Guitar vs. Drums

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by FenderFan, Jan 22, 2002.

  1. FenderFan


    Jan 22, 2002
    Hey everyone, hope I can pick your brains...I'm just getting started (but have played guitar for years) and was wondering when I play bass, am I mimicking the guitar lines or the drummer's beat? I think it's the drummer, and if so am I trying to hit my notes with his bass kick on time?
  2. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Mimicking the guitar lines makes for boring music, in my humble opinion. Playing a steady line with the kick drum is less boring, but both can be embellished upon. Locking in with the drummer is essential in that you need to be IN TIME with the band, and in my experience the drummer sure as hell won't be working around you, so it's best to get with the drums. The kick drum is a good place to start, and sometimes it's the way to go. But I see quality bass as something that molds the band together. The guitarists do their thing, the drummers do theirs, and the bass is there to take the best parts of the melody and support and harmonize it, and take the best parts of the rhythm section and make it groove. Leaning too much towards one way or the other makes for unispired playing. I'm still trying to find the balance, as I'm sure most people are, but the fun is in hunting it down, no?

    Good luck!
  3. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Alot of bassist's prefer to play off the drummer. You dont have to necessarily play off the kick drum though, you can also play off the snare, or if you want to go one step farther you can subdivide the notes he's playing and play off his high hat. Or even all 3 if you choose.

    You can also mimic the guitar line if you choose. It all depends on what your feeling when your composing the music.

    But whichever you do, you have to do it all in time
  4. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    The way I see it, we bassists are the link between guitar and drums. Welcome to the fold!

    Fortunately, we are not the link between the actual guitarists and drummers. That's the job for a real good shrink squad (j/k) :rolleyes:

    Anyway, the hard and fast rule is that there are no hard and fast rules. Why not try either or both, and see which you prefer?
  5. I've never heard of any bass player playing along w/ just the bass drum. Who told you that? How is that possible? You play in the same tempo as the drums and play bass lines compatable w/ the guitar lines. Playing root notes of guitar chords is always very boring. It's alot more interesting create a bass line that works around what the guitarist is playing.
    I hope that helped.
  6. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    It's very possible. I threw together a short clip just to demonstrate how it could sound: (171 K)

    EDIT: Darn link won't work for me... you might have to copy the shortcut and paste it into your browser.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    This is often seen by producers as the "ultimate" for a tight groove - so much so, that they will often go to the trouble of "gating" the bass, triggered by the kick drum. The result meaning that the bass and kick drum play exactly together. I think it is something that you should be able to do as a bass player - it's not that hard - when required and may be worth practising; but as others have said, it doesn't have to be seen as a hard and fast rule.
  8. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss


    You most likely ARE playing along with the bass drum, that is th root of the tempo. Root notes in some cases are essential, anything else my not be heard. However, playing the third of the guitar line makes for some full bidied tones.

  9. Showdown


    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    It is very possible, and depending on the style of music it can even be desirable. I play in a country band, and I can tell you from experience that the bass plays with the kick drum a lot of the time in country music (two-step, for example). That doesn't mean that you can only play a note when the kick drum is playing, you can play fills, and walk ups, etc. between the beats, but you HAVE to play on the beat. If you play a quarter note when the kick drum is playing 2 eighth notes, it won't sound right. If you aren't locking in with the kick drum, it will sound terrible, like the band is sloppy. And it is not just country music, but other styles too. It all depends on the style of music. You can't make sweeping generalizations about music.

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