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Help me understand the last half of What is Hip

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by AndyPanda, Aug 28, 2017.

  1. I have been learning the bass line to What is Hip using the original recording slowed down to 75% and EQ'd so the bass is easy to hear. And I am able to play the second half by just following the pattern - but if I were to break out of the pattern, I would never be able to find my place again. I simply cannot tell what's going on timewise.

    As an experiment I pulled the tune into my DAW and tried to lay a metronome beat over it --adjusting the tempo of the metronome to try and match the variances as the rhythm section naturally speeds and slows slightly. I was thinking that would help me understand how the pieces are fitting together over the barlines - but it still doesn't make sense to me. I'm not sure where the one is at all or if it is always 4/4 or if there is a measure of odd time here and there (the way I laid the click out in 4/4, it comes around to where "one" lines up as expected at the horn stabs at the end - but I can't make sense of "one" during the groove)

    Hoping someone here can take a listen to where I put the click and tell me how screwed up I am and any tips for how to think of that section. (Thanks in advance).

    Attached Files:

  2. Can you give us a timestamp on your recording for where you typically get tripped up? There are a couple of spots where the metronome gets to be a little off just because of tempo changes but I didn't notice any obvious dropped beats on just a quick listen through.

    First step to any rhythm problem is to break it down into component parts: try clapping or tapping the rhythm out and get to where you can nail that before putting the notes to it.
  3. Right at 4:30 is where the organ solos and the bass repeats this pattern over and over (with some fills and breaks - but essentially this same repeating sequence) ... I can play it and keep time. I'm just saying I cannot feel any sense of the ONE. The metronome click has a higher pitch on ONE but it doesn't really feel like ONE to me in the groove (it lines up with the word "hip" when the background singers sing "what is hip")

    So what I'm saying is if I just religiously follow that looping bassline it all works -- but if I throw in a fill and get lost, I can't easily feel where to get back into it. kind of embarrassed that this groove is confusing me as I've been playing soul/funk/rock/reggae etc for ages (but not as the bassist)

    I've attached a short mp3 file of the repeating bass pattern. In this file, the bass rif starts on the and of 4 (if I'm thinking of it correctly) but my mind tries to think of that first note as the downbeat of 1 and that's what's tripping me up.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
  4. Hmm, you think it might help to think of it as sort of a pick-up note?

    like the pattern is 4-AND-1-and-2-and-3, but think of it as 4-and-1-and-2-and-3

    maybe even play that extra note until you can reliably place the downbeat
    gebass6, AndyPanda and elgecko like this.
  5. Well, they are 16th notes so I'm thinking of it as "and uh one ee and uh two ee"
  6. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Are you feeling it (the original recording) at 210bpm or 105bpm? I've always found it easier to feel at the quicker tempo.

    Maybe if you doubled up the first note, making the first note a "pickup" the the three-note pattern or at least heard that in your head?
    Clarence Walker and Plutonium244 like this.
  7. This must be what I was doing that made me think of it as eighth notes while I was listening. (I thought you intended the click track to be half-time, same advice though)
  8. That might be part of what's tripping you up actually, if you're thinking in sixteenths, the accent is on the UH which is a tricky spot to count.
  9. I guess I should try thinking of it as eighth notes then instead of sixteenth? Here's how I'm thinking of it though
  10. Yeah, if you basically cut the bars in half then that held note feels like the lead-in to a measure, for some reason it feels way more natural to count it that way. I wouldn't have thought it was sixteenths without hearing a count-off
  11. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    I think with this one, you really just have to write off the one. It's super awkward to feel with the syncopation of the opening note. What it does have is a solid 2-3 (at 210bpm) and that's what I'm shooting for when I play this song.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
  12. OK .. thanks for the advice. I'm fairly new to bass - and probably bit off more than I can chew but I seem to learn the best having something way over my head to practice slowly. I figure it'll be months (years?) before I can play it at tempo. I've got it fairly well down (slowed down) for the first half. So if I can start to get the groove down in that second half - then it's just gradually creeping up the tempo as I practice it for months :)
    Plutonium244 likes this.
  13. That's pretty much the ticket isn't it? I wouldn't even have a chance at this on bass right now, I just have a lot of hours in counting bars to hit horn stabs (try placing something like that held note with no lead-up after 16 bars of rests!). Keep at it dude, you'll get there for sure.
  14. I didn't follow you the first time :) ... but I just re-read this and a light started to come on in my head :) I've got it looping and trying out your suggestion. Thanks very much!
    chickadeedeedee likes this.
  15. AztecViking

    AztecViking Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    EndlessSummerVille, CA
    Always nice to see some people truly appreciating some TOP/Rocco! :thumbsup: :bassist:
  16. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Found a full transcription online, looks pretty good

    Attached Files:

    Ductapeman and AztecViking like this.
  17. Ductapeman

    Ductapeman Ringmaster and Resident Geriatric Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2016
    The West Pole
    I am not a crook
    I find it easier to learn a sticky rhythm bit like that by clapping along with the beat and singing the bass part-- it allows more elasticity in the timekeeping than a metronome, and you're directly involved with the part rather than just listening to it. There have been times when it has made all the difference. And yes, I am a huge fan of Rocco Prestia, as well as the rest of the guys-- everyone in that band is a farking monster, from Emilio to Adolfo-- damn that guy can burn! And yes, I have the autographed tee shirt--
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  18. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    More Rocco transcriptions here:

    Tower Of Power
  19. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Agreed 100%.
    A rhythm you have trouble playing is most often a rhythm you have trouble hearing.
    Put the bass down, first wrap your brain around what you are attempting.
    David Jayne and Ant Illington like this.
  20. Ant Illington

    Ant Illington I'm Anthony but I'm only illin' Banned

    LMFAO. I'm 27 years into playing, minus a decade break and I've been working on Hip for over a month and only just now getting to tempo (playing the two-string crossings in the verses are the hold up- playing them cleanly and with authority). And I'm a funk/soul player so I am good with syncopation. You HAVE bitten off quite a lot.

    You are on the right track writing stuff down/looking at transcriptions if you can't yet feel the beat subdivisions. Take It from me who has learned A LOT of songs, and some hard ones at that, it is much more important to internalize musical concepts (theory- intervals, chord construction, scales; technique, rhythm, ear-training) rather than to mimic stuff without having over-arching concepts internalized. How to do that is another thread. Some people "just have it" (which means they have a superior ear and/or grew up immersed in music from an early age) but most of us require hard work. This isn't banging out 8th note roots. Props to you for even coming close at such an early point but learn concepts of music simultaneous to learning songs for maximum effect. And when you learn a song, pay attention to how the bass relates to the chords. Again, this is for people who don't "just have it." This is a disclosure since sometimes people will say "just play the damn song," they either "have it" or they are "full of it" and haven't actually learned truly challenging parts. This is TB, "full of it" happens.

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