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Help... my timing sucks?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Tupac, May 16, 2011.

  1. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Is this just something that comes with time? I'm a brand new bass player, and it's kind of frustrating. No matter what, I always seem off-beat. I even have a drum machine (program, but it works!) but that doesn't help. I'm always that frustrating milli-second off. Is this just something that comes with experience?
  2. EricssonB


    Apr 5, 2011
    CoSpgs, CO.
  3. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Yes and no. Hmmm... does that count as maybe ;)

    Basically there are three types of people:

    1) Those who are born with good time.
    2) Those who have to work to get good time.
    3) Those who will never have good time.
  4. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    I sure hope I don't turn out to be #3. And my first name is Sean and my last initial is M as well. *brofist*
  5. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
  6. Blackened Soul

    Blackened Soul

    May 13, 2011
    Find someone with good timing
    Give them a stick
    Have them listen to you play
    And when you get off
    They hit you with said stick
  7. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    Work with a metronome and your timing will improve significantly.
  8. eekmeg


    Aug 15, 2008
    Go to post 30 of this thread. It contains links about konnekol. I have been going over it in my head and out loud for a few weeks. The drummers I play with the most have commented on how much better my timing is since I started practicing it.

  9. N8_DO


    Nov 8, 2007
    Play your scales with a metronome and work on playing on beat as slow as possible. Start at 100 bpm and play on the beat, then work your way down to 60. Then play it in half notes at 60 bpm.
  10. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    play slow..

    Get a click track slow and pipe it into your mp3 player.
  11. It takes time but the truth is, that some people do not have good timing. Get a metronome and practice as much as possible.
  12. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Jam with a "good" drummer...and other musicians that already have good time.

    throw the metronome in the trash...and practice chord-tones instead of scales..
    flame away guys!:)
  13. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    work with a metronome set to a moderate tempo - either too slow or too fast will be hard at first.

    don't use your instrument at first... work on simply feeling the time with your body.

    turn metronome on. walk in place to the beat of the metronome. clap in time to the metronome, sway to the beat of the metronome. do this for 5-10 minutes until that tempo is "in you". you can feel it in your body.

    now pick up your bass and pluck one of the open strings along with the metronome...

    do this many days in a row...
  14. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    You don't have to get a metronome, just set your drum machine program to give you ONLY a snare hit on each beat. Then take something you know well and can play OK, and set the program to give you just that snare hit on every beat at a slow tempo. Can you play it five times in a row at that speed? If not, then slow the program down. Repeat until you find a temp you CAN manage it at. Then work there. Once you think you've gotten it together at that tempo, change the program to HALF that speed. Count the snare hits as beats 2 and 4. Now try to play it. Your playing speed is going to be the same, but the drum sound will only be on the second and third beats of the measure, forcing YOU to provide the solid 1 and 3- which is your job as bassist.

    The most common problem people have with keeping time is that they don't have the other aspects of playing a particular piece down, so they stumble over things like which finger to use, etc. All those milisecond decisions cause you to loose the flow. So the key to playing steady time is to work on steady time and be very slow and precise. Speed will come from that, but you gotta get the precise first. The metronome (or drum machine) only playing on 2 and 4 teaches and reinforces that precision.

    It takes time and it's something you have to work at CONSISTENTLY. Every day do this exercise for a good while until you FEEL the groove with the snare slapping on 2 and 4.

  15. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Chord tones yes, but the 'nome is a good and useful tool, much better than frustrating yourself and others (and developing a reputation as being the "bass player with lousy time). But the key is to use the 'nome to CHECK your time, not to set time for you. If you always use it with the machine filling in every beat (and then some in the case of a drum machine), then you'll never learn to keep time. Nope, use the 'nome to tell you when you screw up so you can fix the problem, not to cover your posterior when you screw up.

  16. john grey

    john grey

    Apr 19, 2011
    Oracle, Arizona
    Obviously just an opinion.....

    A metronome has been utilized for actually centuries now (going back to the earlier 17th, if I'm correct) & used by the great composers. I put some good money into lessons when I was younger and even when I was in my 30's. It was worth it.... The majority of quality teachers will tell you that a metronome or drum machine, etc is vital [to working on SO many levels]. You need something you can measure against. AND it IS a question of consistent practice.
    Everyone has heard that practice does NOT make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. IF you noodle around - you learn what you do. Unfortunately, you learn to ruin your timing. However that can be changed! You simply need the desire and discipline.

    IF however, you work at timing especially in the simplest of elements (scales, etc) you will improve in days. The same thing exists for style approaches. I can't tell you how many folks I have seen using their index finger alone for finger style. - They may have had a decent left hand; but their right hand was ignored, until they were simply using both fingers only rarely! IF you are having some difficulty w/ your left hand, learn to FEEL the fret and drop that finger onto the space just against that fret so you're right behind it. It's all FOCUSED practice.
    Self-discipline is NOT easy; but it's very rewarding.
  17. HeadyVan Halen

    HeadyVan Halen

    Jun 11, 2010
    It's mostly internal.

    You could be in trouble.

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