say "well if you listemed to it you would know, why are you telling me this when you obviously didn't listen to it yourself" when the situation is happening. Next week when you confront it it could have been resolved or at least in the process of getting fixed.
  14. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004

    I tried at first when we were going over the songs. Like "Better things to do" I said we are missing the Kicks at the part where it goes "check the air in my tires". They just looked at me like i didn't know what i was saying. We went through the song again and mist it again.

    I can tell that nobody practice with the songs. They just found the songs on the internet and played'em that way. On a Bonnie Raitt- I cant make you Love me.. I said the song is in Eb not CMajor..And he said well the song here says it's in C I said well play those chords with the CD. I got blown off and he was like oh well lets go and do the next song.

    Anyway next week if it starts happing again. Im going to speak up more.

  15. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI

    I hear ya Kelly, new band you don't want to rub anyone the wrong way but it seems like they are not paying attention to details at all which is a recipe for disaster! I am the exact way as you, I know what everyone is doing, drums, guitars , vocals you name it. Before I even try to learn the song I listen to it about 50 times, some of my bandmates learn the basic structure, learn the solos and rolls and call it good. I hate that more than anything, you also need to learn the feel and emotion, the little stylings the artist gives the tune. Don't settle for less, after all they represent you too on stage.
  16. FUNKonthewall

    FUNKonthewall Nailing The Groove

    Sep 29, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Endorsing: Fodera Guitars, Aguilar Amps, Dunlop/MXR Accessories
    I know exactly what you guys are talking about. My drummer and I are the "resident rhythm section" at our school. We do everything from dance recitals to piano recitals as well as playing in our school's jazz band. What is surprizing to me is the fact that many of the pianists we play with (that sound amazing when playing solo pieces, mind you) have a real hard time locking into the groove. Their tempo is all over the place. Jason (the drummer) and I are always having to compensate for dropped beats and tempo fluctuation. :help:

    I guess it's just because they've never really had to mesh with other musicians before. I don't understand how they can't follow the beat, though. I know exactly what Discgraham is talking about concerning how the melodic instruments think that we, the RHYTHM section, are supposed to follow them. We're always having to say, "Hey guys. WE ARE THE TEMPO. Here's the beat. 1, 2, 3, 4. 1, 2, 3, 4..." I guess some people just weren't cut out for ensemble playing.
  17. what suprizes me is how crappy guitarists are. they always think they can play and then i talk to them and they show something and i think "wow! snagged a real one!!" and then i play a riff and they can barely grasp the concept of rythm. My band had a guitarist/drummer that just couldn't grasp the concept of FAST. he sits down at drums, and slow means he's got to do double bass the entire way through (badly) and fast means play blast beats all the way through to make me stop playing. he plays guitar also and every damn time there's some sort of thing metal related he starts playing "hardcore" breakdown rhythms and pinch harmonics. Since I hated seeing him playing an instrument, I just haven't called at all. it's been 2 months and I'm actually somewhat happy with my own advances.
  18. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i don't presume to say that guitarists as a whole a "Crappy at keeping time". Far from it. I just seem to have been blessed with a few that had some issues. Overall, most of the ones with timing problems were fine with drums (unless they were playing and singing at the same time). I generally get agitated when they won't follow the bass when it's just the two of us.
  19. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI


    I did a real good thing over the wekend with my band. We sat and listended to each song 2-3 times before we played it. The drummer got 80% of his parts wrong, the guitarist maybe 20% and myself I missed a powerchord of all things in one tune and wasn't playing consistant 8th notes in another (maybe 5%). My point is you ear is way better than theirs as in the same circumstance in my band. Break it down with them in the room and show them as a band it will make you all better for it.
  20. cheezkid


    Mar 15, 2002
    Connecticut, USA
    My guitarist is great, he can shred with the best of them, but sometimes it's like he only listnes to himself and gets a head of the rest of the band.