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Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by teprodic, Mar 10, 2004.

  1. Hey what's up everyone. This goes out to any bassist. How can I improve on my timing while I play bass? Well this is the story, I play in a metal band and we have this show coming up and well the members on my band have been telling me that when I headbang my timing is off beat. And I play with a pick and when I play with a pick usualy my timing is off because I headbang to what I'm playing in my bass and not to the music. Well the only way I can actually headbang with good timing is when I play with my fingers but lately I haven't been playing with my fingers and I been sticking much more to pick. Well I need help in this because we have a show coming up in 3 weeks and I gotta get my timing right because I don't want to make a fool out of myself at the show. Well thanks a lot and any help and info will be appreciated.
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Stop headbanging. It bruises your brain.
  3. Don't listen to Munjibunga; he's just jealous ;) To quote John Lovitz, "Good luck finding a singer with moves like THIS!"

    As far as getting your timing right while banging, try starting off with a simple, open string beat. Just thump on it steadilly, and get your head motion going. Work up to more complex riffs, but make sure that you keep the timing right and the head moving. Try starting off slow, too, and work up to the faster stuff.

    As a side note, have you ever watched Cliff 'em All? Cliff's rockin and stuff, but alot of the times his head banging is the part that's off-beat. And that's cool; I'd much rather be head-banging off-beat than playing off-beat.
  4. Jadeybeta


    Mar 8, 2004
    London, UK
    Actually, its a good idea not to head bang too much. I pulled my neck once and it HURTS.
  5. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    You need to get a metronome and practice with it. Do not try to play your bass while you practice this, not at first. Start slow and increase speed as you improve - start at like 50 beats per minute. (this is harder than you think really slow!) Bob your head in time with the metronome. When you are able to "lock" your head bobs with the metronome's clicks, try changing it up a bit. Try two bobs per beat. Next, rather than bobbing and recoiling with each beat, bob your head forward on beats 1 and 3 and recoil back on 2 and 4. When you do that you look like you're 'really feeling it'. Once you have these basic variations down and you can change back and forth fluidly, and you have worked up to practicing at about 120 beats per minute, then you need to work in your rock faces. Start with the basics like the standard rock sneer and the ever popular pooched lips looks and work toward more advanced rock faces like tongue out snarls or the ladies favorites, the tongue out tongue wiggle or the always sexy lip and teeth licks. Learn how to work the more advanced rock faces into a good solid rocking out regimen. Obviously you can not stand on stage and lick your lips all night, you'd look like a moron. But if your are rocking out hard doing a good solid "lost in thought" look type head bang and then you go into a bad ass snarl and follow it up with a well executed lip lick - well now you've got something! When you are able to head bang and make rock faces in time with your metronome and go through all of your head bang and rock face variations, then you are ready to pick up your bass and try playing while rocking out. If you can't get your playing to match tempos with your well rehearsed rocking out you need to adjust your amp - try lowering the mids so that you don't cut through the mix quite so much and lower the master volume. I'm sure nobody will notice your bad timing if they can't hear you. Just make sure that you look good on stage and are rocking out in time with the band. One the other hand, if you insist on making your bass playing the top priority I suggest following Munji's advice.

    edit - this post needs one of these: ;)
  6. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I'm a big fan of headbanging. It adds so much to the energy of a metal show. The audience is there for a show, not to hear us wank on bass. In many respects I feel that stage presence is more important than actual technique...flame away!

    What's even harder than headbanging is signing while playing. I can't do either very well. I really suck.

  7. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    ROFLMAO!!! This is priceless. :D

    I think SMASH offered the best and simplest advice here - headbang to the drummer, not your bass.

    On the other hand, if you don't have long hair headbanging looks pretty stupid (IMO).
  8. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    :D :D Matt that is quality!

    but i would definitely back up the metronome suggestion. then break down your bass playing to see where your head is going down or up. something like throw your head forward on 1 and 3 and bring it back on 2 and 4 very slowly along with your playing until you feel comfortable. then, AND ONLY THEN, you can move on to your rock faces and possible some leather pants too. ;)

    of course this coming from someone who doesn't headbang. although i've been told i'm a mighty head bobber on stage

  9. Well, all joking aside, headbanging beats the hell out of some wanker just standing there looking bored holding his bass like a limp ****. So he's playing in time, so what? I'd much rather go to a show where the bassist (and all the other band members) is really into it and playing his heart out than go to a perfectly timed, technically excellent, boring show.

    Besides, you don't have to have one without the other anyways. This guy asked about how to get both right, and that doesn't warrant a bag full of rock-cliche jokes.

    Nope; couldn't agree more.

    Edited for profanity, please use asterisks for the whole word, not part of it. Thanks! t_j
  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Acting like an epileptic is not what signs your paycheck.

    Pay attention to your drummer's right foot and leave the showmanship till later when you get locked in with your drummer.

    Unless you're a child-bass-prodigy, playing dead-on the beat is what people want to hear. Any "air guitarist/bassist" can act like a fool onstage..........and your career will go nowhere.

    If you need "showmanship" in the meantime, try something like body paint (where I got mine some years ago) - http://www.lingerieplace.com/bodypainting.html

    You're still a show but you don't compromise your craft.
  11. try bending your knees and feeling the kick.. that's the most important (unless you are fieldy and then it really doesn't matter, i can't tell what part of the beat or kit he follows :smug: ) ....
  12. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I agree, and I'm glad that you recognized I was joking.
    IMO playing comes first, stage presence is second and ...uh, there is no third. If you can play and you've got good stage presence what else do you need?
  13. Umm, this guy plays in a METAL band. You know, metal? The music where a live show is more like a war zone? It will, indeed, sign his paycheck, and on the contrary, if he just stands there like a tree playing his bass, it will make the band look bad.

    I'm not saying that the guy doesn't need to learn to be technically proficient or anything. On the contrary; metal is some of the most technically challenging music to play, when all of the instruments are playing in time to a machine-gun rhythm. But the band members' performance is every bit as important as the stuff they're playing, IMHO. I think more rock bands should have this priority, too.

    My thinking on it is this (and most metal-heads thinking too, I believe); if I go to a live show, I go for more than just hearing the music. Hell, if that were my priority, I'd pop in a CD and stay at home. I go to see the band play their stuff live, to get pumped up by the band, to rock-out with everybody else there. And that just doesn't happen when you're at an REM show yawning to "Everybody Hurts..." while Michael Stipe carresses the mic like a baby with a bottle of milk :bawl:
  14. I never did get proficient at REAL headbanging while playing. I could bob my head, and was real good at the (white man overbite) but couldn't do major banging, or get my hair swirls right. I also got tired of pulling my hair back out of my throat after swallowing it. So... I cut my hair, resolved to always go wireless, and instead of headbanging... I jump into the crowd, and put myself smack dab in the middle of the pit... the crowd loves it, and they stay out of your way (after all, I've got a weapon!!)

    Oh... and always practice with a click (metronome)
  15. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    If you don't learn how to crawl, you'll never learn how to walk.

    Entwistle of the Who just stood there looking like he was waiting for a bus but his playing "out-metaled" any idiot in leather and chrome studs.
  16. The problem is that I can't afford a metronome around this time. Well I have about 3 weeks to get all this stuff straighten out. I was wondering if it would help to play my bands demo and play along with it and at the same time practice on my headbanging while im playing to my own music. I'm not sure if this will help. But will it? Any other suggestions would really help too. Thanks for the responses you've given me so far.
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You'd better believe it! Look at Flea, for example.
  18. ...what do u mean by that?
  19. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    Not headbanging is also a good option here. Remember, music is not a visual. Your main obligation to your band, yourself, and your audience is to be a good performer first musically; then, if possible, visually.
  20. You are right. Some of the cover bands in the scene in my town are quite sloppy, but get the crowds going. You can play, nail everything C.D. perfect, and people sit there. Whereas the band having a good time jumping around having a few beers maybe not as tight as band A, but crowd response is more positive. The average punter relates to rythm and the vocals. The crowd aren't intrested in the guitar solo there was wrong notes ect ect. Its musos who pick it all to bits. And its been proven time and time again, you don't have to be that talented, you just got to hit every note like you mean it, whether the note is right or wrong. Look at alot of the crappy new wave bands, they are terrible, but people do like it, I don't personally, I' am hard on myself regaring tightness ect.

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