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Help with sixteenth note rhythms

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Marriedwithbass, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. Hi guys,

    I've been trying to learn to count and play with a sixteenth note feel lately (1-e-an-a 2-e-an-a etc) and I'm finding it quite difficult.

    Currently I'm doing exercises from a video on YouTube (see below).

    It's starting to help but I still need a lot more practice.

    I just wondered if anyone has any other tips as I'd like to play busy funky lines eventually?

  2. DreamError


    May 30, 2014
    the only help I can really give you is to start at a slower tempo and practice until smooth/consistent. Then add 10 bpm and start again. So on and so forth. You could also start on quarter or eighth notes for a measure/bar and switch to 16ths to get a feel for it, and/or write out your own/random bar-long patterns and practice those. Don't practice than you can play easily, because you'll just learn the mistakes.

    Even if you aren't into it, Alex Webster's Extreme Metal Bass has info on three-finger 16th plucking, and it's not just a rapid-fire deluge of 16ths, either, there are rests and such ;)

    I'm sure more experienced players will have more to add.
  3. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Once you get up to speed, practice skipping strings and do it until you can without losing tempo.
  4. Woolber

    Woolber Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2013
    IMO most of this type of thing is mental. Remember, 16th notes are just eighth notes twice as fast. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous but there are songs where eighth notes are faster than other songs sixteenth notes.

    All that being said, change your thought from 1 e an a to 1 ta en ta. It gives you a tighter, funkier feel.

    Listen to the high hat from 80's disco to get the feel within the frame of music.

    If you have some more specific questions I'd be happy to help.

    Remember, practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.

    All my opinion.
  5. Woolber

    Woolber Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2013
    One more quick thought. Practice reading rythyms without your bass with no regard for the notes. Just tap them out. Use a metronome and just think rythym.
    Brother Goose likes this.
  6. Thanks I'l try that later,

    When your playing are you counting '1 ta en ta' in your head or are you counting in 8ths and doubling up? I had this with counting in 8ths as well but it seems harder this time, maybe its just me. Its more the rests that get me, I can play strait 16ths OK.
  7. Woolber

    Woolber Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2013
    When I was first learning I counted. Now I don't. Another thing I used to do was figure out the rhythms to anything I heard. If something fell down the stairs, I'd visualize what it would look like transcribed. The idea was to get so comfortable with understanding and feeling the rhythms that it was automatic.

    When your sight reading you have 4 things to think about. Left hand, right hand, rhythm and where on the neck you're going to play. If the rhythm is automatic, now I'm only concerned with 3 things.
  8. Woolber

    Woolber Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2013
    For me, counting the rests as notes also made it easier.
  9. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    Louis Bellson' book title Modern Reading Text in 4/4 is old school but a great tool for rhythm and reading - I used it with a DR880 and programed the patterns to play and read along with.
  10. I'm not at sight reading at the moment lol one thing at a time!

    I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually, just got a lot of wood shedding to do first.

    Thanks for all the advice woolber its really appreciated.
  11. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    listen to the misfits
  12. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    You may be doing things backwards. As mentioned, the problem is primarily mental.
    You'r trying to get your fingers to play before you can mentally count:
    you are failing because you are playing rhythms you can't yet hear.

    Nothing will improve your rhythm more than learning to read notation.
    You can learn rhythm reading in isolation form the pitches.
    It is not as hard as you may think; do not psyche yourself out of making the effort.
    you don't need a bass, or any instrument. Just use a metronome and tap it out.

    a few pdfs of rhythm only excercises

    http://www.lemars.k12.ia.us/webfiles/newing/The Rhythm Reader Level 1 pp1-31.pdf

    Your goal should be full awareness of all 16th notes , as Anthony Wellington outlines:

    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
    INTP likes this.
  13. I've already got the second PDF on my phone, been meaning to start working through them. The first link is great I'm gonna start that tomorrow along with the exercise in the YouTube link, thanks for the advice.

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